It’s been ten years, a whole decade, since the San Diego Padres made an appearance in the postseason. For us Padres fans, it’s been a very long stretch. We’ve seen good players come to San Diego only to be traded. We’ve seen disasters, and we’ve even seen some pretty bad baseball. The question then becomes: When will the Padres make the postseason and bring the love of baseball back to San Diego?
Throughout the 2015 offseason, the Padres made numerous trades in order to build a postseason contender. They traded for Wil Myers, Craig Kimbrel, Matt Kemp and Derek Norris. General Manager A.J. Preller also signed big name free agents Justin Upton and James Shields, going into full win now mode. The Padres traded away some of their top prospects in the Kimbrel and Myers trade, leaving the team with a somewhat depleted farm system.
How did the Padres do in 2015? They finished with a worse record than the previous season, and found themselves with a huge payroll. It was time for A.J. Preller to tear the team apart and go into a rebuild stage.
The two biggest trades the Padres made, however, came in July. Shortly after the all-star break, San Diego moved all-star Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox for 18-year-old Anderson Espinoza. The other trade the Padres were apart of was moving Melvin Upton Jr. to the Toronto Blue Jays for young prospect Hansel Rodriguez.
So, why am I telling you all these trades? Simple. The Padres clearly made these trades to gain prospects. Before this season started, San Diego’s farm system was not very strong. After the trades they’ve made so far, the Padres sit as the second strongest farm system in all of baseball (according to BA). The team has made good trades and have put themselves in great position for the future.
Who are these future Padres you might ask? How good are they? Let’s take a look at what the Padres starting lineup could look like in a few years.
Manuel Margot, Outfielder:
The Padres top offensive prospect right now is 21-year-old Manuel Margot from the Dominican Republic. In 95 games this year in Triple-A El Paso, Margot has posted a .305/.356/.428 stat line with four home runs and 38 RBI. Margot is an all around stud when it comes to the game of baseball. He has 17 doubles and 10 triples along with 121 hits showing that Margot hits for solid contact and power. He shows off his speed well as he has swiped 24 bags on the year. He’s probably the best pure outfielder in the minor leagues being able to cover a ton of ground with his incredible speed and athleticism. Margot will transition great into the major leagues due to his productive bat and stellar defense. Look for him to bat at the top of the Padres order for years to come and to someday become a star in the pros.
Alex Dickerson, Outfielder:
What may be the biggest surprise for the Padres farm system is left fielder Alex Dickerson. The 26-year-old left fielder has played excellent for the Padres in his little major league stint this year. In 34 games with the team, Dickerson has posted a .284/.330/.557 stat line with six home runs and 17 RBI. With Melvin Upton Jr. traded away to the Blue Jays, Dickerson will surely see increased production at the major league level in left field. The ball bounces off his bat fairly well and he surely has a ton of pop in his swing. He’s a pretty big guy at 6’3” and patrols the outfield well. With more swings and opportunities in the majors this year due to the rebuilding process, Dickerson will surely improve as a baseball player. Look for him to become a 20-25 home runs a year type of player and for the Padres to stick him in the four or five spot in the order.
Hunter Renfroe, Outfielder:
In 2013 the San Diego Padres selected Hunter Renfroe in the first round of the MLB draft. Renfroe was a talented, power hitting prospect out of Mississippi State and the Padres looked to transition him into the majors quickly. After struggling in the beginning of his minor league career it appears that in 2016, Renfroe has finally struck gold. He leads all of the PCL in home runs (26) and he’s also driven in 89 runs on the year. Don’t forget about his crazy good batting average (.320) and his high slugging percentage (.586). He’s hit 30 doubles in 104 games and shows his ability to hit the ball well with 139 hits. The only knock on Renfroe is this: he’s only walked 17 times and struck out 90 times. Renfroe is not a very patient hitter at the dish and he will need to improve that when he transitions to the major leagues. All in all however, he’s a very talented hitter that has tremendous upside to one day be a 30+ home run, 100+ RBI type of player. The Padres will stick him at the four spot in the order and with a talented group of players hitting in front of him, Renfroe is bound for success.
Luis Urias, Shortstop:
Signed out of Mexico in December of 2013, Urias has been an extremely productive hitter for Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm. This year in 91 games, Urias has posted a .325/.390/.441 stat line with five home runs 32 RBI to go along with 115 hits. He’s really solid at actually putting the ball in play shown by the fact that Urias has walked (30) almost as many times as he’s struck out (31). He’s got good speed in the field and decent range and although Urias is normally a second basemen, he’s shown promise that he can play shortstop. He’s the strongest candidate for a position that lacks strength in the Padres organization and if all works out well, Urias could be a bottom of the order guy who gives the team solid production.
Carlos Asuaje, Third Basemen:
Of all the talented hitting prospects the Padres have in their farm system, Carlos Asuaje may be one of their best pure hitters. In 103 games while playing for Triple A El Paso, Asuaje has dazzled. He’s putting up a solid stat line of .327/.385/.478 with 7 home runs and 56 RBIs, tagged along with 134 hits. Asuaje has the third highest batting average in the entire PCL and he ranks in the top ten in just about every single major offensive category. He lives in the gaps and brings a decent amount of pop from the left side of the plate for someone who is only 5’9”. His natural position is at second base but he has seen time at third base throughout his professional career which is why we believe the transition to third won’t be a problem. Asuaje has a solid arm and is a great fielder, making him a true all around threat on the diamond. The team will need his bat for years to come, so look for Asuaje to be one of the Padres most consistent threats in their lineup.
Ryan Schimpf, Second Basemen:
One of the two players in this article that are not currently in the Padres farm system, Schimpf has earned every little bit of playing time he has gotten. The 28-year-old rookie has finally made a name for himself in the big leagues after years upon years of playing in the minor leagues. The 5’8” Schimpf is known for one thing: POWER. Since 2011, Schimpf has blasted 20+ home runs in every year since then. He isn’t going to put up a stellar batting average (.225 so far in the majors) but Schimpf will add that extra pop to a lineup that everyone needs (nine home runs, eight doubles, two triples). With Cory Spangenberg constantly hurt and the Padres having a ton of versatile prospects, Schimpf has seemingly earned himself the spot at second base. Schimpf recently won the National League Rookie of the Month Honors in July, becoming the only Padres rookie to ever lead the MLB in home runs for a single month. Combined with his strong bat and hopefully an improved glove, Schimpf will continue to play himself into the Padres bright future.
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