Which prospect will break camp with the Padres?

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With spring training here and the season coming soon (in about a month), the Padres have a lot of changes from last season, which includes a new manager and fresh new faces in the clubhouse. San Diego also has tons of position battles with guys trying to make the big league roster. 

Though the team lost key players like Juan Soto, Josh Hader, and Blake Snell, the Padres still have a roster that can compete to get into the playoffs as an NL Wild Card team this season. The Padres still have one of the best farm systems in the league as well, with five players listed on the top 100 prospect lists. The players include (C) Ethan Salas (No.8 overall), (SS) Jackson Merrill (No.12), (LHP) Robby Snelling (No.36), (RHP) Dylan Lesko (No.56) and (RHP) Drew Thorpe (No.85). 

Two candidates who could possibly make the team this season are Jackson Merrill and Drew Thorpe. The Padres acquired Thorpe back in December from New York, in which they sent Juan Soto to the Yankees. Last year, Drew Thorpe led the minors with 182 strikeouts with a 2.52 ERA when he was in the Yankees farm system. Thorpe has a decent chance to be a part of the rotation late during the season, though he will be in the minors to start the season. 

Jackson Merrill is another candidate looking to make the roster this spring.

At the age of 20, Merrill recorded a positive season last year in the minors, in which he posted an 8.1% swinging strike rate that ranked him 10th best. The upside that Jackson Merrill brings to the table is that he cut down on his ground ball rate from 59.6% to 42.5%. The power is coming. Jackson Merrill showed great versatility in the minors last season as he played several different positions on the field. 

Ethan Salas, at the age of 17, is still about a couple of years away from making it to the big leagues. He had a very nice professional debut last year in the minors and should enjoy another great season developing down in the minors.  

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Robby Snelling is also another up and coming player from the Padres system looking to make the roster very soon.

The lefty is coming off an impressive season last year in the minors, where he went from No. 60 in 2023 on the MLB Pipeline list to No. 36 overall. as the third-highest-rated left-handed pitcher. Robby Snelling also posted a 1.82 ERA while he was with San Antonio in Double-A last year to close out his season.

The last big-name player to keep an eye out for is Dylan Lesko.

Though he is only 20, Lesko finished 2023 at High Single-A Fort Wayne with the TinCaps. The Padres are hoping he continues to develop and fully recover from arm surgery, which sidelined him for the majority of the 2023 season/ Lesko has a high upside but will need to prove his health. 

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