San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects

Credit: Fastball Photo

Credit: TinCaps

10- Victor AcostaINF 06/10/2004
Acquired: 2021 International Free Agent
Highest Level: DSL League
2021 Stats: (.285/.431/.484) .915 OPS

Past

At 17, there is a ton of hype for this young infielder, and rightfully so, as he signed for $1.8 million out of the D.R in 2020. The switch-hitter showed well at the DSL level, producing a .915 OPS in 186 at-bats. He struck out 45 times in 186 at-bats, so there will need to be some adjusting to his approach at the plate. Acosta should be a very good hitter at the minor league level with quick hands and natural leverage in his swing.

Present

Defensively, he shows great range and a plus arm at the shortstop position. The feeling is that he will remain at shortstop moving forward. The tool are there for Acosta to be a force and someone to keep a close eye on. He is presently 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds and could blossom in the coming years with his size. Power may not be his forte just yet, but the feeling is muscle will be added to his frame in the coming seasons. Hopefully, power comes with that.

Future

Projected to be a potential top-100 prospect, Victor Acosta has a terrific ceiling and a high floor. He will still be 17 at the beginning of next year, so it remains to be seen if he will start his career in the States in 2022. The Padres have started some international teenagers in Arizona, so it is not out of the question that he begins the coming season in the States. With a five-tool player, quick development is expected. The coming season will give us a better idea of where Acosta is value-wise.


 

9- Ethan ElliottLHP 04/28/1997
Acquired: 2019 Draft- 1oth Round 
Highest Level: Double-A San Antonio
2021 Stats: (2-2) 3.06 ERA/1.104 WHIP  70.2 IP/87 K

Past

Drafted out of a Division II school in Tennesee, Elliott is an interesting pitcher. He recorded a 2.23 ERA, 134 strikeouts, and walked only 14 batters in over 92 innings in college. The funky lefty began his career with the Padres in Tri-City, posting a 1.77 ERA in 12 games and 35 innings pitched. Elliott throws strikes and attacks hitters with a stout fastball and slider combination. His changeup is a plus pitch as he gets an excellent run on the selection.

Present

In 2021, Elliott started in Fort Wayne, recording a 2.95 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP in 58 innings pitched. The southpaw was promoted to Double-A and put up a 3.55 ERA in three starts for the Missions. Elliott uses the most out of his 6-foot-3 frame and gets excellent extension off the mound. He throws across his body and is not a comfortable at-bat for batters from either side of the plate. A sleeper selection, Ethan Elliott is one of the best pitchers in the Padres system.

Future

There is a chance that Ethan Elliott toes the rubber for the Padres sometime this coming season. It would take a lot for this to happen, but the lefty will be 25 next year and is definitely ready in terms of maturity. There is a chance he remains in the rotation at the major league level, but Elliott has a funkiness to him that would play well out of the bullpen as well. There is a decent floor with Elliott, who should eventually make his way to the major leagues.

 

8- Jackson MerrillSS  04/19/2003
Acquired: 2021 Draft- First Round
Highest Level: ACL Rookie League
2021 Stats: (.280/.339/.383) .722 OPS

Past

Credit: Fastball Photo

The Padres made a surprise selection when they took this left-handed hitter out of a Maryland high school. Merrill was not considered a top pick before the 2021 season but came onto the radar just before the MLB Draft. The shortstop is smooth and shows enough arm strength to continue at the position. His swing is fluid, and Merrill shows decent bat speed and an ability to spray the ball from foul pole to foul pole. At 6-foot-3, Merrill possesses excellent size though power is not expected to be a bonus from his bat.

Present

There are some concerns about explosiveness and overall footspeed. Reports indicate that Merrill is attempting to gain quickness to improve his game. He showcased a decent bat in his first taste of professional baseball this past summer. Merrill struck out 27 times on 107 at-bats, and that is a slight issue that needs to be resolved. His bat has not much power, so the infielder must make more consistent contact.

Future

Merrill should begin the 2022 season in Lake Elsinore with the Storm. The Padres will want to see a little bit more power from his bat and also an ability to make better contact. The first-round pick in 2021 might take some time to adjust to full-season ball, but there is a lot to like about his upside. Merrill could be a dangerous hitter if coaches can unlock something in his swing. The size and strength are there, but he lacks the ability to use leverage in his swing. It may take time, but the Padres will be patient.

 

7- Euribiel AngelesINF  05/11/2002
Acquired: 2018 International Free Agent
Highest Level: High Single-A Fort Wayne
2021 Stats: (.329/.392/.445) .837 OPS

Past

This Dominican infielder has done nothing but hit since he first signed with the Padres in 2018 as a 16-year-old. The right-handed hitter is not blessed with size, but he does possess a quick bat and the ability to square up the baseball. The Padres are getting their money’s worth from Angeles, who was signed for $300,000. In his first taste of professional baseball, Angeles recorded a .734 OPS and a .301/.359/.376 batting line in 173 at-bats at the DSL level in 2019.

Credit: Storm

Present

In the Arizona Complex League that is currently taking place, Angeles continues to show a knack for hitting the baseball hard. In 2021 at Lake Elsinore, Angeles put up a .858 OPS and earned a promotion to the Midwest League. The infielder struggled a bit in Fort Wayne, hitting .264 in 72 at-bats to end the season. Angeles is not going to wow you with his skill set, but he does do multiple things well. There is flexibility in his defense as he can play all over the infield.

Future

Angeles will probably start the year back in Fort Wayne, but a promotion to San Antonio during the 2022 season is not out of the question. There is a lot to like about how he plays the game. Power will never be a big trait for Angeles, but he will produce doubles and triples at higher levels and beyond. The right-handed hitter has good speed but is not considered a speed-burner by any stretch of the imagination. This ranking might be high, but Angeles is not someone to sleep on.

 

6- James WoodOF  09/17/2002
Acquired: 2021 Draft- Second Round
Highest Level: ACL Rookie League
2021 Stats: (.372/.465/.535) 1.000 OPS 

Past

Credit: Fastball Photo

Wood is an impressive physical specimen at 6-foot-7 and 240 lbs. With that kind of size, power is indeed a plus trait for him on the baseball field. The two-sport athlete (basketball) moved from Maryland to attend the IMG Academy in Florida his senior year. The bat is a question mark as Wood battles through a big strike zone and some mechanical issues. The left-handed hitter is learning to use his whole body more as he generally muscles balls with his upper half. He has plus arm strength and pretty solid speed for a man of his size. The Padres paid twice his slot value at $2.6 million, but in the end, it could turn out to be a great deal for the Padres.

Present

Recording a 1.000 OPS and a .372 batting average in his first taste of professional baseball is a pleasant surprise for the Padres. Most expected Wood to struggle immediately, but instead, he showcased his power and a great ability to use the whole field. Wood also played centerfield in Arizona, featuring great instincts for the position. He may be too big for the position long-term, but the fact he has the athleticism to play the position now is great for his overall abilities. In 86 at-bats, the slugger did strike out 32 times. Like most power hitters, the strikeouts are just part of his game.

Future

Expect Wood to start the 2022 campaign in the California League. He will be 19 for most of the coming season, so playing in Lake Elsinore should be an adequate challenge for this young slugger. The right-handed thrower will surprise some scouts with his abilities in the outfield. Most will assume that he is just a bat and provides no defensive abilities. There is a very high ceiling here as Wood could emerge with improved bat discipline. The early signs are very positive for this young player who comes from an athletic family.

 

5- Joshua MearsOF  02/16/2001
Acquired: 2019 Draft- Second Round

Highest Level: Low Single-A Lake Elsinore
2021 Stats: (.244/.368/.529) .897 OPS

Past

Mears was not talked about in high school like most potential draft picks in 2019. It took a monster senior year for him to come onto the radar of baseball scouts. The power is unreal with Mears, who easily flips the ball over the fence with brute strength. His power potential is real, but there are some concerns with his overall swing and approach at the plate. As an 18-year-old, he recorded seven homers in 2019 for the Padres AZL team in just 166 at-bats, but also struck out 59 times. The swing is a work in progress as Mears can get into bad funks at the plate for stretches.

Credit: Tacoma News

Present

When Joshua Mears is locked onto the baseball, he demolishes it. The power will always be his calling card. Defensively, there are some concerns with this outfielder. It is entirely too early to proclaim Mears as a DH only, but he really does need to improve in route-running and reading the ball off the bat. His arm strength is not an issue, but he often does not put his lanky body in a good position to make a quality throw. Mears will likely begin the 2022 season in Fort Wayne after spending the entire 2021 season in Lake Elsinore.

Future

The young slugger will be 21 next baseball season, and the potential is there for him to become way better at the game. Mears already hits the ball harder than most hitters around him. It will just take some mechanical refinements for him to continue to make contact. There is a lot of swing-and-miss in his approach, and that will always be a part of his mechanics. If the Padres can get some result from Mears, he could be a solid major leaguer. His floor is not as high as most prospects this highly-regarded, and that is just because there is some risk with the swing. The next few years and how he handles higher-velocity at the upper minor league level will dictate his true value. 2022 will give us a better idea of who Joshua Mears really is int he game of baseball.

 

4- Luis CampusanoC  09/29/1998
Acquired: 2017 Draft- Second Round
Highest Level: Major Leagues
2021 Stats: (.295/.365/.541) .906 OPS

Past 

A marijuana possession charge from October of 2020 did not hinder this prospect in 2021 as Campusane debuted with the Padres and showed increased skill at the Triple-A level. The charge was eventually dropped by prosecutors, but some considered this a red flag. The Padres selected Campusano in 2017 as the first catcher drafted that summer. The right-handed hitter has always been considered an offensive catcher, but he is beginning to show signs of improvement with the defense. His 2021 season included 11 games and 34 at-bats for the Padres. The 23-year-old is still very young as far as catchers traditionally go, and his immaturity shows from time to time.

Photo: Jorge Salgado

Present

Campusano hit well in El Paso, posting a .906 OPS in 292 at-bats. The catcher is arguably ready for service time now, but the Padres may be hesitant to hand him the job just yet. The concern is with his handling of pitchers and his defensive woes. The Padres do not expect Gold-Glove caliber defense from Campusano, but he needs to be able to handle a staff and learn the nuances of the game at the highest level. Catching needs to be his number one priority and what he produces with the bat is only a bonus. If the Padres can get through to Campusano in that regard, he has the skills to be an All-Star catcher for years to come.

Future

The Padres still are committed to Austin Nola, but you get a sense that Campusano is one hot-streak with the bat from taking the job permanently. The right-handed swing is legitimate. The catcher generates a lot of bat speed, and the ball seems to jump off his bat. The power tool is developing, but he will not be a huge power threat at the major league level. His swing is made to generate contact, and he generally does that using the whole field. There is a lot to be excited about in regards to Campusano. The skill is there for him to easily be an everyday catcher in the major league for several seasons.

 

3- Robert Hassell III- OF 08/15/2001
Acquired: 2020 Draft- First Round
Highest Level: High Sigle-A Fort Wayne
2021 Stats: (.302/.393/.470) .863 OPS

Past 

Hassell was the first high school player drafted in 2020 (8th overall) and has not disappointed in his time as a professional. The Padres saw how well he handled the bat in the summer of 2020, as Hassell impressed many at the alternate training site. The left-handed swing is smooth, and the outfielder displays a plus aye at the plate. RH3 came to California in 2021 and put on a show for the Lake Elsinore Storm, recording a .897 OPS in 92 games. The power will come with this young hitter who constantly barrels up baseballs. The Padres may elect to leave him in centerfield. But the bat could produce enough to be a solid right-fielder at the major league level.

Credit: TinCaps

Present

The fleet-footed outfielder will likely start in Fort Wayne or San Antonio. The Padres have shown in the past that they are not afraid to challenge young hitters. Hassell is certainly polished enough to hold his own in the Texas League. The numbers were down in Fort Wayne after a promotion from the California League, so there is a chance Hassell needs to hit his way out of the Midwest League. There is a lot to be excited about in regards to this outfielder who is the complete package. Hassell will be 20 for most of the 2022 season, so there is a chance he gets even better. That is a scary thought.

Future

The future is bright for this young hitter out of Tennessee. Hassell has a very high floor as he displays intangibles that go beyond the box score. The outfielder is an intense competitor and has a high motor. The left-hander uses the whole field with his swing and is only now starting to unlock his power potential. Hassell is blessed with a plus arm and has been clocked in the mid-’90s with his throws from the outfield. At one time, the left-handed thrower was considered a decent pitching prospect.

 

2- MacKenzie Gore LHP  02/24/1999
Acquired: 2017 Draft- First Round

Highest Level: Triple-A El Paso
2021 Stats: (1-3) 3.93 ERA/1.470 WHIP  50 IP/61 K

Past

This former first-round pick from the 2017 draft is an enigma. Once thought to be the best pitching prospect in the league, Gore suffered the last two years with inconsistency in his mechanics. The left-handed pitcher is still very highly regarded as he went 9-2 in 2019 with a 1.69 ERA and a 0.832 WHIP in 101 innings pitched. The COVID-19 season that 2020 ended up being resulted in a down year for Gore developmentally-wise. Reports out of the alternate training camp indicated that Gore was having issues with mechanics. Things did not improve much for the southpaw as he battled nagging injuries in 2021 and only threw 50 innings between four separate affiliates.

Padres MacKenzie Gore
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today

Present

With an impressive spring this coming season, MacKenzie Gore could very easily win a rotation spot. The feeling has always been that the Padres would not shuttle the lefty up and down from the minor leagues. That may be why he hasn’t debuted with the major league team yet. Gore has all the talent in the world and could still emerge as an ace-like pitcher. He throws in the mid-’90s with his fastball and features three offspeed pitches that are considered above average. His slider and change are slightly better than the curve, which Gore uses to keep hitters off-balance. The desire to be great is present in him as he often spoke about dominance on the mound. The Padres are well aware of the ability of this young pitcher. The baseball world could get a taste of Gore in 2022, and they should be left craving for more.

Future

With a little bit of luck, MacKenzie Gore could emerge as one of the best pitchers in baseball. There is no doubt that health permitting, he will debut for the Padres this coming season. Some pitchers take a little bit of time to develop. Gore is still only 22, and he has plenty of time to reach his ceiling. Ruben Niebla, the Padres new pitching coach, is already working with Gore. The two made a connection, and most believe the pitching guru will unlock whatever is needed for Gore to get over that hump. Expect Gore to throw well in 2023 and display flashes of why he was hyped so much. The Padres have a good one here, and the feeling is he is about to explode.

 

1- CJ Abrams-  SS  10/03/2000
Acquired: 2019 Draft- First Round

Highest Level: Double-A San Antonio
2021 Stats: (.296/.363/.420) .782 OPS

Past

The former Gatorade High School Player of the Year out of Georgia is an athletic specimen. Abrams was drafted in 2019 as the Padres grabbed him away from a commitment to the Univerity of Alabama. In his first season in the Padres’ minor leagues, Abrams batted .393/.436/.647 with three home runs, 22 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases. He started the year with the AZL Rookie team and ended his 2019 season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Despite no minor league baseball, working with coaches in 2020 at the alternate training site improved Abrams’ baseball skills immensely. In 162 at-bats last season, the prospect struggled slightly at the Double-A level, which was to be expected. The end result of a .782 OPS is still incredibly respectable for a player battling against older competition.

Padres CJ Abrams
Credit: Bill Mitchell/Baseball America

Present

In early July of 2021, Abrams fractured his left tibia and sprained his left MCL on the field in a collision with a teammate. The freak accident ended the season for the speedster, who was showcasing well at the Double-A level at the age of 20. There is much to love about Abrams’ abilities on the field as he displays plus bat control with improved power. Speed is his number one asset, as the left-handed hitter turns doubles into triples on a regular basis. There is a slight concern with the leg injury, but early reports are that he is just fine, and the foot speed is still present. Defensively, there was an improvement in his glovework at shortstop. His future at the position is in doubt, but that is mainly because the Padres already possess Fernando Tatis Jr. at the position long term. Abrams is capable of playing second base, and there are whispers that he could eventually play centerfield for the Padres. There is plenty of speed, and his arm is adequate, but it remains to be seen if he can handle the duties on a regular basis.

Future

There is no reason to doubt this high ceiling/high floor player. Abrams will play in the major leagues, and he could do it as soon as this coming season. In fact, it is not out of the realm of imagination for him to make the club out of the spring and begin his career in the Opening Day lineup of 2022. There is a possibility of this happening, but it will take an impressive spring campaign for Abrams to force the Padres’ hand. C.J. Abrams will be invited to major league camp in February, but he will need to produce more than just numbers to make the team. Can this young phenom display maturity and composure enough for the Padres to start his service time in 2022? Only time will tell.

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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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