Despite much consternation from fans about the product on the field, the San Diego Padres look to have a bright future ahead of them. With six draft picks in the first 84 picks, the Padres are poised to replenish a farm system that has already taken a big step forward this offseason. The next step for A.J. Preller and company is the international market, a market in which Preller is known for his success.
While it has already been reported that the Padres would be blowing past their international spending limits in the next spending period, 2016-2017, there has yet to be any names seriously linked to the Padres, save for Lazaro Armentaros. That is until now.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) February 12, 2016
At this point, the Padres have emerged as the favorites to sign right fielder Jorge Ona as well as left handed pitcher Adrian Morejon. Neither has been officially granted free agent status by Major League Baseball, but that should happen just in time for the start of the next signing period in July.
While Ona is probably the more well known of the two players, Morejon may command an even bigger bonus than Ona. Ona is currently 19 years old, while Morejon is only 16 (turning 17 at the end of this month). So clearly both players are a ways away from the majors, but would be strong signings for the Padres regardless. Given the weak state of the Padres farm system, both players would do a lot to boost the depth in the system going forward.
Ona is a 6’2’’, 192 pound right handed hitter known for having a quick swing, good power, and a strong arm in right field. According to the scouting report of Ben Badler, Ona showed good athleticism in the field and showed a good approach at the plate given his age. Also according to Badler, Ona would likely slot in with a Low-A team if he was in the United States right now.
Morejon on the other hand is only 16, and stands at only 5’11’’. Even so, Morejon has a good delivery with an above average fastball that sits in the low 90s, a good curveball and a changeup that is developing. Despite his young age, Morejon is a very polished pitcher overall. According to Badler, Morejon would likely pitch in rookie ball in the United States, but could advance quickly given his polished approach on the mound.
While both Ona and Morejon are young, and thus come with some skepticism, both have the ability to be impact players in the big leagues at some point in the future. For the Padres, who have a farm system lacking impact talent, signing one or both of these players is the right move. With the team expected to blow by the spending limits starting in July, the team is heavily favored to sign both of these players, as well as several other noteworthy players in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, as well as other foreign markets. Preller is known for his mastery of the international system. Now it is time to see that in action.