80- Austin Smith Age-21.3 (3-3) 6.12 ERA/1.575 WHIP 60 IP/39 BB/57 K
A.J. Preller’s first ever draft selection was this young man with the 51st selection in the 2015 draft. He was a hard-throwing prep athlete with a great body for pitching. Smith regularly sits in the mid 90’s with his fastball and has serviceable breaking pitches, but he has been hit hard since he was drafted. In his career, he has struck out 131 batters in 168 innings pitched, but has also walked 94 in that time. He was demoted to Tri-City late in the year, where he recorded two saves for the team, but recorded a 5.14 ERA and a 1.476 WHIP. He is still 20 and the talent is there, but he needs to really look deep if he wants to pitch in the major leagues some day.
79- Kelvin Melean Age-19.1 59 games/231 at bats (.229/.311/.260) .570 OPS (26 BB/47 K)
The Padres are really stocked with young infielders, and Melean is another one to add to the list. The 19-year-old made it to Tri-City this year, where he was a bit overmatched with the older talent. He played second base, third base, and shortstop for the team and made 15 errors in 513 innings. He looks a bit stiff. Shortstop will not be likely for him, but he could eventually be a serviceable utility option. The right-handed hitter has a lot to go with his swing still.
78- Ronald Bolanos Age-21.2 (5-2) 4.41 ERA/1.428 WHIP 69 IP/34 BB/51 K
This Cuban right-handed hurler has some real potential, but needs to harness his control issues. He was signed for $2.2 million dollars during the 2016-17 international spending spree. He has a mid 90’s fastball with a decent assortment of off-speed pitches. The former outfielder in the Cuban leagues is raw though, and needs to rectify his mechanical issues.
77- Elliot Ashbeck Age-23.8 (1-1) 0.98 ERA/0.709 WHIP 18 IP/2 BB/24 K
Drafted out of Bradley University with the team’s 16th round draft pick in 2015, this young hurler had Tommy John surgery and is working his way back into form. 2018 could be a huge year for him as he has excellent numbers. Ashbeck owns a career 2.11 ERA in his 68 minor league innings.
76- Nick Torres Age-24.3 119 games/439 at bats (.277/.319/.394) .713 OPS (24 BB/108 K)
The Padres are presently stacked with young outfielders. Michael Gettys, Buddy Reed, Jorge Ona, Tirso Ornelas, Jeisson Rosario, and company provide a great future for the Padres. Torres was drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 draft out of Cal Poly. Torres does everything in the game well, but still has not taken the extra step with his bat necessary for success at the higher levels. He is a career .287 in 1,600 minor league at bats, but has only hit 31 homers and produced a .420 slugging percentage. He spent the whole year in San Antonio, where he was solid, but totally unspectacular. His future in the system is cloudy as the aforementioned youngsters are quickly on his heels.
75- Omar Fernandez Age-18.5 (3-2) 7.75 ERA/1.893 WHIP 40 IP/22 BB/31 K
A native of Venezuela, Omar Fernandez is a name worth stashing in the back of your mind. He is not a hard thrower, but has shown some ability at a young age. He is very undersized (5′ 11″), but that should not be an issue as he has a relatively clean motion. At the age of 17, in the DSL, he was 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA and a 0.742 WHIP in 59 innings pitched and 12 starts. The AZL was not as kind to this young man, but he still made 10 starts for the Friars in the desert.
74-Dauris Valdez Age-21.9 (1-2) 3.67 ERA/1.136 WHIP 34 IP/12 BB/45 K
At 22, Valdez is now beginning to show his ability on the mound. The big right-hander (6′ 8″) has an upper 90’s fastball, but has trouble repeating his mechanics with the off-speed pitch. He is a strike thrower generally, so a move to the bullpen permanently could be in his future. He has thrown a lot in relief, but has yet to record a save as a professional. Valdez performed well in Fort Wayne (0-1 2.38 ERA in 11.1 IP), so he will probably repeat his time there, or perhaps start in Lake Elsinore if he has a decent spring showing.
73- Olivier Basabe Age-20.4 42 games/162 at bats (.272/.348/.389) .737 OPS (14 BB/24 K)
In 2017, the Padres selected this man with their 8th-round pick out of Faulkner University. The Venezuelan native went to college in the States to further his professional career, and that speaks volumes towards his commitment to the sport. Coming out of his South American country to college in the States had to be difficult. The infielder/outfielder has the ability to play shortstop, second base, and left field. He played 156 innings at short and made six errors, resulting in a .932 fielding percentage. The right-handed hitter makes decent contact and will take a walk. He has a pretty nice floor at this point.
72- Angel Solarte Age-16 DNP
Toolsy center field prospect Angel Solart makes this list despite only being 16. He was signed in the 2017 international signing period and will likely play in the DSL this coming year. He is raw, but projects as a very powerful right-handed hitter. He has an excellent arm, great speed, and could remain in center long-term. This young man will definitely climb this list and has a very good chance at being a top-30 prospect for the Padres one day.
71- Lake Bachar Age-22.4 (5-1) 3.38 ERA/1.066 WHIP 50 IP/14 BB/47 K
The Padres selected this right-handed pitcher with their 5th-round selection in the 2016 draft out of University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. He has decent size (6′ 3″) and repeatable mechanics and is an excellent athlete. His throws in the low to mid 90’s with three off-speed pitches. His curve and slider are serviceable, but still need to be refined. The change is a work in progress, but has some potential. He should begin 2018 in the rotation for the Fort Wayne TinCaps.
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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.