A look at the San Diego Padres farm system and who is hot and cold for April.
There currently are several relevant minor leaguers within the Padres system.
The depth may not be what it once was when the franchise owned the best farm system in baseball, but dozens of players should enjoy a productive major league career when it is all said and done.
Here is a look at which players put up great numbers for the first month of the season.
We also look at those who have struggled in their first taste of baseball for the 2022 season.
WHO IS HOT (HITTERS)
Robert Hassell III- 1.064 OPS 5 HR- 20 RBI 15 RUNS- 8 SB (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
With a remarkable eye at the plate and exceptional hand-eye coordination, Hassell is further proving his prospect worth in the Midwest League. It is cold in Indiana right now, yet Hassell has no issues barreling up the baseball consistently. He is a special talent, and the sky seems to be the limit for this outfielder.
Lucas Dunn– .994 OPS 18 RBI- 20 BB (Lake Elsinore Storm)
Dunn was selected in the eighth round out of Louisville last season and is in his second stint with the Lake Elsinore Storm. The right-handed hitter is versatile with the glove and could be a useful utility option for the Padres. Dunn is showing an excellent eye at the plate presently (20 BB) and could earn a promotion to Fort Wayne fairly soon.
Jackson Merrill– .970 OPS 11 Runs- 4 SB (Lake Elsinore Storm)
The Padres’ first-round pick from last year has had issues getting on the field in 2022 but is producing once in the lineup. There is a lot to like about Merrill’s progression with the bat, where power is no longer an issue. The infielder also shows great composer and is regarded highly for his baseball IQ.
James Wood– 1.085 OPS 3 HR- 12 RBI (Lake Elsinore Storm)
The power is no joke from this ultra-athletic outfielder. He has great size but commands the strike zone very well and is displaying a plus eye at the plate. Wood is still very raw, and it may take time for him to reach his potential, but the upside is phenomenal.
Esteury Ruiz– 1.110 OPS 3 HR- 18 RBI 15 BB- 15 SB (San Antonio Missions)
The once highly-regarded prospect is enjoying a great year in the Texas League to start the 2022 season. Ruiz is showing great plate discipline, which is a pleasant surprise for the Padres. His speed is real, and the power is also viable. Ruiz could reach the majors at some point, which seemed unlikely after two subpar years with the Padres since coming over from the Royals.
Brandon Dixon– 1.018 OPS 5 HR- 23 RBI (San Antonio Missions)
30-year-old Brandon Dixon is tearing it up in Double-A, and that is to be expected considering he has over 550 at-bats at the major league level over three seasons with the Tigers. Dixon can play a few different positions but will need to continue to rake for the Padres even to consider a promotion.
Robbie Podorsky– 1.080 OPS .400 average (San Antonio Missions)
Speedster Robbie Podorsky is playing well to begin the 2022 season. Podorsky has battled nagging injuries but does produce once he is in the lineup. The small-in-stature right-handed hitter puts the ball in play and does the little things to win ball games. He is an exciting player to watch play the game.
Trayce Thompson– 1.245 OPS 9 HR- 17 RBI (El Paso Chihuahuas)
Veteran right-handed hitter Trayce Thompson was raking the ball in El Paso and was promoted by the Padres last week. The Padres will try to get the most out of Thompson now that Wil Myers is on the IL with a thumb injury. Thompson is organizational depth, but he will get an opportunity to play.
Nomar Mazara– 1.068 OPS 3 HR- 7 RBI (El Paso Chihuahuas)
Mazara is playing really well in El Paso and could be next in line for a promotion to the major leagues. There is power in the left-handed swing, and the Padres do need corner outfield help. If he continues to play like he is, Nomar Mazara will eventually wear a Padres uniform.
Garrett Hawkins– 1.96 ERA/0.76 WHIP 18 IP/26 K (Lake Elsinore Storm)
Canadian right-handed pitcher Garrett Hawkins is pitching well in Lake Elsinore right now. The ninth-round pick from last year’s draft is 22 and displays a great ability to strike out batters. He owns 53 strikeouts in 33 career minor league innings. The starting pitcher could eventually be in store for promotion to Fort Wayne in 2022.
Noel Vela– 0.59 ERA/1.50 WHIP 15.1 IP-17 K (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
Drafted in 2017, Vela is living up to his ability in 2022. The lefty is off to a promising start with the TinCaps as he has struck out 17 batters in 15 innings pitched. With only one earned run in his first four starts of the year, Vela owns one of the best ERA’s among Padres prospect pitchers.
Ryan Och– 1.74 ERA/0.97 WHIP 10 IP/20 K (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
Left Ryan Och is throwing well for the TinCaps as he owns a 1.74 ERA in his first six games in the Midwest League. Och was drafted in 2021 out of the University of Southern Mississippi. The former seventh-round pick will remain in the bullpen and could be useful eventually.
Felix Minjarez– 2.70 ERA/0.70 WHIP 10 IP/21 K (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
25-year-old Felix Minjarez out of Riverside and the University of Redlands is off to a promising start in 2022 for the TinCaps. The right-handed pitcher has done some spot-starting over the years in the minors but will likely remain in a middle-relief role for the franchise.
Ryan Bergert– 2.93 ERA/0.85 WHIP 15.1 IP/23 K (Fort Wayne TinCaps)
Another developing young pitcher from last year’s draft is this right-hander out of West Virginia University. He is being used as a starting pitcher, and the 22-year-old could quickly move up the system. There is a lot to like about the upside of Bergert, who has struck out 23 batters in 15.1 innings pitched in 2022.
Jesse Scholtens– 2.22 ERA/1.06 WHIP 28.1 IP/24 K (El Paso Chihuahuas)
In a notorious hitters league, Scholtens is pitching well for the Chihuahuas. There is not much upside in Scholtens, who is viewed as organizational depth. The starting pitcher would need a miracle to crack the Padres rotation at this point. But he could make an appearance if needed.
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