San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects

Credit: Fastball Photo

Credit Jerry Espinoza

 

20- Jagger Haynes LHP  09/20/2002
Acquired: 2020 Draft- Fifth Round
Highest Level: Yet To Debut
2021 Stats: DNP

Past

Haynes is a bit of an enigma as there is not much to go on from him on the mound for the last few seasons. The pandemic destroyed his senior year, and elbow issues have clouded him since the Padres spent a 5th-round pick on the left-hander from North Carolina. He could easily be within the top-5 prospects in the system by season’s end, or he could be pushed further back on this list as he battles consistency and his first taste of pro ball.

Present

The 19-year-old has excellent size (6-foot-3) and throws very hard. His changeup is very serviceable, and the slider is not far behind that as far as effectiveness. The Padres are very confident that Haynes will remain a starting pitcher moving forward. The elbow woes are a slight concern, but hopefully, that was just a minor issue. The teenager will need to prove he is healthy early in spring to earn a spot on a full-season squad.

Future

Haynes will debut, health permitting, in Single-A during the 2022 season. The left-hander could be very serviceable at the top of a rotation in either Lake Elsinore or Fort Wayne. The Padres will take it slow with him, and it is expected that he begins the season in Arizona. The Padres may choose to have Haynes start slowly and end the season at full strength before he is shut down, reaching innings limitations that are put on each young pitcher.


 

19- Steven WilsonRHP  08/24/1994
Acquired: 2018 Draft- Eighth Round
Highest Level: Triple-A El Paso
2021 Stats: (4-0) 3.86 ERA/ 0.881 WHIP  42 IP/71 K

Past

Tommy John surgery sidelined this pitcher towards the end of his collegiate career, but he has prevailed nicely. Wilson probably could have debuted for the Padres in 2021, but it never happened. The right-handed pitcher enjoyed a decent year pitching in Texas, in notorious hitters leagues (Texas League and PCL League), posting a sub 4.00 ERA in 42 innings pitched. He is ready for major league action and has little else to prove in the minors.

Credit: AP Photo

Present

Wilson has closed the previous two seasons in the Dominican Winter Leagues for Escogido. The righty threw well, recording eight saves, a 1.11 ERA, and a 0.658 WHIP in 24.1 innings pitched. He has yet to earn a save in the States but is capable of pitching in that role if needed. His fastball touches 97 mph, and Wilson gets excellent movement on the pitch. The native of Colorado also throws a tight slider which generates swing and misses.

Future

The right-handed reliever provides a lot to like, and he will debut for the Padres at some point in the coming season. He throws hard and is really showing a much better feel for pitching. Wilson looks to be a solid middle reliever in the majors. Control and consistency will dictate just how long his major league career lasts. The Padres should get significant usage from Wilson, who might go up and down between San Diego and El Paso several times in 2022.

 

18- Kevin Kopps– RHP 03/02/1997
Acquired: 2021 Draft- Third Round
Highest Level: Double-A San Antonio
2021 Stats: (1-0) 0.61 ERA/ 0.750 WHIP  14.2 IP/22 K

Past

Selected in the 3rd-round out of the University of Arkansas, most thought Kopps was already ready for major league service time. The Golden Spikes winner in his senior season is armed with an impressive cut fastball. In his tenure at Arkansas, Kopps went from a starting pitcher into one of the best closers in the nation, recording 11 saves. He went 12-1 with a 0.90 ERA and struck out 131 batters in 89.2 innings pitched. The soon to be 25 year old lost one year of service time to Tommy John surgery in 2018.

Credit: MiLB TV

Present

Kopps does not throw hard topping out in the low 90’s with his fastball. Instead, it is the movement of the cutter and his plus command which gets batters out. The right-handed pitcher will need to continue to throw strikes and locate the pitch well to both sides of the plate. Kopps also features a changeup and curveball, but neither is considered a quality pitch for the hurler. Kopps is not blessed with huge size but makes the most out of his frame.

Future

The young pitcher will probably get a look this spring at the major league camp. If he showcases well there, he may be able to crack the opening day roster. Kopps will need plenty of luck for that to happen, but it isn’t inconceivable. Regardless of where he begins the year, the righty should debut at some point for the Padres in the coming season. The reliever has a major league pitch already, which will get batters out immediately. How he adjusts once hitters recognize the pitch will determine the length of his tenure in the majors. There is a lot to like here as Kpps brings pitching depth to the Padres bullpen.

 

17- Eguy Rosario INF  08/25/1999
Acquired: 2015 International Free Agent
Highest Level: Double-A San Antonio
2021 Stats: (.281/.360/.455)  .815 OPS

Past

This infielder has been with the team since 2015 and is starting to figure it out. His career in the minor started out well in 2016 as Rosario showed a plus eye at the plate immediately as a 16-year-old in the DSL. Rosario struggled in his next few seasons in the States but played much better last season. The right-handed swing is quick as Rosario has short arms and gets around on the ball inside very well. There is excellent speed with this infielder who owns 116 career minor league stolen bases, including 30 last year in San Antonio.

