Taking a quick look at the 10 position players who are invited to Padres’ camp this spring.
The San Diego Padres announced their non-roster invitees to major league camp.
In this piece, we will examine the 10 players who got the call and give you a little roundup on each of them.
The San Diego Padres’ major league roster is nearly full. For the first time in several seasons, the team has an established group of players who are locks (barring injury) to begin the season on the roster. The team may have some shuffling internally as far as playing time goes, but the players’ core group is set.
A total number of 23 pitchers were invited to camp as non-roster invites. That list will be evaluated in the coming days by us as we delve further into Padres’ camp.
A.J. Preller is not one to shy away from early advancement for young players. Fernando Tatis Jr. skipped High Single-A and Triple-A as he climbed the Padres system exponentially. CJ Abrams, Joshua Mears, and Robert Hassell will be in Peoria this spring with the major leaguers. Each is still very raw and has minimal experience at the major league level. But that did not stop the Padres from granting them developmental time with the major league staff.
Here is a look at the position players who will report in the next week or so.
The 21-year-old right-handed hitter has quick hands with the bat and is showing better skills at the plate. There is a lot to like about Fernandez, who has the prototypical catcher’s body. He is thick in his legs, and the 5-foot-11 catcher from Venezuela provides good defense. He last played at Fort Wayne in 2019, recording a .728 OPS in 53 games. The young backstop will be in camp for seasoning and little else.
The 30-year-old veteran catcher is back in major league camp. Rivas is a leader on the field though he has never made it to the major leagues. Rivas is vocal behind the plate and has no fear of throwing behind runners on the bases. His bat is the primary concern as the right-handed hitter is just not overly productive with the stick. Rivas shows some on-base skills and pitch recognition while hitting, but he has never really been given a shot to play every day. If the Padres need a catcher during the season, Rivas may get a shot. Or he may serve as a role model for young catcher Luis Campusano. Either way, there is value there from Rivas.
There is no doubt that his baseball skills are advanced for his age. The 20-year-old lost a crucial year last year in terms of development, but the word is that the time off did not stunt his growth. The left-handed hitter is advanced with the bat, showing developing power. His speed is phenomenal as Abrams routinely turns doubles into triples on the basepaths. Defensively, the shortstop is smooth and fearless around the bag. Abrams displays great footwork, but the Padres already have a shortstop in Fernando Tatis Jr., who is only a year older than Abrams. He may end up at second base in the future, and there are whispers he could see action in the outfield eventually. No matter where he plays with the glove, his bat will carry him to the major leagues. Perhaps as soon as this 2021 season.
The veteran infielder won a battle title in the Texas League a few years back with the Sod Poodles. There is a lot to like about his switch-hitting abilities. Castillo is also versatile on the diamond as he can play all three outfield spots and all four infield positions. The 25-year-old is virtually major league ready but will need an injury or two to crack the major league roster in 2021. Castillo is a great clubhouse presence and will be valuable to the Padres at the Triple-A level if they choose to go that route.
The Padres invited this veteran to camp, though he will need a miracle to make the major league roster. At 34, Florimon is not a young player by any means. The 7-year MLB veteran played in Philadelphia, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore but has not played in the majors since 2018. The switch-hitter is versatile with the glove where he can play multiple positions. There is a little power in the bat, but nothing dictates he makes the team out of spring. He will likely be DFA’d or could accept an assignment in El Paso.
Drafted out of Rancho Bernando High School in 2013, this is an interesting pickup by the Padres. Katoh made it all the way to Triple-A in 2019 for the Yankees, recording a .825 OPS in 83 games. The left-handed hitter struggles slightly with making contact, but he has good speed on the basepaths. With the glove, Katoh can play all over the field but was traditionally a second baseman. There is a lot to like about him as he is a local product and still only 26 years old.
21-year-old Rosario is a free-swinger who has little experience beyond High Single-A baseball. The right-handed hitter is a bit pull happy, where he displays some decent power for his size. Rosario is aggressive on the basepaths as he has decent speed. In time, the Dominican could be a player to watch in the system. He can play all over the infield but is not considered a plus defender. Rosario will get some seasoning this spring in major league camp.
Tanielu broke out of sorts in 2019, recording a .880 OPS in 127 games at the Astros Triple-A level. The right-handed hitter slugged 19 homers the last time he played consistently. The six-year minor league veteran generally makes contact at the plate displaying a short swing. Tanielu will need a miracle to make the team, but the 28-year-old could be an option for the team at second base if the team has any health issues. His age is an issue, and so is playing time with the Padres. He will be an interesting player to watch this spring.
At 19, there is no chance Hassell makes the Padres out of the spring. The invitation to spring wasn’t about making the team, though if you ask the Padres. Hassell did not get playing time in 2020, so advanced coaching will benefit the 2020 1st-round pick. The left-handed hitter is an advanced hitter with developing power. The plus defender will likely stick in center as he shows a plus arm and great natural instincts. There is a lot to like about this young prospect.
Blessed with plus power, Mears could breakout in 2021. The bat skills and pitch recognition are a work in progress. The swing needs more fluidity, but reports show that Mears is looking much better now than when he was first drafted. The right-handed hitter is still very young (about to turn 20), so the upside here is tremendous. Defensively, he will be a corner outfielder moving forward. The arm-strength is not an issue for Mears, but he will need to refine his abilities to track the ball in the outfield.