San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects

Credit: AP Photo

(Jeisson Rosario) Credit: Shaun P. Kernahan

20- Jeisson RosarioOF   10/22/1999
Acquired: 2016 International F/A

Highest Level: Single-A Lake Elsinore
2019 Stats: .686 OPS (.242/.372/.314) 3 HR/35 RBIs  87 BB/114 K  67 Runs/11 SB

The athletic outfielder had a down year in the California League, but there is a lot to like about his plate discipline. Walking 87 times in 430 at-bats is promising, but Rosario did struggle to put the ball in play as well. There is very little power in his left-handed swing, and a lot of that comes from the fact that he is very thin. Rosario has shown quick hands, and the power could come in time though he will never be a 20 home run player.

There is speed to his game, though he has struggled to steal bases. That needs to be rectified. Rosario has to be a stolen base threat to have any value at the higher levels indeed. The outfielder is raw with the bat but plays centerfield with calm confidence. He is a plus defender with the ability to get better. Rosario has a strong arm and will do a backflip after every victory showcasing his athleticism.

Quotes from a teammate:

Lee Solomon: (INF) “An absolute sparkplug. He was the guy who rallied us during the playoff push and the run at the end of the year. A great teammate.”

Olivier Basabe: (INF) “Fun to be around and a good team player. He plays hard all the time.”

An experts evaluation:

Wilson Karaman: (Baseball Prospectus) “Rosario’s a real good athlete in center, we’ve got some on the staff who LOVE his glove and others who think it’s “just” good. It’s real raw still, though. He’s patient to a fault in the box, and while there’s a physical projection for strength gains, it’s going to take a minute through some significant swing and approach adjustments if he’s going ever to translate his physical maturity into game power. It can certainly happen! It’s a wide-open question if it will, though. He’s still a wait-and-see, even as he’ll probably be one of many 20-year-olds in Amarillo.”

19- Reginald Preciado- SS  05/16/2003
Acquired: 2019 International F/A

Highest Level: Has yet to make debut
2019 Stats: Has yet to make debut

Reginald Preciado was a great signing by the Padres in this season’s J2 class. The team gave him $1.3 million as he shows excellent plate coverage from both sides of the plate. He has a powerful swing from the right side, where he reveals an ability to drive the ball with authority. There are no issues from the left side either as he sprays the ball from gap to gap with a fluid swing. There is the thought that he will develop more power in time from both sides as the 6-foot-4 infielder has massive size for a 16-year-old.

Reginald Preciado

The Panamanian teenager has excellent footwork and a plus arm. He could move to third in time, but that remains to be seen. It will take a few seasons before he plays in the States regularly, but he is someone to keep an eye on for the future. Early reports indicate he works hard and is eager to improve his game.

Quote from a teammate:

Ripken Reyes: (INF) “He can swing it from both sides of the plate and held his own in short-season instructionals. He is competitive against older competition.”

An experts evaluation:

Jim Callis: (MLB Pipeline) “Preciado is really intriguing as a 6-foot-4 shortstop with the room to add a lot of strength. I assume that once he fills out, he may have to move off shortstop, but he has good hands and solid arm strength.”

18- Ronald BolañosRHP  08/23/1996
Acquired: 2016 International F/A

Highest Level: Major Leagues
2019 Stats: (13-7) 3.66 ERA/1.235 WHIP  130.1 IP/142 K

Cuban right-handed pitcher Ronald Bolanos was signed for $2 million in August of 2016. He broke out of sorts in 2019, making it to the Major Leagues. Bolanos typically sits in the low to mid-90s but was able to get his fastball up to the 98 and 99 mph range this past season. The velocity jump propelled him into a very productive level for San Diego. The right-hander has a tight slider and a slow curve that he changes speeds with effectively. The pitch is a slow 12-6 tumbling pitch that is clocked in the high 60s at times.

