The next team to be highlighted in this series is the Fort Wayne TinCaps, who have been playing very solid ball as of late in the Midwest League, led by a slew of youngsters with a ton of potential.
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Team Record (Week Record): 20-22 (6-1)
Overview: Along with the San Antonio Missions, the TinCaps have one of the most loaded rosters in all of the minor leagues, with nine of San Diego’s Top-30 Prospects residing in Fort Wayne. They’re led by Mackenzie Gore, the Padres’ number two overall prospect and consensus Top-30 prospect in all of baseball. Gore’s been off to a slow start this season with blister issues limiting him to just three starts (he was just recently put back on Fort Wayne’s DL with a blister problem). Nevertheless, the TinCaps boast one of the youngest rosters in all of the minors, which include a multitude of teenage infielders, highlighted by Gabriel Arias (9) and Esteury Ruiz (10). These two are just part of Fort Wayne’s success this past week, which saw them go 6-1 (including five in a row) and make their way closer towards the top of the Midwest League standings.
Esteury Ruiz (.286/.371/.493): Ruiz has been a key cog atop the TinCaps order, and has picked up right where he left off in the Arizona League last summer. He’s not going to be somebody who hits for a ton of power, but Ruiz’s combination of speed and bat to ball skills should play, which is why he’s ranked so highly on San Diego’s Top-30 Prospects list. Still very young, Ruiz will likely spend a good portion of the year at Fort Wayne, with the possibility of winding up in Lake Elsinore to end the season, if all goes according to plan.
Luis Campusano (.288/.333/.360): Another player selected by the Padres in the 2017 draft is Luis Campusano, who has showed promising results since joining the professional circuit. After showing well along with his teammate Ruiz in the Arizona League last summer, the Padres have played things aggressively, sending Campusano to Fort Wayne for his first taste of full season ball. He’s been able to hold his own, and will look to try and tap into his power source, which scouts have graded a 50. He’s also got an above-average arm from behind the plate, and should be able to give the Padres options once he starts ascending the ladder towards the Padres’ upper levels of the minor leagues.
Jeisson Rosario (.263/.426/.314): One of the more intriguing players to follow in the Padres’ system has been none other than Rosario, who’s been able to put together a fantastic 33/35 BB/K rate, which is shown by his remarkable .426 On-Base Percentage. Rosario is another player the Padres signed back in their 2016 international signing period, and can be considered one of the most athletic prospects the Padres have. While Rosario doesn’t have a single tool that sticks out very much, he’s very solid all around, and can put hard contact on the ball on a consistent basis.
Nick Margevicius (2-2, 2.77 ERA): Considerably the ace of the staff, Margevicius has vaulted himself into conversation among Padres prospects. What he’s been able to do throughout his time in Fort Wayne has been nothing short of dominant, striking out 52 batters over his 39 innings. While he’s definitely an older player in the Midwest League (21), especially on a team where the average age is in the teens, Margevicius has been doing what he needs to in order to warrant a call-up to Lake Elsinore. He could be another candidate to move rather quickly, should he keep his K/9 ratio up, and his ERA down.
Travis Radke (0-1, 1.90 ERA, 3 SV): One of the more obscure players in the entire Padres organization has to be Travis Radke. Since being drafted by the Padres in 2014 out of the University of Portland, Radke had a tough time gaining traction in professional baseball, bouncing around Class Low-A Tri-Cities, Class-A Fort Wayne, and Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Pair that with Tommy John surgery that took him out of baseball for a year, and Radke’s truly been through the mill. Now back and seemingly healthy, Radke has been dominant at the back end of the TinCaps bullpen, striking out 14.8 batters per nine innings over 24 innings of work. Because of his injuries and struggles, Radke’s age (25) in the Midwest League is somewhat of an anomaly. Should he keep up his dominant outings at the end of games, the Padres will be forced to give him a promotion, where he hopefully starts to find his footing in professional baseball.
Outlook: The TinCaps have a fun, young roster that should make fans excited for the future. They boast nine of the Padres’ Top-30 prospects, a handful of whom are already starting to shine in their first taste of full-season baseball. It will be interesting to keep an eye on how the TinCaps do this year, since their success should give at least some indication as to how the young players in this system are developing.