The future is now for the San Diego Padres.
On June 28., the Padres announced their initial 60-man player pool for the upcoming 2020 MLB season. While the familiar names such as Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. made the roster, A.J. Preller made some bold decisions when constructing his roster.
Sixteen of San Diego’s top 30 prospects (by MLB Pipeline’s standards) will report to “Spring Training 2.0”, including prospects one through thirteen. This also includes Robert Hassell III, who was San Diego’s first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft earlier this month.
At long last, the Padres have unveiled their player pool, filling 52 of their 60 spots. In typical A.J. Preller fashion it is HEAVY on prospects.
All of the Padres top 13 prospects, per MLB Pipeline, are on the list, plus first-round pick Robert Hassell III.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) June 29, 2020
Each player listed on the 60-man pool is eligible to play in the 2020 season. However, only 30 players in total will make up the Opening Day roster. Remaining players left off the roster will work out in an alternate location of the team’s choosing, most likely a minor league facility.
While some players will spend the next three weeks training at the University of San Diego, the main consideration for an alternative training site during the season is Lake Elsinore. Peoria was the initial choice, but a reconsideration was made following a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state of Arizona.
Unlike other teams, Preller chose to include a multitude of top prospects in his roster. While top prospects MacKenzie Gore, Luis Patino, and Taylor Trammell are all expected to debut in 2020, others such as Hassell III, Hudson Head, and CJ Abrams will report to camp to further their development.
With eight spots open, the Padres have roster flexibility, meaning any or all of the veterans mentioned above can still be added and given a spot. Another player who will be added is Cole Wilcox, the Padres third-round pick of the 2020 MLB Draft, who has yet to sign a contract but is rumored to be nearing an agreement.
Another new arrangement for the shortened season is the Taxi Squad. The Taxi Squad will consist of three players from the 60-man pool and will travel with the team on road trips for the sake of granting a team immediate options to replace an injured or COVID-19 infected player.
Of those three players, at least one must be a catcher. The other two can be made up of either position players or pitchers. For this particular reason, the Padres’ 60-man roster consists of Austin Hedges, Francisco Mejia, Luis Torrens, Luis Campusano, and Webster Rivas.
Per MLB rules, all players on a 40-man roster “that the Club anticipates participating” during the season will be part of the player pool. The Padres followed this rule with three exceptions. Andres Munoz and Anderson Espinoza were left off the player pool due to being on the med from Tommy John surgery, while Jorge Ona’s chances of making the roster were slim to none.