The current San Diego Padres‘ farm system is something to take great pride in.
This regime has certainly invested in the team’s future, and it shows in the wealth of minor league talent throughout the system.
In fact, this list I constructed swelled from a top-30 list all the way to a top-50 list simply because the team has so much talent that deserves to be praised. The San Diego Padres have legit prospects up and down their minor league system, and the glory days seem near for this franchise that has always seemed unsettled.
In fact, Keith Law of ESPN currently ranks their system as #3 in all of baseball, behind only the Yankees and the Braves. He writes that the Padres’ farm system has the most upside in all of baseball, and he is correct. The franchise is loaded with high-ceiling prospects at almost every level, and the team also has the #3 pick in this June’s draft.
Now that the team has finally embraced the international market, their system has boomed in wealth. With over $75 million spent on the international market and counting this period, the Padres are attempting to build a great dynasty. At the very least, this group should provide many exciting moments for a fan base that has been starved for playoff baseball. Once the talent begins to arrive at Petco Park, it will come in waves and there will be a constant production of young players to build around.
In assembling this list, I tried not to be swayed by other top rankings, but naturally, that is hard. Those lists are well publicized and, of course, I am well aware of them. This is my list of the Padres top 50 though. It will surely differ from yours, and that is what makes the game of baseball so great. Nobody has the correct answer, but everybody thinks they do.
The list includes the player’s name, age (during the season), and highest level of pro ball completed. Enjoy, and let the debating begin.
Eric Yardley (26) RHP (El Paso Chihuahuas/Triple-A)
Trey Wingenter (22) RHP (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
Elliot Ashbeck (23) RHP (Fort Wayne TinCaps/Low Single-A)
Michael Kelly (24) RHP (El Paso Chihuahuas/Triple-A
Colby Blueberg (23) RHP (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
Brett Kennedy (22) RHP (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
Chris Huffman (24) RHP (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
Marcus Greene Jr. (22) C (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
Chris Baker (22) SS (Fort Wayne TinCaps/Low Single-A)
Alison Quintero (17) C (Has Yet To Make Pro Debut)
Yardley and Kelly are close to being ready for the majors. Michael Kelly showed great growth this season, making it all the way to Triple-A. Yardley made it to El Paso and recorded three saves for the Chihuahuas while amassing a 2.85 ERA. He has an interesting past and he told us about it. Catcher Marcus Greene Jr had a monster winter season in Australia and looks to rebound after a couple of injury-marred seasons. Ashbeck and Wingenter were taken in the 2015 draft as well, and each pitcher had an excellent first full season in the pros. Wingenter was selected in the 17th round and went 3-1 with a 1.70 ERA this season in 58 innings pitched. Ashbeck was drafted in the 16th round in 2015 and went 2-2 with a 1.48 ERA in 24 innings pitched this season. Blueberg owns a career minor league ERA of 1.97 in his three seasons and has recorded 164 strikeouts in 155 innings pitched. Brett Kennedy was an innings eater this season in Lake Elsinore, throwing 117 innings. Chris Huffman is a relief pitcher who went 10-5 this season in Lake Elsinore while recording a 3.78 ERA in 131 innings and 23 starts. Chris Baker was selected in the 17th round in 2016 and has performed well, hitting .303 in 201 at bats in Tri-City. He followed that up by hitting .286 at Fort Wayne in 63 at bats. Alison Quintero was signed during the international signing period spending spree in 2016. The young catcher is raw but the right-handed hitter has a very nice ceiling. Any of these players could have made the list, and in time, each may make it, as players values increase and decrease very rapidly at this point in their development.
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