Credit: USA Today Sports

The Cuban pitcher reinvented himself of sorts this year in Amarillo, showing a lot of tenacity. Mechanical and control problems are his most significant issue as Bolanos can get wild in and out of the strike zone. At 23, there is a lot to like about his ability. He may end up in the bullpen as a high-leverage reliever when it is all said and done.

Quotes from a teammate:

Travis Radke- (LHP) “In my career, I have never seen a pitcher with a larger fastball range. His fastball is electric and amongst starting pitchers in the minors- I believe he has possibly the best feel in changing speeds with his arsenal.”

AJ Kennedy: (C) “He is one of my favorite guys to catch. He makes other teams look silly at the plate. He just needs to fine-tune his pitches, and he will be amazing.”

An experts evaluation:

Wilson Karaman: (Baseball Prospectus) “With Bolaños, it’s big-league stuff, for sure. He made some strides with the secondaries, flashed more ability to finish ABs as the year went along. We’re not convinced he starts, but he can offer a bunch of quality big-league innings as soon as next year.”

17– Blake Hunt– C  11/10/1998
Acquired: 2017 Draft- CBB

Highest Level: Single-A Fort Wayne
2019 Stats: .712 OPS (.255/.331/.381)  5 HR/39 RBIs  35 BB/67 K

Drafted immediately after Luis Campusano in the 2017 draft class, Hunt has steadily made progress in the Padres’system. The right-handed hitter is large at the plate (6-foot-3) and generates plenty of pure raw power. There are some concerns with his swing path, but he has worked hard to shorten up the stroke and get quicker. He puts the ball in play and generally does so with hard contact, so there is the thought process that he will eventually be a decent offensive threat.

Credit: TinCaps

Hard work is not a problem for this young catcher who has a high baseball IQ. The defense will be his forte as the 21-year-old commands the game from behind the plate and continually shows pop times under 1.9 seconds. If Hunt turns into an offensive threat, he could very well be a top prospect in this highly-regarded system. He is a sleeper for a breakout in 2020.

Quotes from a teammate:

Joey Cantillo: (LHP) “Great behind the plate, and I personally love throwing to him because he knows my stuff well. He calls a great game to go along with his physical skills.”

Michael Curry: (OF) “He will catch in the Major Leagues one day. His development this year, both physically and mentally, was unbelievable. His ability is there, and he improved so much this past season. A quick learner, and it is only a matter of time for him.”

An experts evaluation:

Wilson Karaman: (Baseball Prospectus) “He’s still got a lot of physical maturing to do, and his swing’s not close yet. But prototypical catcher style, he’s going to grow into a bunch of strength – he’s already big! – And he sees the ball pretty well through catcher’s eyes. I don’t like where his swing’s at right now, but again, you can see it slow-burning into some patience and power later. Our MWL crew thought the glove looked good, moves well for a dude his size, very good arm.”

16- Hudson Head– OF  04/08/2001
Acquired: 2019 Draft- Third Round

Highest Level: AZL Padres
2019 Stats: .800 OPS (.283/.383/.417)  1 HR/12 RBIs  15 BB/29 K

The San Diego Padres rolled the dice with this young Texas prep in the 2019 draft. Hudson Head was given $3 million to sign with the Padres after being selected in the third round. First-round money was enough for him to begin his professional career. The left-handed hitter shows gap power presently from a raw but fluid swing. There is plenty of bat speed with Head, who shows a great feel for the game at a young age when it comes to hitting.

Credit: H.Head (Twitter)

Power may never be a massive attribute for the outfielder, but he does have plus speed on the bases. Defensively, he could very stick in centerfield as he has a very nice arm with excellent carry on his throws. There is some risk with the Texan teenager as he has not seen upper-echelon pitching, but he can be a real significant offensive threat. Early reports are that he can hit a fastball, and with that, he should start next season in Fort Wayne.

Quote from a teammate:

Ripken Reyes: (INF) “He has all the tools and is so fun to watch play because he can do it all.”

