A look at the talent pool at the third base position in the San Diego Padres’ system.
Manny Machado is not going anywhere.
The third base position is on lockdown at the major league level as the infielder is young and signed for nine more years.
There is little in the system at the position besides Hudson Potts. The rest of the talent consists of middle infielders who are capable of playing third. For the Padres, that is just fine. Machado is the heart of the team, and a replacement will not be needed for a long time.
Cream of the Crop
Hudson Potts– .724 OPS (.240/.302/.423) Double-A Amarillo
This native Texan is easily the best third base prospect in the system. With a solid arm and a powerful right-handed swing, Potts is the prototypical third baseman. There is plenty to love with his bat, but he does need to refine the swing a bit and become more patient at the plate. Potts played second base this past season in Amarillo and shoed the ability to handle the footwork. The 21-year-old is a solid athlete who has a cloudy future in the Padres organization.
Tucupita Marcano– .724 OPS (.240/.302/.423) Single-A Lake Elsinore
Marcano is not natural at the hot corner. With a strong throwing arm, he is capable but is arguably more of a middle infielder than anything else. If he can add muscle to his frame, the potential would be much higher for this 20-year-old. The left-handed swing is smooth, and he makes contact well. Lake Elsinore is where he will start his 2020 season.
Ivan Castillo– .808 (.313/.347/.461) Double-A Amarillo
After winning the Texas League Batting Title, Castillo went to the D.R. and struggled a bit. The switch-hitter is not the most powerful bat but does feature some gap power. Castillo can play all over the onfield and also can play corner outfield. The 24-year-old will likely start the season in El Paso.
Esteban Quiroz– .923 OPS (.271/.384/.539) Triple-A El Paso
Quiroz will be 28 next month and is very close to being ready for major league action. His natural position is second base, but he is capable of playing third base. “Pony” is a scrappy player who shows a lot of heart on the field. Despite his small stature, Quiroz shows plenty of power from the left side of the plate.
Youth with Upside
Luis Almanzar– .657 OPS (.221/.333..323) Single-A Fort Wayne
The 20-year-old might finally be turning the corner with his swing. The right-handed swing of Almazar has been a work in progress, but he was way more consistent in 2019. There is some upside here, but you have to wonder why he is taking so long to adjust. The Dominican can play all over the infield.
Jordy Barley– .733 OPS (.254/.310/.423) Short-Season Tri-City
The free-swinging Dominican just turned 20 and is still very young. Playing this winter in Australia, Barley showed good speed and flashed a plus bat. The swing will need to keep progressing, and he will need to start taking more walks. Defensively, he is capable all over the infield.
Justin Lopez– .646 OPS (.228/.278/..368) Single-A Fort Wayne
Switch-hitting infielder Justin Lopez has yet to tap into his power potential. The right-handed thrower is arguably the Padres next best third base prospect behind Hudson Potts. The hot corner is likely his landing spot in the future.
Bryan Torres– .695 OPS (.259/.362/.333) AZL Padres
Torres is capable of playing third base but looks like more of a middle infielder. The small right-handed hitter doesn’t have much power but shows a decent eye at the plate. The 20-year-old is infield depth at this point in his career. The Venezuelan native will hope to play full-season ball this year.
Vladimir Echavarria– .742 OPS (.276/.405/.337) AZL Padres
This Dominican native has looked bad on defense, committing 33 errors in his short minor league career. The 19-year-old right-handed hitter does show a very impressive bat. The infielder will take a walk and is showing power at a young age. Keep an eye on him in 2020.
Anthony Nunez– .637 OPS (.222/.364/.274) AZL Padres
Drafted in the 29th round this past season, Nunez can play all over the diamond. There are some swing issues, but the switch-hitter is showing some plate discipline. His future on defense is up in the air, but he has the size and arm strength to stick at third base.
Sean Guilbe– .752 OPS (.233/.318/.434) Short-Season Tri-City
There is power in the right-handed bat, but he needs to make more consistent contact. The 12th round pick from 2018 is capable of playing all over the field. Third base may be a stretch for the longterm, but the bat is for real with this 20-year-old.
Luke Becker– .598 OPS (.192/.328/.269) Single-A Fort Wayne
The switch-hitting infielder can play third base, but it is not his strong suit. The swing is productive, but he does not bring a lot of power to the plate from either side. Becker should play in Single-A next season and could find himself in a utility role.
Jack Stronach– .659 OPS (.236/.319/.340) Short-Season Tri-City
The left-handed swing on this UCLA product is attractive, but he will probably not play much third base for the Padres. The 22-year-old has been playing outfield and will likely move forward in that position. The 21st round pick is a project but has some upside.
Minor League Depth and Uncertainty
Eurbiel Angeles– .734 OPS (.301/.359/.376) DSL Padres
At 17, Angeles is difficult to evaluate properly. The right-handed swing is fluid, and he shows gap power presently. The Dominican is capable of playing all over the infield but is not the most dependable with the glove. He will start the 2020 season in the DSL.
Nerwilian Cedeno– .593 OPS (.193/.352/.241) DSL Padres
Cedeno is a work in progress with the glove and especially at third base. The swing on the 17-year-old switch-hitter also has issues. He will take a walk and displays a little bit of power. The Venezuelan native is very young and still capable of blossoming.
Ruddy Giron– .560 OPS (.202/.239/.321) Double-A Amarillo
23-year-old Ruddy Giron is aggressive with his right-handed swing and provides depth for the upper levels of the system. The Dominican native is capable of playing all over the infield, and that is useful. He will likely start the season in Amarillo with the Sod Poodles.
Olivier Basabe– .650 OPS (.233/.312/.337) Single-A Lake Elsinore
The Storm needed a first baseman in 2019, and the Venezuelan played well there despite minimal experience. The right-handed swing shows some power, but he will need to refine his mechanics to advance. Basabe is capable of playing third base but is arguably better suited for the keystone position.
Chris Givin– .815 OPS (.306/.377/.438) Single-A Fort Wayne
22-year-old Chris Givin played well in his first taste of pro baseball. The right-handed hitter is not very powerful, but sprays line drives around the field with a quick swing. The 19th round pick from Xavier can play all four infield positions.
Kelvin Melean– .683 OPS (.259/.336/.347) Single-A Lake Elsinore
This Venezuelan native has been in the system for four years producing a .666 OPS in 285 games. There is not much power in the right-handed swing. He shows abilities around the diamond but has shaking numbers at third base throughout his career.
Yerry Landinez– .614 OPS (.196/.307/.307) AZL Padres
Switch-hitting Landinez shows a decent bat, but he has yet to produce for San Diego. The soon-to-be 20-year-old Venezuelan has plus power but has struck out 98 times in 217 at-bats in the minors. He looks to be a natural at the hot corner moving forward if he can rectify his swing from both sides of the plate. The right-handed swing is better, but there are some issues still.