16. Tirso Ornelas, OF
Signed by the Padres for $1.5 million in 2016, Ornelas was one of the prized international players that the Padres acquired during their massive spending spree. The Mexican native comes from the same Mexico City Red Devils team that produced both Luis Urias and Andres Munoz.
Ornelas has the perfect frame for an outfielder as he stands at 6’3″ and weighs roughly around 200 pounds. There is potential for him to fill out and put some muscle on, but his size alone is a reason for scouts to fall in love with him. The 19-year-old shows a solid understanding of the strike zone and demonstrates a disciplined approach at the plate. He’s a solid hitter, but Ornelas needs to tap into some of that natural power that he possesses. He only hit eight home runs last season in over 300 at-bats and needs to start elevating the baseball more if he wants to refine his overall offensive game.
Despite playing center field for a majority of last season, Ornelas does not project as a center fielder long-term and does not impress with his overall physique in the outfield. He does have a strong arm, but he is not nearly a good enough athlete to play centerfield at the major league level and does not get a good first read on the baseball. His best fit is as a corner outfielder that can do some damage with his arm when the ball is hit to him.
Ornelas is loaded with potential and could be an impact player one day if he can figure out how to elevate the baseball more.
17. Buddy Reed, OF
Outside of Xavier Edwards, Buddy Reed is the best athlete in this system and it really isn’t close. The 48th pick in the 2016 MLB draft has skyrocketed up prospect lists after a breakout 2018 season that saw him earn a Futures Game selection.
Reed hits from both sides of the plate and does so effectively, as he has a solid swing and looks comfortable from either side. Not known for being a power hitter, Reed has shown flashes of some untapped power within that could translate to 15-20 home runs in a few years. He is a ridiculously good athlete that absolutely flies on the basepaths (51 stolen bases last season) and in the outfield grass. Reed’s 6’4″ frame is perfect for an outfielder and he is arguably one of the best defenders in the entire system.
Despite tearing up the California League last season, Reed struggled tremendously when he was promoted to Double-A posting a .179 batting average and striking out 63 times in 179 at-bats. His high strikeout rate has plagued Reed for his entire career and he will need to be more patient at the plate as he makes his way through the system. The inconsistencies have to be a concern, as Reed has only been good for one half-season throughout his professional career.
Reed has to prove that 2018 was not a statistical commonly in order to keep his name up there on prospect lists. He is a very gifted athlete that just needs to be patient at the plate to truly be a great player.
18. Luis Campusano, C
The Padres made Campusano the first catcher selected in the 2017 draft when they took him with the 39th overall pick. Signing at around $1.3 million, Campusano played the majority of the 2018 season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps before a concussion put an end to his season.
Campusano is one of the plethoras of talented catchers the Padres have in this system. Despite not putting up impressive power numbers in 2018, Campusano has natural raw power in his swing that should develop over time. He has a strong arm that delivers accurate throws to second base and has one of the lower pop-times for his level. The 20-year-old is a solid receiver and should have no problem sticking at catcher long-term.
Campusano’s approach at the plate is questionable at times. He lacks plate discipline and needs to start being more patient on pitches that he can do damage with. Campusano has shown flashes of greatness at times but has struggled to maintain it. The potential is there for him to turn into an above-average bat at the next level, but he needs to make some minor changes for that to occur. With the major-league caliber catchers that the Padres’ already have, Campusano will likely be a valuable trade piece for the Friars.
19. Jacob Nix, RHP
The Padres selected Nix in the fifth-round of the 2015 MLB draft and signed him for $900,000. Nix ascended to the major leagues quickly and made his major league debut last season for the Padres. He struggled, to put it nicely, and posted a 7.02 ERA in nine starts at the major league level. Nix was fighting for a spot in the team’s 2019 rotation before he went down with a UCL strain that will sideline him for an extended period of time.
Nix’s biggest problem last season was his inability to generate swing-and-misses with any of his pitches. His fastball sits around 93-95 mph and comes out of his hand very fluidly, but hitters just don’t miss it. Nix possesses a plus curveball that is easily his best pitch and has a sharp break to it. Even his best offering does not generate a lot of whiffs and Nix is going to have to figure out how to miss bats or he will not be successful at this level. His changeup is a work in progress, but he can throw it for strikes and looks comfortable when he throws it.
His ability to throw strikes will never be in question, but Nix just doesn’t strike enough batters out to have consistent success. With the success that the Padres’ young rotation has had in 2019, Nix will likely spend the year in Triple-A when he returns from his injury and will get his opportunity to compete for a starting spot in 2020.
20. Austin Allen, C
The Padres have a knack for catching prospects that just absolutely rake. Allen is no different than the rest, and when it is all said and done, he might be the best hitter of them all. A fourth-round pick in the 2015 MLB draft, Allen has done nothing but destroy the baseball at whatever level he’s been at. The 6’2″ backstop has hit 20+ home runs in back-to-back seasons and has never posted a batting average below .280.
Allen has a sweet swing from the left side that generates hard contact to all parts of the field. His hands allow his bat to get in the zone quickly and he barrels up baseballs on a consistent basis. Once he fully develops, Allen has the potential to hit 25+ home runs on a yearly basis and be a middle-of-the-order type of bat. He struck out quite a bit in 2017, but Allen lowered that number in 2018 by making adjustments to his swing and becoming more comfortable with the strike zone. As far as his defense goes, Allen is never going to be even close to the type of defensive catcher that Austin Hedges is. His calling card will always be offense and if his defense comes, then so be it. While he has a good arm, his ability to transfer the baseball from his glove to his hand needs improvement. His receiving skills are sub-par and need work, although Allen has improved both of these areas over the years. There is potential for him to be an average catcher, but he will never truly be a great defensive backstop.
Allen’s offensive ability and his sub-par defense might make him a prime candidate to move from behind the plate to first base. His bat is going to play at the major league level and teams are going to find a way to get him into their lineup regardless of how poor his defense is.
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