Max Pentecost (TOR) C
In 2014, the Blue Jays selected this backstop in the first round with the #11 pick. He missed all of 2015 after undergoing two separate shoulder surgeries. His catching future remains in question currently because of his arm injury, but the right-handed hitter has above average skill with the bat.
He has an above-average approach at the plate, but has only made it to the High Single-A level. Pentecost put up a .276/.330/.431 slash line in 286 at bats. He slugged nine homers in that time and drove in 54 runs. With a cloudy future in terms of defensive abilities, he would be a high risk pick for the Padres. The 24-year-old could play first or left, but it all depends on how his shoulder reacts to consistent playing time.
Wes Rogers (COL) OF
A surprise addition to this list is this outfielder from the Rockies’ organization. The 23-year-old right-handed hitter is a speed burner as he stole 70 bases in 2017 at the high Single-A level. Yes, he has yet to play above A-ball. But he has a decent right-handed swing and generally makes contact. He also will walk, as he has recorded a .362 OBP in his 1,300 minor league at bats. Rogers put up the slash line of .319/.377/.488 in 123 games and 461 at bats last year. He is not a power hitter, but he still smashed nine homers and 37 doubles for Lancaster. Rogers is surprisingly suspect on defense as he owns a .965 fielding percentage in his four minor league seasons. Rogers would be a risky selection, but someone worth noting as he could blossom quickly.
Jason Martin (HOU) OF
If the Padres are looking for an athletic outfielder with developing skills, Martin could be their man. He was selected in the 8th round of the 2013 draft out of high school. He has progressed quite nicely, reaching Double-A this season and recording an .802 OPS in 300 at bats. The left-handed hitter has solid approach and a line drive bat. He put up a .278/.332/.487 batting line in 2017 in 474 at bats. His knock has always been his lack of power, but Martin slammed 18 homers in 2017 and seems to have discovered some pop. He has the ability to play center, but his lack of arm strength is an issue moving forward. At 22, Martin is nearly major league ready. He is very raw though.
Travis Demeritte (ATL) 2B/3B
This is arguably who I think the Padres will eye in the draft. Demeritte was drafted by the Rangers and we know Preller’s past with them. He is 23 and coming off a down year, but still has plenty of upside. He has big time power and is an above average defender and runner. Demeritte has a plus arm and could play third base at the highest levels of pro ball. His issues have been putting the ball in play as he does strike out a lot. Demeritte had a slash line of .231/.306/.402 in 124 games with the Braves Double-A team. He struck out 134 times, while walking 49 times in 458 at bats. The decent walk percentage leads me to believe he just needs some mechanical work. His bat speed is tremendous.
James Farris (COL) RHP
If the Padres want to explore another bullpen option for 2018, Farris could be their man. He is 25, with Triple-A experience and decent stuff. Farris is a strike-thrower as he powers a low to mid 90’s fastball through the zone on both sides of the plate. He teams that with a plus slider which has turned into a weapon. He also throws a change as a third pitch. Farris went 1-3 last year with a 3.59 ERA in 48 games and 57.2 innings pitched. He saved 11 games in total and struck out 69, while walking 17. He does not have closer-type stuff, but could be effective in the middle innings in 2018.
Ryan O’Hearn (KC) 1B
A left-handed first baseman from the Royals is a decent option. The 24-year-old is arguably major league ready. I’m surprised he was left unprotected as the Royals are just about to lose Eric Hosmer to free agency. O’Hearn is the team’s #14 ranked prospect after hitting .252 in Triple-A with 18 homers in 114 games. He has plus power, but does strike out a bit too much presently. He has shown the ability to draw a walk here and there, so he could improve his approach with time. He has seen some time in the corner outfield spots, but his speed is well below average and he lacks the range for the position.
Kohl Stewart (MIN) RHP
The Twins’ #11 prospect is on this list simply because of his upside. He has yet to fulfill the justification from being selected 4th overall in the 2013 draft out of Texas A&M. Stewart has a four-piece arsenal, in which each pitch is at least major league worthy. He sinks his fastball as well as using a four-seamer that tops out at the mid to high 90’s mph range. Stewart’s best secondary pitch is an impressive tight slider. The 23-year-old also throws a serviceable curve and can even mix in a changeup. His issue has been command and repeating his motion. He is also very raw and some feel he needs to limit the amount of pitches he throws. Darren Balsley could work wonders with this young man.
I would expect the Padres to be very active on Thursday. The team has drafted multiple players each of A.J. Preller’s Rule 5 drafts, and this year should be no different if they can create some roster space. Jabari Blash, Luis Perdomo, Luis Torrens, Miguel Diaz, and Allen Cordoba were all snatched from teams in the past two years. Preller will probably bring in another player or two to camp, and from there we will see what happens. Kohl Stewart, Jason Martin, and Travis Demeritte all make sense for the Friars if they want some upside.