The San Diego Padres farm system is lacking after the enormous trades made during this 2022 deadline.
One player A.J. Preller was able to keep within the organization was Jackson Merrill, a young shortstop who ting to really develop.
In the new MLB Pipeline rankings, Jackson Merrill is ranked 85th in the top 100 prospect rankings. He is the Padres’ number one ranked prospect presently.
Jackson Merrill was selected out of high school with the 27th pick in the first round. Merrill was supposed to go later in the draft, but the most aggressive general manager in sports took him in the first round. Merrill has done nothing but impress since his debut with the Padres, proving that Preller and his staff are more than competent when it comes to finding talent.
The 19-year0old hasn’t shown all the power in the world, hitting only six home runs in 55 games this 2022 season, but that does not mean he will not develop more power as he gets older. Merrill has a very smooth swing, and even though his home run count is not particularly high, he recorded 13 doubles this season, which is very impressive for his age. If calculated into a full 162 games, Merrill would hit nearly 38 doubles. Of course, this calculation is not 100 percent accurate, but the power potential is in his bat.
In the regular season, Merrill hit .325 with a .387 on-base percentage and hit for a .869 OPS with the Storm. He showed off some of his 50-grade speed while snagging 11 bases (three in Rookie Ball, eight in Single-A). Although he had a great year, his total number of games was limited due to an injury that cost him a good amount of playing time. Merrill suffered a broken wrist at the end of April, which kept him on the injured list for eight weeks. He returned to the field in late June.
Once Jackson Merrill returned from the injured list, he improved his numbers. Merrill went on a big hot streak at the end of the Single-A season, leading the Storm to the California League championship. He wound up winning the Single-A player of the week in the California League. In that week, Merrill went 9-for-19 (.473 batting average) with a home run while also driving in six runs. Merrill was also awarded the Beat Box batter of the week on September 6, hitting for a .385 batting average, a .429 on-base percentage, and slugging .654 for the week. Merrill also held a 1.083 OPS that week while driving in eight runs.
Aside from his achievements and stats, Merrill’s mechanics are very clean. His load is quick and fast. He does not possess a big leg kick; instead, he uses his back half to gain the power that makes the ball jump off his bat. Along with having a great stance and load mechanics, his swing is very smooth. The power is developing, and the thought is that it will come with time.
Where will Jackson Merrill play? That is a good question that is brought up by many Padre fans. Although he is listed as a shortstop, it would be hard to believe Padres superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. has not already reserved that spot. Ha-Seong Kim also factors to some degree at the position. Jackson Merrill can also play third base and second base. The infielder could eventually take Jake Cronenworth’s spot at second base. He could also factor in Manny Machado’s spot at third base near the end of his 10-year/$300 million contract.
Jackson Merrill is only 19 years old, and it is hard to believe the infielder would be called up any time soon by the Padres. There are many outcomes that could happen from now to 2025 (when he is expected to be ready) with the Padres team, so deciding where Jackson Merrill would take over is a debatable topic. Anything can happen, including moving the young infielder for more relevant major league players. The Padres are attempting to win now, and Merrill is not close to producing at the major league level.
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Near the end of the trade deadline, Jeff Passan mentioned that the San Diego Padres are very aggressive in Juan Soto’s trade talks. He stated that the Padres and rival executives view Jackson Merrill as a potential top 25 prospect in all of the minor leagues. Although Merrill was mentioned in trades with the Nationals to acquire Juan Soto, A.J. Preller made the smart decision to keep his first-round pick from the 2021 draft.
I’m a junior in high school, which I’ve grown up in San Diego my whole life. Living the life of being a die-hard Padre while chasing my dreams in studying Sports management.