The brand new rankings have come out for the top 100 players in all of minor league baseball. The list is highly regarded and is a very useful tool when determining value of minor league players.
With no surprise to anyone the Padres have only three players on the list. Manuel Margot (45th), Javier Guerra (58th) and Hunter Renfroe (92) all made the top 100 list, but was their ranking lower than it should have been?
There has always been a conspiracy theory among smaller market teams that their prospects aren’t as highly touted as say the New York Yankees or Dodgers. At the same time there has always been a feeling around the major league baseball community that larger market teams prospects are over valued to a certain extent.
So was the ranking of the 2016 Padres prospects lower than it should have been? In reality these ranking are purely a judgement of a team of writers and analyst. The game of baseball is not an exact science and the scouting part of it is based on judgement as much as anything else. These top 100 lists are very well-respected, but they can be very easily be off a bit.
That being said the lists still are worth noting. The San Diego Padres three named players are very talented and in most people’s assessment they are the team’s top three prospects. Margot and Guerra were huge additions for the team and if not for their acquisition, the team would only have one prospect in the top 100. Could you imagine the backlash then? It’s amazing some Padres fans still do not understand the reasoning behind the Kimbrell trade.
Hunter fell to 92nd on the list (50th in 2015 rankings) as he had a very slow start on the 2015 minor league season. He did pick it up at the end of the year but slipped more than 40 spots on the list. Margot was ranked 61st last season on the list so moving up 16 spots is a very positive thing for his development. Even a better sign is that Guerra wasn’t on the list last season and rocketed his value all the way to 58th best prospect. That in itself shows you how one good year and one bad year can fluctuate the value of these young players.
Let’s take a look at each prospect and view some game action. Each player is a crown jewel in the Padres developing farm system at this point. Perhaps the rankings of each player would be higher if they were Yankees property verses Padres property. Who really knows. They assessment of their worth is purely subjective either way. No matter how you slice it though, the Padres have three very good prospects in these men.
He has above average range and speed for a center fielder. This clip shows the excellent jump he gets on the ball as well as his above average tracking skills. The fleet-footed Margot should easily be able to stick in the outfield as an above average defender. The Padres could have found their center fielder for years and years.
The man can hit too. He has a very quick bat and a smooth swing. He will have no problem making contact in the big leagues. His power is developing and should eventually be an above average tool. He is not the biggest guy, but he generates a ton of bat speed and will only get better with time.
The opposite field power he displays in this clip is quite impressive. For a left-handed batter to hit a ball down the left field line with authority shows you that his power is legitimate. He is still very young and thin, once he fills out his power could be really scary from the shortstop position.
His swing is very smooth. He has trouble from time to time with pitch recognition but he is progressing very quickly. The power developed in 2015 and he could take another jump if he bulks up a little a fills out his frame. The sky is truly the limit for this young man.
He can play defense too. In fact prior to 2015 he was known as a defensive first shortstop. Clearly that is not the case as he can swing the bat very well. That stigma does bode well for his future in the league. If he is considered a great defender and just an average hitter, he will be a perennial all-star type talent at the position. Playing defense is number one for a shortstop, but if he can hit for power too. The Padres have a real nice prospect in Guerra.
Let us not forget Renfroe and the big time talent he truly is. He has a great swing and generates a ton of power. He will be an excellent power hitter in the league, but he needs to cut down on his strikeouts and put the ball in play more. He started out horrible last season, but picked it up once he was promoted to El Paso. The Padres power hitting prospect is nearly major league ready and with a decent spring he could make the team. He needs to mature at the plate and that could happen at any time.
So are these three under-rated? The fact they were mentioned on this list is an honor in itself. The Padres are surely happy with the development of each player and each is penciled in as a vital member of the team for the 2017 season and beyond. With a great early season, any one of these three could make an impact at the major league level this season. Renfroe is almost surely going to be called up at one point during the 2016 season. The San Diego Padres have had a long dry spell in terms of talent from their minor league system. These three could change that stigma, even though two of them were acquired from the Red Sox.
The San Diego Padres far system is presently being over hauled. When you add these three players, with the six draft picks with in the first 85 picks (MLB 2016 DRAFT) then the team is going to be suddenly loaded with talent. Factor in the Padres should be very active in the next international signing class which opens on July 2nd.
There are even unnamed reports that the Padres are trying to convince 16-year-old Cuban phenom Lazaro Armenteros to wait until after July to announce his intentions to play professional baseball. The Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs and Red Sox are all unable to spend more than $300,000 in the next signing period. The Padres could be huge spenders and we could finally see the benefits of A.J. Preller and his scouting abilities. If everything breaks right the Padres could easily have a top five farm system by the end of the 2016 season. Then all the A.J. haters we finally figure out what has been going on all this time. I like the plan. Just make the smart additions with the picks and the international money and the team will be set for a while. We need to have faith Padres fan, especially during this key moment in the franchises history. Stay calm, I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel.