20- Austin Allen Age- 23.2 121 games/463 games (.283/.353/.497) .849 OPS (44 BB/109 K)
The man can hit. There will never be a debate about whether or not he can swing the bat. The issue is, and always will be, with his defense. He must be tired of hearing about it as that is what everyone first talks about when discussing the young backstop. He tore up the hitter-friendly California League, but never got the promotion to Double-A. With a potentially young, dominant rotation in the minors, you have to wonder how concerned the team is about getting defensive-minded catchers behind the dish. At 23, Allen should be promoted to Double-A and Triple-A soon. The team might eventually give him more at bats at first in an effort to keep his bat in the lineup. If Allen can turn into an average defender, he has the ability to be an all-star. He has work to do in that regard, though.
19- Jeisson Rosario Age- 18 52 games/182 at bats (.299/.404/.369) .773 OPS (33 BB/36 K)
This young outfielder has excellent plate discipline, but there are reports the team wants him to be more aggressive with the bat. At the age of 17, he recorded a .404 OBP in the AZL, which is quite impressive. He has extremely quick hands and can barrel up balls on both sides of the plate. The left-handed hitter has decent power already and should display more with more maturity and as he fills out physically. He has decent speed and an above-average arm and could see some time in center field this coming season. He might eventually move to a corner spot as he gets older, but has the bat to be productive there. He has the floor of a fourth outfielder and the ceiling of an all-star major league outfielder. His growth in 2018 will be exciting to see as Rosario gives the Padres a legit left-handed bat in the lower minor league system.
18- Chris Paddack Age- 21.8 DNP
An elbow injury sidelined Paddack after he was acquired last season from the Marlins for Fernando Rodney. The right-handed pitcher has arguably the best changeup in the system and can also spot his 92-94 mph fastball on each corner of the plate. Paddack also features a curve which looked better in 2016 before he went down with his elbow issue. He has excellent size (6′ 4″) for a pitcher and his mechanics are not horrible. The Padres have full reason to believe that Paddack will be back at full strength in 2018. He will be monitored though, as the team will want to make sure the elbow is fine. Expect Paddack to start in Fort Wayne when he is up to it.
17- Gabriel Arias Age- 17.2 53 games/ 215 at bats (.265/.312/.326) .637 OPS (12 BB/67 K)
Last season at the Futures Game, the Padres International Scouting Director, Chris Kemp, and I had a conversation. I asked him about the recently signed class and he raved about Gabe Arias and his future with the club. The defensive-minded shortstop is the best young shortstop as far as defense goes in the minor league system. He is smooth with his actions and has a great arm and plus range. He made his debut this season in Fort Wayne at the age of 17 and was serviceable. He hit .242 in 62 at bats and showed that he has the ability to play at that level in 2018. The right-handed hitter has good size in his lower half and could ultimately develop some power. He has little power currently.
16- Jacob Nix Age- 21.8 (5-5) 4.67 ERA/1.37 WHIP 94 IP/19BB/73 K
This right-hander had an impressive year as far as development. The numbers do not reflect his growth, but he was able to pitch in three different levels and started the Padres On Deck game on Saturday, September 30. Nix has one of the best curve balls in the system. The pitch has great depth and has emerged as a strikeout pitch. His fastball has been clocked as high as 97 and he has a productive change. The third pitch does need some work though. He has proven to be quite durable and should start the season in San Antonio. A 2018 showing is not completely out of the question for this young man. Nix is a character in the club house and enjoys keeping his teammates loose.
15- Esteury Ruiz Age- 18.6 52 games/ 206 at bats (.350/.395/.602) .997 OPS (13 BB/54 K)
An absolutely great grab by the Padres and A.J. Preller was this young Dominican infielder. He was acquired from the Royals in the Mauer, Cahill, Buchter package and could be the best player in the deal when it is all said and done. His .997 OPS was certainly impressive. Ruiz has excellent speed as he stole 26 bases last year in 52 games. His power is also legit and you get many comparisons of him and Alfonso Soriano. Like Soriano, Ruiz is a little stiff at second. Defense will probably not be his forte, but with the way he swings the bat, the Padres will have no trouble advancing him through the system.
14- Hudson Potts Age- 18.9 125 games/491 at bats (.253/.293/.438) .731 OPS (23 BB/140 K)
Potts slugged 20 homers this season in Fort Wayne. Power was not supposed to be a great asset for him, so the Padres were certainly happy with his production in that category. At 18, he has great skill and has developed well for the team. The #24 overall pick in the 2016 draft struck out 140 times in 491 at bats, while only walking 23 times. The Padres like that he is aggressive, but they want him to stay within himself as he moves up the system. He has shown ability at third and that looks to be his position moving forward. The right-handed hitter might repeat the Mid West League, but could also start in Lake Elsinore.
13- Eric Lauer Age- 22.3 (6-8) 3.30 ERA/1.25 WHIP 122.2 IP/36 BB/132 K
The left-hander out of Kent State progressed very nicely in his first full year of professional baseball. Lauer was able to get past some rough starts in Double-A to finish the season off with six consecutive starts, allowing only one earned run or fewer. His strikeout numbers plummeted in Texas, but he was able to maintain his impeccable control while pitching for the Missions. He has great poise on the mound and commands the strike zone traditionally. He could make a run at a rotation spot at some point in 2018 if everything breaks right. Lauer has a very high floor. He will pitch in the majors at some point in his career.
12- Franchy Cordero Age- 23.1 93 games/390 at bats (.326/.369/.603) .972 OPS (23 BB/118 K)
The more you see of this young man, the more he impresses you. His speed is phenomenal, and he has turned into an above-average outfielder. He is more than capable of playing center and his left-handed swing is really coming along as well. Cordero had some memorable moments as a Padre this year and did not look overmatched mentally on the field. He did have trouble making contact though, striking out 44 times in 92 at bats. Franchy produced a 0.2 WAR in that time, so there are positives to his game even if he does swing and miss too much currently. He could see plenty of action in 2018 with the Padres in left field or even as a center fielder when Margot needs a day off. He has easily surpassed Travis Jankowski on the outfield depth chart. He barely qualifies as a rookie and will not be eligible for this list next time around.
11- Logan Allen Age- 20.4 (7-4) 2.95 ERA/1.224 WHIP 125 IP/44 BB/ 142 K
With all the intangibles to succeed, this left-handed pitcher is certainly going to make further strides in 2018. Allen was promoted midway through the season and was able to sustain success in the more hitter-friendly California League. He went 2-5 in Lake Elsinore while recording a 3.97 ERA there. He was working on a split-change this season which increased his strikeout totals. The left-handed hurler reached 125 innings pitched on the season and looks poised to once again throw 120 plus innings for the Padres in 2018.
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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.