The San Diego Padres look to have a phenom on their hands as Ethan Salas debuted this week with the Lake Elsinore Storm at the age of 16 and was very impressive.
Salas doubled and singled in his first two trips to the plate and did not look overmatched at the Single-A level. Salas is a catcher, and it should take time for him to develop behind the dish, but his bat is for real, and the upside is immense.
A few days before his 17th birthday, Salas is creating a buzz around major league baseball. Scouts and evaluators love his quick left-handed stroke and the potential it exhibits.
Ethan Salas is in the system now, but soon the Padres may have another international star on their hands.
The Padres have been linked to Leodalis De Vries, a Dominican shortstop with an incredibly high ceiling.
The youngster is considered the first or second-best prospect available in the next signing period. The wiry athlete is not free to officially sign with the Padres until January 15, 2024, when the next international class opens. Even though his addition is not official, the two sides appear to have a verbal agreement in place. De Vries has even listed the Padres as his baseball team on his Instagram account (it has since been removed). De Vries has worked out several times in Padres gear, which Salas did before signing with the Padres.
In the modern era of the game, an international player wearing a team’s gear before the signing period is common and a clear indication of who they intend to sign with when eligible. We will monitor this moving forward, though, as De Vries can technically still sign with any major league team. The recent removal (on social media) of his intent to play for the Padres is concerning, but most believe the young Dominican is only posturing.
Ethan Salas received a record $5.6 million last signing period from the Padres. De Vries is predicted to receive around $4.2, but his stock is on the rise. Some recent evaluators easily favor the young infielder as the best incoming prospect in the 2024 international class. He could simply be looking for more money from the Padres.
At 6-foot-2, the infielder has tremendous size for a teenager. The 16-year-old is described as an above-average defender with excellent range. Take a look at this video, and you’ll see for yourself what he is capable of doing with the glove. You also get a sense of the power he possesses in the box. He hits multiple home runs in this video and does it with ease from the left side.
His footwork and understanding of the shortstop position are still developing, but he should be able to remain at the position moving forward. There is some roughness to his defensive game, but age does play a factor. The skillset is there, but he will need to work hard at his craft.
The switch-hitter has power in his swing and makes excellent contact from both sides of the plate. His bat is fairly consistent whether batting left-handed or right-handed, and he will remain a switch-hitter moving forward. The speed is average but should improve in time and with more conditioning. Arm strength is his weakest tool, but it is still above average. It should not be an issue for De Vries to stick at shortstop as he hits the States in the next few years.
Leodalis De Vries is not a sure thing to be successful at the major league level. Nothing is ever a sure thing in the game of baseball. But De Vries brings a lot of respect when evaluators talk about his skill set. From the swing to the maturity level, scouts are very high on this teenager. It seems clear that he will excel at the upper levels of the minor league system.
Take another look at the Dominican infielder in action.
The San Diego Padres are favorites to sign Dominican SS Leodalis “Leo” De Vries when the 2024 international FA period opens on Jan. 15, 2024. De Vries is a consensus “Top 2” prospect in the 2024 class. Sky high ceiling, wiry, athletic, rangy, power from both sides of the plate. pic.twitter.com/3SXRrRZ4Pn
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) December 20, 2022
De Vries is special player. There is no debate about that. It is amazing to think the Padres could be bringing in another phenom like this to a system that is improving. A.J. Preller and his international scouting department do a fine job of recognizing young talent. Chris Kemp and his staff work extremely hard, and they should be commended for bringing in all this young talent.
Ethan Salas will continue to get everyone’s attention this summer, but keep in mind the Padres may have another superstar in Leodalis De Vries this January. Only time will tell if he does indeed sign with the Padres, but all indications are that the two sides are very interested in each other. A.J. Preller is not one to let a player slip away from his clutches.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.