With the San Diego Padres slipping out of playoff contention, and players like Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy set for free agency after this season, it certainly looks like the Padres will be sellers at the trade deadline.
Considering the weakened state of the Padres minor league system, this is a good opportunity for A.J. Preller to bring in some prospect talent to give the Padres some much needed depth.
With several of the top prospects in the game getting promoted to the MLB recently, who are the top prospects that the Padres might be targeting? Here’s a list of 4 prospects that could help fill team needs for the Padres, and whose big league clubs could be buyers at the trade deadline.
Brett Phillips, CF, Astros
MLB.com Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 60 | Arm: 70 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55
That power tool grade might be a little low at this point. After adjusting his swing in 2014 he hit 17 home runs across two levels, before hitting 15 home runs in high A this season on route to a call up to AA. He could be ready for the majors within a year and Houston is running out of places on their major league roster for all of their young talented position players. As strong as they are at the plate and in the field, the Astros could use a boost to their starting rotation depth. Using Phillips to get a pitcher like Ian Kennedy might be in the plans for the Astros. Worth noting though, Andrew Cashner is from Conroe Texas, which is just up the road from Houston in the southeastern part of the state. Perhaps the Astros would like to target the local boy instead? Either way, Phillips would be a long term fit in San Diego because he has the bat and speed to be the lead off hitter of the future that the Padres don’t currently have. Perhaps more importantly, he also profiles as a legitimate center field defender. His new found power is just an added bonus.
Gleybor Torres, SS, Cubs
MLB.com Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Younger and less toolsy than Phillips, Torres would be cheaper to pry away from the Cubbies, but his performances are better than what the tools indicate. He’s stealing bases at a decent clip and that 55 hit tool might be trending up to a 60 grade as he’s hitting over .300 in A ball as an 18 year old. Questions about his range at shortstop might mean he eventually moves to 2nd, but his arm can easily play at SS. Starlin Castro and Javier Baez get more buzz but they both have defensive weaknesses, and while Torres also has defensive question marks, his price tag is smaller than Castro or Baez as well. He’s not a guy that would be the centerpiece of a major trade, but as part of a larger package I’d definitely like to see Torres heading to SD considering he’s a middle infielder that is showing the ability to hit well.
Raul Mondesi, SS, Royals
MLB.com Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 70 | Arm: 60 | Field: 60 | Overall: 55
I hadn’t been considering Mondesi as a guy the Padres might target until I read a tweet by @mikeykoke on twitter about the possibility of the Padres trading Shields back to KC for their top prospect. It would be a little weird for the Royals to trade for a guy they let go to free agency last offseason, but KC is a definite contender again this season, and Mondesi is still just 19. Perhaps Kansas City wants to go completely all in this year after just barely missing out on winning the world series in 2014? If so, a mega deal for Shields and Justin Upton could be a possibility. The Royals are pretty loaded, but more pitching depth never hurts, and Upton would be an upgrade over Alex Rios. Getting game changing big leaguers like Upton and Shields wouldn’t be cheap, therefore Mondesi would definitely be an appropriate guy for the Padres to target. He’s regarded as one of the best shortstop prospects out there, and even though he’s still a teenager, he’s already playing in AA. With blazing speed to go along with plus defense and a plus arm, he’d be a great guy to have in the Padres farm.
Anthony Alford, CF, Blue Jays
MLB.com Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 55 | Run: 70 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Kiley McDaniel at fangraphs.com said this about him, “Alford is a plus-plus runner with above average raw power and a solid average arm that easily profiles everyday in center field if he hits.” And he’s hitting. He’s sporting a .338 average in high A this season, so perhaps that 40 grade hit tool is a little low at this point. Alford played football until college, and coming out of highschool was Mississippi’s Mr Baseball and Mr Football. Now that he’s just focusing on baseball, it’s looking like the sky is the limit for him. Obviously very athletic, his surprisingly advanced feel for hitting has surprised scouts. The Blue Jays already have a high powered offense, but Justin Upton would a big time upgrade for them in left field. Perhaps the Jays would be looking to upgrade that position as they compete for a playoff spot in the very tight AL East. Also, Toronto is apparently interested in Craig Kimbrel. I’d hate to see him leave San Diego, but Alford is oozing with big time potential, and getting him in return would definitely soften the blow of losing Kimbrel.