The San Diego Padres acquired this young man from the Toronto Blue Jays for Melvin Upton Jr. last year. The 20-year-old is 6′ 2″ and has a nasty fastball. Problem is that he doesn’t always know where it is going. He is making progress though. He throws a mid 90’s fastball with nasty sinking action to it. Rodriguez has a change and a curve, but both need to be improved upon. The main issue with his off-speed stuff is he has issues repeating his delivery. His arm slot can get all over the place and thus his location varies. He has plenty of time to develop, and he is currently in Fort Wayne and a member of their bullpen.
39- Justin Lopez
Justin Lopez was signed by A.J. Preller and company this past season for $1.2 million dollars. The shortstop is very raw, but has a high ceiling. He has broad shoulders and a move off of short could be in order for him in time. In fact, he has been playing a lot of third base recently. Lopez has quick hands and is very explosive with his movements. The power has yet to develop in his left-handed swing, but there are indications that he will get bigger and stronger in time. At 17, he is a very high risk player, as his floor is unfortunately very low.
This 17-year-old shortstop was signed by the team for $1 million dollars this past year. He is a runner with elite speed. Barley was clocked at 6.4 seconds in the 60-yard dash and should be a constant stolen base threat. He has excellent arm strength and is considered a great athlete. It remains to be seen if he sticks at short. He could be moved to center field if the bat dictates the move. He has played a lot of second base, but his arm is too strong for that position. He has a lot of upside, but there is risk with this young man. The right-handed hitter needs help with his swing, but is really young.
37- Eguy Rosario
A 17-year-old playing in Fort Wayne deserves recognition. He was far and away the youngest player to start the season in the Midwest League and has performed well despite playing against players that have way more experience. He has struggled a bit, but being in that league at his age will only benefit him in the future. He is small (5″ 9″), but constantly smokes balls from the right-handed batter’s box. He has excellent bat speed and the ability to use the whole field with his swing.
36- Ronald Bolanos
This Cuban pitcher is pretty polished and should be able to have success at the professional level. He is 20 currently, and was signed for $2.25 million this signing period. The 6′ 3″ right-handed hurler can top out at 96 mph, but sits comfortably at 92-94. He throws a slider, curve, and a change as well. Bolanos held a 4.89 ERA in Cuba pitching for Mayabeque in the Serie Nacional. The former outfielder has decent control and projects as a mid-rotation starter for the Friars.
35- Brad Wieck
I really enjoy this left-handed pitcher. He is a joy to talk to and he really gets it. Unfortunately for him, the Padres are currently stacked with left-handed relief options. In previous years where the team had no left-handed pitchers in the pen, he would have surely gotten an opportunity by now. Wieck is 6′ 9″ and comes at you with a funky motion. He is very tough on left-handed hitters, but equally effective against righties. He was acquired from the New York Mets in 2015 for Alex Torres, and the Padres surely got the best of the deal. At 25, Wieck is seemingly ready for major league service time. He should see a call-up fairly soon, especially if the Padres deal Brad Hand and/or Ryan Buchter.
34- Luis Campusano
The Padres surprised the baseball world a bit when they drafted this catcher out of high school. He is the son of a former major league catching prospect, and he has all the intangibles to stay at the position. There are reports that his leadership skills are off the charts as he constantly mentored young players around him. There is no doubt he will stay at the catching position as he has great receiving skills and a plus arm. The bat is progressing, though he has already shown he will have the ability to hit for power. He will need time to develop his swing, but Capusano has great upside and an even better floor.
33- Tirso Ornelas
This young man out of Mexico is really exciting to watch with the bat. He was signed for $1.5 million dollars from the Mexico City Reds. The Tijuana native has local ties and we will all hear about them as soon as he starts to make his way into professional games. The 6′ 3″ left-handed outfielder has a very smooth swing in which he slashes line drives from gap to gap. The power will develop, as he always has showcased it to some degree on the back fields in Arizona. He is a very solid defender and of all the Padres’ prospects, he has one of the best floors. He should be able to progress rather quickly as he already has some pro experience and is a well-rounded young man.
32- Gabriel Arias
One of the smoothest defenders of all the young shortstops is this young man. Arias was signed for $1.9 million, and at 17, has a great ceiling. The right-handed hitter has a decent swing and is not regarded as a defense-only player. His swing is short and compact and he could eventually hit for power. His stride at the plate is short, but Arias can tend to not be aggressive enough and often misses his pitch by not swinging at it. He needs a better approach at the plate and that will come with time and advanced coaching. He has a very bright future and should be able to make a mark in the Padres’ system.
At 21, De Los Santos is in San Antonio and performing admirably. He is not close to being ready, but the big, right-handed pitcher is making progress. He was obtained from the Mariners in the Joaquin Benoit deal. His fastball is 93-96 with great downward movement. He is not a strikeout pitcher, at least not yet, but does get a ton of ground balls when he is on. His secondary needs to improve currently. His change is serviceable, but the spin on his curve needs to be refined. His control can leave him from time to time as well, and that is probably what is limiting his cultivation the most. He could be an end of the rotation starter, or a bullpen piece in the future.
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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.