Where the Padres Top 30 Prospects Are Starting, and Goals For Each

Credit: AP

Credit: AP Photo

The Minor League Baseball season has begun and it is looking like, at least for another year, that is where Padres fans will find the most enjoyment. The Padres have not gotten off to a hot start, but they have an embarrassment of riches sprinkled all over their farm system. The most fun part of this, perhaps, is that no one team is hoarding all of the top prospects. There is top-tier talent all over the farm system, not just on one or two levels.

Let’s take a look at the Padres’ Top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, where they will be starting the 2018 season, and some goals they should set for this season.

30. Michael Gettys, OF

2018 team: San Antonio Missions (AA)

Gettys played the entire 2017 season in Lake Elsinore, so the natural progression would to have him in San Antonio this year. He certainly has some work to do with the bat if he wants to put Double-A behind him any time soon, as he hit .254 and had a eye-popping 37.2% strikeout rate. The power is there, as he has 29 home runs in the last two seasons combined.

He was the Storm’s main center fielder last season and made nine errors. The Padres suddenly have a crowded outfield. Gettys will have to make a jump in 2018 to establish himself. He is off to a good start with a home run while batting .278 in San Antonio’s first five games.

2018 goal: Reduce strikeout rate to under 25% 

29. Austin Allen, C

2018 team: San Antonio Missions (AA)

The Missions will certainly have a tough lineup with numerous Top 30 prospects slated to be in Double-A. Allen is another. Like Gettys, he spent all of last season with the Storm and looks to continue success at the next level. Especially for a catcher, Allen’s numbers were very encouraging at .283 with 22 home runs and a 127 wRC+ in Lake Elsinore. Allen led the Storm in home runs, RBI, OPS, and doubles last year.

Allen is hitting .350 with three home runs already in five games for the Missions this season. If Allen can continue this surprising offensive pace, he may push to have a spot in El Paso.

2018 goal: Maintain power numbers without a spike in strikeouts 

28. David Bednar, RHP
2018 team: Lake Elsinore Storm (A-Advanced) 

Bednar as gone from off-the-radar to Top 30 prospect thanks to his strong season, first in Fort Wayne, then finishing in Lake Elsinore. He was drafted in the 35th round in 2016 and now he may not be playing for the Storm very long if he keeps this up. He had a 3.58 ERA in 21 games for the Storm after appearing in 24 games with a stifling 1.87 ERA for Fort Wayne. He had a 2.64 ERA between the two levels in 2017. He had a stellar 1.98 FIP in Fort Wayne last year.

He has a 4.50 ERA in two games so far for the Storm. Bednar is especially tough on right-handers, with a mid-90s fastball and looping curve. He could become a good reliever as he ascends up the farm system.

2018 goal: increase workload (61 IP last year) 

27. Luis Almanzar, 2B/SS

2018 team: Extended Spring Training/Tri-City Dust Devils (A-short)

A highly touted prospect out of the Dominican Republic, Almanzar played his first season of pro ball last year and struggled. He hit .230 with a 29.5% strikeout rate in 67 games for Tri-City in 2017. He is on a long list of well-respected middle-infield prospects the Padres boast, and he is still very young, not yet 19 years old. The Padres will be in no hurry to shoot Almanzar up the ladder as he will start the season in extended spring training, which means he will likely get another start in Tri-City.

That doesn’t mean he has to stay there, but he will have stiff competition everywhere he goes. If his scouting report is any indication, he could hang with any other infielder in the system south of Tatis Jr. with a bit more seasoning.

2018: Hit better than .250 in his second season in Tri-City

Credit: AP Photo

26. Pedro Avila, RHP

2018 team: Lake Elsinore Storm (A-Advanced) 

Avila made a splash on August 8 of last year when he struck out 17 in one start against Great Lakes, when he was with Fort Wayne. He has a nasty curveball that helped him rack up 170 strikeouts in 24 games last season between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore. He will start with the Storm, but if he can keep those strikeouts up, along with improving on his 3.70 ERA, he could be in San Antonio very soon.

