We Are Presently in The Birth of Padres Nation

(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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The San Diego Sports scene is begging for a winner.

With the city’s other professional franchise (that shall remain nameless) now playing in the rival city of Los Angeles, fans are certainly starved for a winner. The San Diego Padres have more pressure now than they have ever had to succeed. The team plays in one of the best venues in all of professional sports and are signed to play at Petco Park for the next 17 years, with a 10-year extension also possible. They are not going anywhere, anytime soon. The Padres are San Diego.

In all reality, the San Diego Padres have never built a team for the long run. They have never cultivated the farm system like they have done presently. Sure, the 1984 and 1998 teams were successful and reached the World Series, but neither team was built for longevity.

With this development of young talent, there is a feeling that this is a special time.

The Padres’ minor league system is flourishing, as they are presently considered one of the best in all of baseball. The talent level is very young with this franchise. The majority of the players are between the ages of 17-22 and have yet to even reach the Triple-A level. In fact, only Franchy Cordero has reached the Triple-A level from their Top-30 prospects. You have to figure that as these young players develop, the system will only get better.

Week in and week out, Padre fans are being educated on new players that have emerged this season. Players such as Michel Baez and Fernando Tatis Jr. have developed beyond belief and have helped solidify the entire farm system.

Sure, Wil Myers is in a bit of a tailspin. He has had a counterproductive year and has not been consistent with his play on the field. But, there are certainly positives to the 2017 major league season. Manuel Margot has emerged and looks to be a key component to the Padres’ future. His grace in the outfield and grit at the plate are something the team can certainly build around.

Austin Hedges has swung the bat with authority. His average and plate discipline still need work, but he has hit enough to be a valuable commodity for the future. His defensive abilities are special. You want your catcher to be a leader as well, and Hedges certainly fits that bill.

Nobody in the 2017 season has surprised as much as Jose Pirela. The long-time minor league player has come into his own and now looks poised to be a decent major league hitter. He is presently the Padres’ most consistent player with the bat. That is amazing when you factor in that he was DFA’d after last season and could have been claimed by any team.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Then there are players like Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje, who have both been fantastic. Each infielder has established himself this season, and with their development, the Padres suddenly found themselves in a predicament. Too many infielders and not enough spots to play. Their answer was to award Yangervis Solarte the starting shortstop gig in order to get ample playing time for both Asuaje and Spangenberg. Solarte has amazed critics with his play at short. He looks very serviceable there and could be the bridge the Padres have longed for to their developing minor league shortstops, such as Fernando Tatis.

Offensively, things look great for the team. There are still some glaring holes, like power from the left-hand side of the plate, but you can definitely see the progression with this young team. The team has a great nucleous of young men to build around offensively, but the pitching is starting to trickle in.

Dinelson Lamet is a major leaguer. His days of minor league baseball spreads are all over. His wicked slider and mid to high 90’s fastball plays well in the league. Even if he never develops a third pitch, he could still be very successful in the rotation, and at the very least, a vital member of the bullpen.

In San Antonio, the Padres have one of the best minor league staffs in all of baseball. Joey Lucchesi, Cal Quantrill, Enyel De Los Santos, Eric Lauer, and Jacob Nix are all top prospects for the organization. Lucchesi, Quantrill, Lauer, and Nix all moved up from Lake Elsinore this season and each has had success at the Double-A level. These young men will all be knocking on the door of major league service time within the next 12 month. Behind them, you have names like Pedro Avila, Logan Allen, Michal Baez, and Adrian Morejon, that come with a high pedigree. The pitching will be here soon and the Padres sure have a lot of arms to sort through. Not all these young men will have an excellent career, but there is safety in numbers. Some of these men will emerge, that is a safe bet.

With all this being said, it is pretty safe to say that we are certainly in the dawn of a special time.

“Padres Nation” is being built as you read this. It is a work in progress, but there really is no guarantee. However, for a franchise that has sat around and done little to nothing in its past, these steps towards relevance are exciting things to witness. The dawn is here. Go Padres!

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