11. Josh Naylor, OF/1b
The Padres’ 11th overall prospect was acquired by the team in a trade that sent right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner to the Marlins in exchange for Josh Naylor. The 21-year-old spent the entire 2018 campaign at the Double-A level and demolished the baseball, posting a .297 batting average and smashing 17 home runs in 128 games.
Naylor improved in almost every category last season, which is obviously a good sign in terms of his progression. He continued to build off his natural raw power and started to consistently make hard contact to all parts of the field. His strikeout and walk rate lowered last year and Naylor only struck out five more times than he walked. The power, as shown by his 17 home runs, has always been there and should continue to develop as Naylor matures as a hitter.
The question marks surrounding the Ontario native come with the glove, as Naylor is not the most polished defensive player. His natural position is first base, but with Eric Hosmer there, the Padres have experienced with moving Naylor to a corner outfield spot. This has not gone well, to put it nicely, as Naylor has struggled in the outfield and is continuing to look more like a designated hitter moving forward. He lost around 15-20 pounds prior to the 2019 season and has always been a sneaky good athlete for someone of his stature.
Naylor is the biggest reason as to why the Padres will be one of the team’s in favor of bringing the DH to the National League. His bat is going to play at any level regardless of the defensive concerns and he could seriously be a legitimate offensive weapon one day. The organization as a whole is very high on him and they will continue to find a way to get him in their future lineup.
12. Cal Quantrill, RHP
The former first-round pick out of Stanford saw arguably the biggest drop in prospect rankings from 2018 to 2019. Most scouting departments and websites had Quantrill as one of the Padres’ top pitching prospects prior to last season, but after a somewhat disappointing 2018, he dropped down in a lot of those lists.
While Quantrill has a deep arsenal of pitches he really only has two effective ones. He controls his mid-90s fastball extremely well and can place it on either side of the plate without a problem. His changeup, one of the best in the entire system, is his best secondary pitch as it has a noticeable dip in velocity from his fastball and cuts down in the zone effectively. Both his curveball and slider are still developmental pitches, but if he can gain control of either one, Quantrill would have a solid mix to work with.
Despite having a quality spring, Quantrill was just edged out for a rotation spot by Nick Margevicius. He looked like a quality pitcher at times during the spring but also struggled tremendously at times. With a rotation spot on the line, Quantrill has knocked around in his last spring start and did not look like he was ready whatsoever. The injury concerns are gone, as supported by his 148 innings pitched last season, so Quantrill is going to have to put 2018 behind him and ensure that 2019 is a bounce-back season.
With the Padres’ currently having rotation issues and being desperately in need of someone to give them quality innings, Quantrill may get his major league shot sooner rather than later. He is one pitch away from having a solid mix that could translate into outs at the big league level.
13. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
The former top prospect is finally healthy and ready to continue his path towards the major leagues. Acquired by the Boston Red Sox in the Drew Pomeranz trade, Espinoza was the team’s prized prospect before tearing his UCL a few months after he was acquired. He missed the entire 2018 season recovering from the surgery and is ready to toe the rubber in 2019.
When Espinoza is healthy he has the makeup of a quality pitching prospect. His fastball has always been electric and comes out of his hand really easily because of his smooth delivery. Espinoza’s heater tends to sit in the 94-96 mph range but can touch triple digits and has some arm-side movement. His changeup is already graded as a plus pitch and while his curveball still needs development, it has shown flashes of also being a plus pitch.
Espinoza’s talent and ability have never been a concern, but rather if he can stay healthy for an entire season. His innings will be monitored and limited by the team this season in hopes of ensuring that the 21-year-old does not have any complications with his arm. A healthy Anderson Espinoza has the potential to have a Chris Paddack-like season in 2019 and potentially compete for a rotation spot next season.
14. Xavier Edwards, SS
In about five years, the biggest steal of the 2018 MLB draft might be the Padres’ selecting Xavier Edwards with the 38th pick in the draft. The former Vanderbilt commit signed with the Padres for $2.6 million, which is around $700,000 more than his draft slot’s value.
Edwards had an immediate impact in his first professional season, as he earned a promotion to short-season Tri-City from the Rookie-level Arizona league only 21 games into his professional career. The 19-year-old has one of the more impressive skill sets in the system, as he combines his ability to make pure contact with a 70-grade run tool. His plate discipline is advanced for someone his age and he knows how to spray the ball to all areas of the field. Edwards is known for his elite speed that could one day earn an 80-grade from scouts. He is more than capable defensively to stick at shortstop long-term, but with Fernando Tatis Jr. likely being the team’s shortstop of the future, a shift to second base might be coming soon.
The only real concern with Edwards is his size, 5’10”, but his playmaking ability and skill set make up for the lack of size. If Edwards has success with the TinCaps, a promotion to Lake Elsinore should never be ruled out. Once all the Padres’ top prospects graduate this season, Edwards could very well slide into the MLB.com Top 100 prospects list. He is definitely a prospect to monitor this season.
15. Hudson Potts, 3B/2B
Prior to the signing of Manny Machado, Hudson Potts was seemingly penciled in as the Padres’ third baseman of the future. With Machado locked up to a 10-year deal, however, the Padres have decided to not give up on their former first-round pick. Potts came into the system as a shortstop and then made a transition to third. The expectation now, however, is that Potts will see some time at second base.
Potts is known for his ability to clobber the baseball, as him and Fernando Tatis Jr. became the first 18-year-olds in over 30 years to hit 20 home runs in the Midwest League. He continued to demolish baseballs in 2018, as Potts homered 21 times in his second professional season. Unlike the prospects ahead of him, Potts is not going to find himself at the top of any hitting lists. While he can hit for some average, the power that he possesses should be considered a real threat. Potts is athletic enough to move across the diamond and play any position that the Padres’ need him to, as he played all four infield positions in spring training. His glove is not a concern and he is a solid defensive player.
The organization continues to be high on Potts and they rightfully should be. He has all the tools necessary to be a middle-of-the-order bat at the major league level when he fully develops. The 20-year-old has advanced through the system quickly and will start with the Sod Poodles in 2019, but a mid-season promotion to Triple-A El Paso should not be ruled out by any means.
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