Credit: Padres

Present

Rosario played in the AZL this year and produced great numbers. The Dominican native seems on the verge of a breakout season in 2022. If the 22-year-old can refine his approach at the plate and swing at just strikes, his offensive numbers could increase again. There will never be much power from Rosario, but he does drive the ball into the gaps. The arm strength is real, though he lacks the footwork to play shortstop long term.

Future

The 2022 season will dictate if Rosario is indeed a real prospect. He could knock on the door for service time with a respectable showing at the beginning of the year. He projects as a super-utility type player in the majors if he can improve his bat slightly. Eguy is starting to mature as a player and seems poised to make a mark in baseball. He could have a decent major league career with a bit of luck.

 

16- Agustin RuizOF  09/23/1999
Acquired: 2016 International Free Agent
Highest Level: Double-A San Antonio
2021 Stats: (.234/.313/.429)  .742 OPS

Past

This 22-year0old outfielder has been in the system since the 2016-17 international signing period. While other players have debuted in the major league, Ruiz slowly blossomed and showed his worth, The left-handed bat is promising, but he is prone to bad stretches where his mechanics get all out of whack. The power really showed in 2021, thanks to a leg kick and mechanical adjustments. Hopefully, that is a sign of future things as Ruiz is inching closer to debuting in the majors.

Credit: TinCaps

Present

He will start in Texas (either San Antonio or El Paso) and could debut with the Padres in 2022 if the team needs a left-handed power bat. You get the feeling that Ruiz is just a late-bloomer, and once he figures it out, he will be a viable young player in the game. The eye at the plate is good, though Ruiz does strike out a lot at the plate. He K’s 135 times last year in 415 at-bats. Much of that comes from those bad stretches that he gets himself into in the box. Defensively, he is adequate with a plus arm in the outfield.

Future

Ruiz is capable of breaking out in 2022, and he is also capable of not making it out of San Antonio for the coming season. He is a high ceiling but low floor prospect who needs to continue adjusting. The good news for the Padres is that he shows signs of breaking out as his home run numbers increased dramatically in 2021. Ruiz may not be a well-known prospect just yet- but 2022 could be the season he comes on the radar,

 

15- Justin Lange– RHP 09/11/2001
Acquired: 2020 Draft- Collective Bargain Pick (34) 
Highest Level: ACL Rookie League
2021 Stats: (0-3) 6.95 ERA/1.500 WHIP  22 IP/29 K

Past

Blessed with a triple-digit fastball, Lange never had to rely much on secondary pitches in high school. The Padres drafted Lange early in the 2020 draft, and the power pitcher is starting to show promise with his secondary selections. The Padres realize that Lange is an exceptional talent capable of going far in the game of baseball. The command of his mechanics is an early concern for Lange, who walked 15 batters last year in 22 innings pitched at the ACL Rookie Ball level.

Credit: Jerry Espinoza

Present

Lange can throw 100 mph, but professional hitters can and will time a sturdy fastball. His power slider is coming along really well, and the right-hander also features a changeup that is a work in progress. The bottom line for this pitcher will be locating his fastball. If he can improve his mechanics and become efficient with his pitches, there is huge upside here. Presently Lange throws from a low arm slot, and that is a slight concern. It is unknown if the Padres will try to adjust that moving forward.

Future

At 20, Lange has plenty of time to develop and get better with further professional coaching. The upside is high and his arm is special. The 6-foot-4 pitcher has an excellent body for pitching and an athletic feel for his position. Lange will likely start the year in Lake Elsinore and could be a pitcher to keep an eye on in 2022. The idea is for him to remain a starting pitcher, but there are some questions if his command and secondary will limit that in the upper minors. Only time will tell.

 

14- Robert GasserLHP  05/31/1999
Acquired: 2021 Draft- Collective Bargain Pick (71)
Highest Level: Low Single-A Lake Elsinore
2021 Stats: (0-0) 1.20 ERA/ 0.867 WHIP  15 IP/14 K

Past

This left-handed pitcher virtually came out of nowhere to be the No. 71 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft out of Houston. He made several stops in his amateur career as Gasser pitched at New Mexico, a California junior college (Delta JC), and Houston. His 2021 year saw him impress scouts with a mid 90 mph fastball and a plus slider. Gasser also shows a great feel for the changeup and could eventually throw three above-average pitches.

Credit: MiLB TV

Present

At 22, there is a lot to like about Gasser, who was impressive in the California League last year. He pounds the zone and shows great maturity and poise on the mound. The mechanics are repeatable and deliberate. The arm speed is free, and you get a sense that he is only scratching his potential. Gasser is not overly big at 6-foot-1, but he does display a big presence on the mound that cannot be taught. In addition, his composure on the rubber is impressive.