An experts evaluation:

Jim Callis: (MLB Pipeline) “Head burst onto the scouting radar last spring and performed well enough to command a record $3 million bonus in the third round. He could have solid tools across the board once he’s fully developed. After his successful pro debut, I’m looking forward to seeing what he does in low-class A in 2020.”

15- Tirso Ornelas– OF  03/11/2000
Acquired: 2016 International F/A

Highest Level: Single-A Lake Elsinore
2019 Stats: .581 OPS (.217/.303/.279)  1 HR/41 RBIs  53 BB/113 K

Drafted out of Mexico in 2016, Ornelas was given $1.5 million. The left-handed hitter has a beautiful swing and generates plenty of bat speed. Ornelas sprays the ball from gap to gap currently with ease. Most believe the power will come in time as the 6-foot-3 outfielder has plus size. 2019 was a horrible year offensively for him, but there is a lot to like about his approach at the plate as he will take a walk. Recognition of pitches is a strong trait for this young player. If he can figure out his swing mechanics to get the most out of his explosive swing, he will be a plus offensive weapon.

Credit: EVT Sports/M.Kreg

Defensively, the outfielder possesses a strong arm and has played centerfield in the past. He is more likely a corner outfielder as the bat should play at the higher minor league levels. Ornelas has a very high upside and could breakout in 2020 for the Padres.

Quotes from a teammate:

Lee Solomon: (INF) “He didn’t have the year he wanted but knowing him- he is so positive, and he works so hard. I am excited to see what he is going to do in 2020.”

Olivier Basabe: (INF) “A very hard worker who gives it all each day. Even though he is young, he plays like an older player.”

An experts evaluation:

Jeff Paternostro: (Baseball Prospectus) “Ornelas is a good case study in the value of season-long looks. I think just about every member of our Cal League contingent got to sit on him, and despite the awful overall stat line, there’s a lot of stuff to like here. Early on, he flashed five average-or-better tools, but struggled to adjust to the level of stuff he was seeing, or bring his plus raw power into games. A midseason swing change after a blow in the complex simplified things, and he finished the year reasonably well. There is a big gap between the present and the projection with Ornelas, but don’t scout the stat line, he’s still a very good outfield prospect.”

Kyle Glaser: (Baseball America) “He looked a lot better when he came back from Arizona. They rebuilt his swing top to bottom. It got really long and slow this year. Hopefully, he can maintain the shorter, more direct swing he flashed at the end of the year.”

14- Edward OlivaresOF  03/06/1996
Acquired: Trade with Toronto 01/06/18

Highest Level: Double-A Amarillo
2019 Stats: .801 OPS (.283/.349/.453)  18 HR/77 RBIs  43 BB/98 K  35 SB

The outfielder from Venezuela took a big step forward in 2019 for the Padres. The right-handed hitter has a quick swing where he generates great bat speed. Power is a thing on the rise as Olivares has greatly improved his strength and size. When the Padres first acquired him from the Jays, he was very thin. His walk rate is improving, and that is a great sign for San Diego as well.

Credit: Sod Poodles

The outfielder has plus speed stealing 25 bags for the Sod Poodles in 2019. The aggressive, but unorthodox running style of Olivares is effective. He can play all three outfield positions where he displays a plus arm. At 23, Olivares is very close to Major League action and should make an appearance at Petco Park reasonably soon. He is an entertaining player to watch play the game as he plays with intensity.

Quotes from a teammate:

Brad Zunica: (1B) “A quiet leader with a good head on his shoulders. The definition of a five-tool player. He always seems to come up clutch.”

Blake Rogers: (RHP) “He’s a good player in sometimes quiet ways. I feel like he is always in the hit column and comes through in big at-bats. He has a cannon from the outfield too.”

An experts evaluation:

Craig Goldstein: From EVT Podcast “I like what he brings to the table. Not much plus, plus of any tool, but his skill will play at the next level.”

13- Joey CantilloLHP  12/18/1999
Acquired: 2017 Draft- 16th Round

Highest Level: Single-A Lake Elsinore
2019 Stats: (10-4) 2.26 ERA/0.931 WHIP  111.2 IP/144 K

A 16th-round pick in the 2017 draft, Cantillo has blossomed over the last two seasons. The left-handed pitcher from Hawaii is blessed with great athleticism and a drive to succeed. He was a terrific hitter on the island in high school. With an uptick in velocity on his fastball, heads are starting to turn. Cantillo typically sat in the upper 80s and low 90s but was clocked in the mid-90s a few times this season with his fastball. He attributes the velocity to adding strength to his body as he gets older.

Credit: Storm

The offspeed assortment from Cantillo is improving, as well. His changeup is a real weapon, and he can spin up a tight spinning 12-to-6 curveball. There is room for growth in Cantillo, but he is indeed a threat for a rotation spot eventually. His motion is funky as he hides the ball well. The southpaw is an intense competitor who has a great idea of how to pitch, and that will carry him far in the game.

Quotes from a teammate:

Michael Curry: (OF) “Joey is a character. A professional. You know when it is his start-day. There is a different atmosphere in the clubhouse when Joey Cantillo is on the mound for the day. His pride will carry him far in the game. He has a lot of pride in everything he does.”

Elliot Ashbeck: (RHP) “Smart kid, driven, works hard. He will do whatever it takes to get better.”

Blake Hunt: (C) “Joey has, undoubtedly, the best work ethic of any teammate I’ve ever had. He truly really tries to further every part of his game, whether that be making physical or mental adjustments between starts. Joey is a great competitor, and there’s honestly hardly anyone else I’d rather go to war with on the mound.”

An experts evaluation:

Craig Goldstein: from EVT Podcast (Baseball Prospectus) “He was really goods in 2019. His curveball is a potential plus pitch. He also has a really good changeup with sink and depth to it.”

Lance Brozdowski: (AP sports and Baseball Prospectus) “Cantillo’s breakout 2019 comes because of multiple mechanical tweaks that gave him better extension, velocity, control, and deception. After working with one of Lantz Wheeler’s Core Velocity Belts during his stint at Fort Wayne, he purchased his own this offseason and continues to work towards a consistent 94 mph. “I can’t stress enough how important the hips are,” Cantillo told me in July. His changeup is already average and flashes plus. His fastball should be average in due time with more velocity. Mix in a developing slow curveball, and you have yet another arm with three legitimate pitches. The worst thing an evaluator can do is assume the biggest leap of his career was from 2018 to 2019. I expect even bigger jumps in 2020 and 2021.”

12- Gabriel AriasSS  02/27/2000
Acquired: 2016 International F/A

Highest Level: Single-A Lake Elsinore
2019 Stats: .809 OPS (.309/.339/.470)  17 HR/75 RBIs  25 BB/128 K

Once regarded as a defensive shortstop only, Gabriel Arias has certainly improved to be a two-way threat for the future. At 19, he has progressed extremely fast. The right-handed hitter still has a long swing and fails to walk adequately, but he recorded a .809 OPS last season in the Cal League showing some real promise. Power will be his best offensive attribute as the teenager shows foul pole to foul pole strength.

Credit: EVT News

There is not much speed from this young Venezuelan, but he has incredible range at shortstop. Arias is a Gold-Glove caliber defender as he checks all the boxes in terms of defensive value. There is a lot to like about this talented young ballplayer with a rocket for a right arm.

Quotes from a teammate:

Lee Solomon: (INF) “His tools are just unbelievable. Everyone knows his arm strength is elite, but he really proved how great a hitter he can be. Not to mention, he is a competitive guy.”

Olivier Basabe: (INF) “Very good defense. He plays hard, and is very easy for me to be around.”

An experts evaluation:

Kyle Glaser: (Baseball America) “It’s special defense with a good swing and a lot of power. His pitch recognition and plate discipline just are not always very good. He made a lot of strides in the second half and was chasing a lot less, so it’ll be key to see if he can carry that forward next year to Double-A.”

11- Hudson PottsINF  10/28/1998
Acquired: 2016 Draft- First Round

Highest Level: Double-A Amarillo
2019 Stats: .724 OPS (.240/.302/.423)  17 HR/65 RBIs  32 BB/131 K

The Padres have the third base position on lockdown with Manny Machado, and that certainly affects Hudson Potts. He is the prototypical third baseman in which he has right-handed power and a terrific glove. The 2016 first-round pick just turned 21 and spent the 2019 season in Double-A Amarillo, producing a .696 OPS. The numbers are not impressive, but the ball sounds different off the bat of Potts, who has plus power and a quick stroke. He can often chase outside the zone, and that has frustrated the organization.

Credit: Sod Poodles

The third baseman has decent range and a plus arm at the position. The team experimented with Potts at second base where he played fairly well. The Texas native is a hard worker and will probably improve in 2020 with a breakout year of sorts. If he can stay within his zone, there is some real upside with his ability. We have yet to see him play his best baseball.

Quotes from a teammate:

Brad Zunica: (1B) “The best third baseman I have ever played with. Great work ethic and never lest things phase him no matter if it is good or bad. Big things are ahead for him int he future.”

Blake Rogers: (RHP) “One of the best people in baseball. Handles third better than what he’s credited for. He makes the routine plays and cuts off the six-hole. He can also mash baseball at the plate.”

Jacob Nix: (RHP) “He mashes baseballs. When he connects, it’s some of the loudest contact I have heard.”

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An experts evaluation:

Jeff Paternostro: (Baseball Prospectus) “There was always going to be the chance that Potts would struggle in his first extended pass at Double-A, given his relative age and power over hit profile. His stock is down this year, but I still think there’s a shot at getting a major league third baseman out of the profile. Potts will have to make adjustments, but failure at a level in and of itself is never a death knell.”


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23 thoughts on “San Diego Padres Top 30 Prospects

  1. enjoyed this post… wish The Padre website had this kid of info on players. even mlb doesn’t give thorough analysis. very cool now the timing is a little late thanks to Preller tading…. so would love to see update and reaction of trade pieces plus thoughts on further moves and or speculation it is really exciting time for us PADRE lifers keep up the great work

  2. Long time Padres fan from Belgium over here. I was looking for a new website to get my Padres news fix from after Gaslamp Balk was gutted by the vox media overlords. This looks like a great website. Awesome read and an ideal way to get up to speed with the overflowing Padres minor league system.

    Thank you!

  3. Reading through this again, two guys im super excited for is campusano and cantillo! Definetly keeping an eye on them this year.

  4. Great analysis James. No less than 15 of these guys will start in MLB. I love this farm system. Really hope the MLB staff revamp is able to get the most out of them when they get to Petco, which has not happened ( see Hedges, Urias, Cordero, Renfroe).

  5. VERY good write up. Very helpful. Thank you for the time and effort, and the amazing depth of work. Did you have to make any adjustments with the trades (e.g. adding/subtracting) or were none of the players still considered prospects (e.g. AA; Urias; Grisham)?

    1. Still waiting for your empirical evidence that Preller has a reputation for cheating and has to overpay in trades (you’re not getting away).

      1. Ha ha ha…..if this is west coast Ryan then, wow, oh the irony when it comes to reputation!! Either way, don’t expect anyone to take you seriously. Your like that dude who walks into a room and ruins it for everyone, all while deeming himself to be the smartest and coolest guy ever. Yiiiiikes ?

        1. Throwing accusations at the GM and then jacknuggetly refusing to back them up like you have is a REALLY good way to get people to not take you seriously. Again, either provide proof or gtfo.

          Wrong you’re by the way.

          1. Dear AJ’s Mom/“Ryan”

            Reputation: “what somebody is known for”

            I am sorry to be the one to say this but your son is certainly known for cheating. No one else in MLB has officially been punished multiple times. Therefore he has a reputation for cheating. Sorry

            He also has a reputation for scouting international talent.