The Padres want him back with the Storm as he struggled a bit starting last season with them, before he was demoted, with a 4.98 ERA in 10 games. That was due to a spike in walks (3.7 BB/9). He got roughed up in his first start of 2018 for four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

2018 goal: Maintain a 10+ K/9 rate while reducing walks 

25. Mason Thompson, RHP

2018 team: Fort Wayne TinCaps (A)

Thompson pitched just seven games last season due to injury, all in Fort Wayne, after being drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 draft. At 6-7, he has some filling out to do as he is still just 20 years old. In those seven games, he had a 4.67 ERA with a 9.3 K/9 rate.

In his first start this season, he got roughed up for five runs, three of them earned in 2 1/3 innings. It will take some time for him to get his legs back after a long time on the shelf.

2018 goal: Reduce walk rate from 4 BB/9 last year

24. Luis Campusano, C

2018 team: Fort Wayne TinCaps (A)

Heading into the 2017 draft, Campusano was widely considered a top-five catching prospect of that draft. The Friars selected him in the second round. He played for both of the Padres’ Arizona Rookie League teams, hitting .269 with four homers. He is certainly very young, at just 19 years old. He makes the jump to Fort Wayne this season and is off to a slow start, hitting .111 after three games.

The Padres are certainly in no rush to fly him through the system as they still hope Austin Hedges will be the catcher of the next 5-6 years and Austin Allen is waiting in the wings if need be. However, among catchers who are still down on the farm, it appears Campusano has the most potential. He has shown patience at the plate with a walk rate over 10%. He has a 50 power rating on MLB Pipeline, which is what Allen (#29) has. He is hitting .200 with a double in five games for Fort Wayne so far this year.

2018 goal: Display more power, 10+ home runs

Credit: Journal Gazette

23. Chris Paddack, RHP

2018 team: Extended Spring Training/Lake Elsinore (A-Advanced)

Paddack made three starts for Fort Wayne back in 2016 before getting injured, in which he had a 0.64 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 14 innings. He ended up needing Tommy John surgery and has been battling back since, not throwing a professional pitch last season. He threw bullpen sessions in the spring. According to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Paddack will be assigned a team in late April. He has a good fastball and a plus changeup.

Lake Elsinore is just a guess, but since he is now 22 and almost two years removed from his last pitch in Fort Wayne, the Padres might want to try him out in A-Advanced ball. He will be on a strict innings limit, but the Friars are excited to see how he bounces back.

2018 goal: Stay healthy and get back on a professional mound

22. Andres Munoz, RHP

2018 team: Extended Spring Training/Fort Wayne (A)

Munoz had a strong start to his professional career, striking out 38 in 26 innings for Tri-City and Fort Wayne last season. He is projected as a late-inning reliever, maybe even a closer one day, with a whopping 80-grade fastball, which has been clocked at 101 MPH. Unfortunately, all that power and torque has caused problems in his elbow and he has been shut down for the time being. No one knows the extent of the injury or if it means the dreaded Tommy John surgery is needed.

Munoz is only 19, and with arm problems, the Friars will take it nice and slow. If he doesn’t need Tommy John, he may come back towards the middle of the season, perhaps where he left off at Fort Wayne.

2018 goal: Heal up, pitch only if healthy, shut it down if needed

21. Trey Wingenter, RHP

2018 team: El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA)

No one would be shocked if Wingenter finds himself at Petco Park before the 2018 season is over. He is starting his fourth season in the minor leagues after the Padres drafted him in the 17th round of the 2015 draft. He has been a reliable reliever at every level he has pitched. Last year he pitched the entire season with Double-A San Antonio and did not disappoint, with a 2.45 ERA in 49 appearances.

His career strikeout-to-walk ratio is splendid at 3.2 K/BB. If he continues on this trend with El Paso this season, he may not be long for Triple-A. The Padres have already tapped into their depth, calling up Phil Maton and Buddy Baumann this season because of injuries. Wingenter may be on that short list. It may be after a bit more polishing as he has allowed six runs in his first two games this year.

2018 goal: an ERA under 3 in El Paso to earn a September call-up


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4 years ago

Just great! Thanks Nick. Your assessments are well founded

4 years ago

Excellent article! I can tell you put a lot of work into this. Very excited for these guys, I’ve never been so excited for a prospect crop before. It’s hard to believe that ten years ago, their best pitching prospect was Wade LeBlanc and their best hitting prospect was Matt Antonelli(?). They’ve come a long way.

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