Future

The southpaw will likely start the year in Single-A Lake Elsinore, but a jump to the Midwest League is not out of the question. The Padres may want to challenge the young pitcher, and a step up to Fort Wayne will likely be a big test for Gasser. The Padres see a mid-rotation starter from Gasser, but it remains to be seen if he can stick in the rotation long term. The velocity will need to continue to rise, and he must be consistent with his secondary pitches to advance as a starter. Plenty to like here as Gasser is capable of breaking out in 2022.

 

13- Samuel ZavalaOF  07/15/2004
Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent
Highest Level: DSL League
2021 Stats: (.297/.400/.487)  .887 OPS

Past

Outfielder Samuel Zavala is 17 and making a name for himself in the Padres system with an impressive skill set. The swing is really fluid and impressive for a teenager. He generates power well and uses the whole field effectively enough to be a plus offensive threat when it is all said and done. There are Carlos Gonzalez comparisons attached to this young hitter. The Venezuelan talent is a name to monitor in 2022 as he may start his career in the States.

Credit: YouTube

Present

There is a chance is begins 2022 in the DSL again, but you must figure he ends up in Arizona at some point in 2022 and training with the Padres. Zavala shows power already and could be a five-tool threat when he starts to really develop physically. His 6-foot-1 frame is wiry, and there is room for more muscle. The defense is not overly impressive where he needs work in reading and recognizing fly balls. The arm strength is above average, and he has plenty of tools with his glove. Don’t worry about the defense.

Future

There is a lot of room for him to get better. The floor is pretty solid as Zavala owns a great swing and shows a plus eye at the plate. He is capable of playing center but will need to improve the defense to be truly considered a centerfielder. There is time for him to improve, as early indications are that Zavala is a hard worker and a leader on the field. The Padres feel they have a potential superstar here, and they may be right.

 

12- Brandon ValenzuelaC  10/02/2000
Acquired: 2018 International Free Agent
Highest Level: High Single-A Fort Wayne
2021 Stats: (.299/.393/.429) .821 OPS

Past

Switch-hitting catchers are a rare find, and Valenzuela is far more than just a bat. He gets high grades for his receiving skills as the catcher shows great maturity for his age. Valenzuela calls a great game and is blessed with an above-average arm. Pitchers rave about throwing to the Mexican catcher who just turned 21. Last year, he emerged in Lake Elsinore and was promoted to Fort Wayne towards the end of the season. The bat struggled slightly in the Midwest League as Valenzuela faced older competition.

Credit: Valley News

Present

Quickly emerging as one of the Padres’ best prospects, there is a lot to like about Valenzuela. The Mexican backstop is a leader with a high baseball IQ and a love for the game. The left-handed swing is a little better presently, but Valenzuela battles right-handed and is a true switch-hitter. The power is not showing as of yet, but the thought process is that he will develop good power in time as he adds muscle to his 6-foot frame.

Future

Some believe Valenzuela will be an adequate backup at the major league level. However, there is slightly more upside to his game than that. If he can continue to make adjustments with his swing, the backstop could be very serviceable at the game’s highest level. Valenzuela should begin the season with the TinCaps and could make the jump to Double-A if everything breaks well for him at the beginning of the coming season.

 

11- Reggie LawsonRHP  08/02/1997
Acquired: 2016 Draft- CBB
Highest Level: Double-A San Antonio
2021 Stats: (0-2) 9.45 ERA/1.950 WHIP  6.2 IP/9 K

Past

The 71st pick in the 2016 Draft out of Victorville in California, Lawson recovered from Tommy John surgery and should be a full strength in 2022. In 2018, for the Storm in the California League, Lawson went 8-5 with a 4.69 ERA in 24 games and 22 starts. He struck out 117 batters in 117 innings pitched and showed flashes of breaking out for the Friars. Unfortunately, his 2019 season was brief, and the right-hander eventually underwent surgery in 2020.

Credit: Getty Images

Present

Lawson returned to the mound late last season but was still working on returning to form. The notoriously hard worker established a goal of making it back to the mound in 2021, and he accomplished that feat. His fastball sits in the mid to upper 90’s, and he also spins an effective curveball and a serviceable changeup. There is no doubt that he can remain as a starter moving forward. If he can gain consistency and stay healthy, Lawson has a mid-rotation potential.

Future

There is a strong dedication to his craft with this young pitcher. At 24, Lawson is primed to break out and emerge for the Padres. Lawson could be poised to make his major league debut in 2022 with the Padres with a strong spring camp. He may start the season in Double-A or Triple-A, but the right-hander will be only a phone call away. Lawson will need to limit his wildness and command his pitches effectively to emerge as a factor for the Padres.

 

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James Clark
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.
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