            And he has a reputation for getting taken in lopsided trades and signings, often in supremely stunning ways.

            So this explained by stunning incompetence, or he is weakened and compromised by his reputation, or both.

            I am sorry, but I hope he turns it around.

          2. Sorry mullethead but no matter how many times you repeat it, he has no reputation to be weakened and compromised by. I could just as easily say the Marlins are compromised for their reputation for cheating (Carter Capps, Chris Paddack)

      2. Wow, this is fun. Come here to read and comment, yet getting stocked, harassed, incessantly insulted, etc. And, no matter what answer is given, whatever truth, logic, and reason is displaying, receiving only nonsense and insulting responses. Nice.

        I answered you. Told you where to look. OTHERS answered you as well, and it is commonsense and perfectly logical that after getting caught and penalized, not once, but twice, for cheating, that a person would have a reputation for…………. cheating. Is there a world where multiple convictions for cheating gives a person a reputation for integrity? But, again, no amount of truth matters, only insults, harassing others, etc. At some point it becomes foolish to try to engage with this crude, oppositional-defiance-of-reality-and-common-decency act.

        How many times have you been kicked out of chat rooms and/or comment sections, or the like?

        1. You arrogant little infant. That is not proof. That is your inference of the trades. Inference isn’t proof. No matter how much you want it to be. By your logic I could say that the Red Sox and Marlins cheated us. Notice how all the Tommy John pitchers involved in the trades in question ended up in San Diego.

          If you try and lie about Preller and then crawl back into your little hole I will always drag you kicking and screaming out of that hole.

          How does it feel being so oblivious?

          1. We all appreciate your zeal to defend your son, Mrs Preller, but you continue to go way overboard. Maybe now is the time to stop enabling him and shielding him from the consequences of his actions.

          2. @LB stop using the same joke over and over again. It doesn’t work like the condom your dad used.

          3. Sorry Ma’am, you’ll have to do better. Do it for your son! Is that how you taught A.J. to act? Potty mouth much? Some moms will do anything for their kids, but this is crazy!!!

  6. Awesome content! It is amazing how many good prospects entered the Padre System in 2016 via the Draft, International and trades. Preller has been on fire with his drafts since 2016, gaining 2-3 very good players out of each. I also like that SS and OF he signed from International Free Agency this year. Preller is going to keep the Padre Farm stocked going forward even after the 25 man roster finally gets filled top to bottom with good players. When Preller took over the System wide talent level was very low, from the 25 man roster all the way to the DSL. There were a few decent prospects, but not enough to field a future WS Team. There are still a few weak spots on the 25 man roster but after 2020, those will be strengthened and by 2022, there will be intense competition to even make the 40 man roster. I can envision a day where Preller has multiple players stashed at AAA and AA who are in the 22 year old range (currently AJ pushes his 18-20 year olds very fast because the system was so empty at the upper levels. Those days are coming to an end), MLB ready and will be valuable as injury replacements or trade chips. Preller will repurpose his 25 man roster and upper Farm System players to restock the lower Padre levels and development more generations of elite prospects because he has put a dynamic player development system in place. People need to lay-off AJ about Myers and Hosmer’s contracts, everyone makes mistakes. At the time the vision was to build around the former rookie of the year (Myers) who had 30-30 potential, this was sound logical reasoning at the time. Regarding Hosmer, I think Fowler had a lot to do with this signing and the Padre inexperience with signing big FA contracts affected this deal.

  7. One of the best written articles I’ve read on EVT. I’m particularly impressed by the quotes from the players — that must have taken a lot of hard work to put together. Thanks for doing all this Mr. Clark! Since 2016, I’ve learned a great deal about the Padres farm system because of your articles and podcasts. Please keep it up!

    1. Thank you so much for the comments. I really appreciate it. Just trying to keep everyone updated on this team and its farm system.

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