30- Franchy Cordero (22) OF (San Antonio Missions/Double-A)
Once lost and forgotten after failing to stick as a shortstop, Cordero came on like a man possessed last season. He recorded a batting line of .290/.344/.450 in 555 at bats between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio. His smooth left-handed swing is a thing of beauty. Defensively, Cordero has made the transition to center field and has been rather successful. He has a quick first step and an ability to track down balls in the gap. Now that the burden of playing short is gone, he seems more comfortable as a player and could be in store for even more of a breakout in 2017. The impressive thing about Cordero is that he hit .344 (44-128) last year against left-handed pitching. His pitch recognition is already advanced and he should progress rather quickly.
29- Brad Wieck (25) LHP (San Antonio Missions/Double-A)
This left-handed pitcher has an ability to get the job done. He has started in the past, but seems to be settled in as a relief pitcher. He gets batters out from either side of the plate effectively, and is a strikeout pitcher. The 6’9″ Wieck has an effective delivery and brings an intensity with him each and every day. I’ve talked to Brad many times and he is all about getting the job done. The man just wants the ball, and has the proper mindset to do the job. He could see action with the Padres this season, as he is just about ready for major league service time. Wieck has the ability to get batters out from both sides of the box and is hardly considered a lefty specialist. He could be a productive setup man or even close down the road.
28- Austin Smith (20) RHP (Fort Wayne TinCaps/High Single-A)
A.J. Preller’s first draft selection as the G.M. of the team was Austin Smith with the 51st selection in the 2015 draft. The big, right-handed pitcher is still developing and learning his craft. He has a nice size and a very smooth motion, but has struggled with his breaking pitch and throwing it along the same plane as his mid 90’s fastball. At 19, there is still so much time for him to cultivate his abilities. The Padres have not given up on this young man, and neither should their fans. I expect a huge year from him as he is challenged by all the young talent around him. I have talked to Austin a few times, and he surely has the proper mindset to flourish in 2017.
27- Enyel De Los Santos (21) RHP (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
The Seattle Mariners signed De Los Santos in 2014, out of the Dominican Republic, and he quickly developed for them. He was obtained from the M’s in the Joaquin Benoit deal and opened the year in Fort Wayne. He was excellent there and moved to Lake Elsinore, where he looked mortal, going 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA in 15 starts. He features a low to mid-90’s fastball, with the ability to dial it up a little higher when needed. He is working on his breaking pitches, and once he figures out that release point, he could advance rather quickly through the system. An average curve and a slightly above average change mean that he should be able to remain in the rotation, as opposed to throwing out of the pen.
26- Carlos Asuaje (25) INF (San Diego Padres/MLB)
Acquired in the Kimbrel trade, this versatile young man has a real chance to stick with the big league club this spring. He has a nice left-handed swing and usually makes contact, which is a bonus in this day and age of baseball. Asuaje can play second or third base and has even played the outfield. He, at the very least, should have a productive career as a utility-type player. The second base job is filled right now with Cory Spangenberg and Ryan Schimpf, so Asuaje might have to play “out of his mind” to get attention from the coaching staff and playing time for the big league club in 2017.
25- Michell Miliano (17) RHP Has Yet to Make Pro Debut
This young man has impressed the Padres in his short time with the team. He has shown great poise and seems ready to make the jump to pro ball. He features a mid-90’s fastball and has a decent assortment of breaking pitches. Most Padres’ fans are unaware of who he is, but his name will be recognized in the coming years as he establishes himself within the system. The arm is excellent and his makeup is off the charts presently.
24- Allen Cordoba (21) SS (STL Johnson City/Rookie League)
Signed out of Panama in 2013, Cordoba had fallen behind most of the players his age. He played at a very small school in Panama and it took him time to adjust to playing pro ball. He played in the Dominican Summer League his first two years and followed that up with two years of rookie ball. He was the 2015 Gulf Coast League MVP and won the 2016 Appalachian League batting title after hitting .362 in 196 at bats. The Padres will try everything in their power to keep this young man, as the skills are there. He will have a hard time sticking in the majors for a whole year, so A.J. Preller might have to get creative to keep him. He has an above-average approach from the right side of the plate and is athletic enough to stick at short long-term.
23- Mason Thompson (19) RHP (Has Yet to Make Pro Debut)
Mason Thompson has a huge upside, and the big Texan could be a steal for the Padres as they selected him in the third round of the 2016 draft. He fell that far only because he missed his senior season of high school after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The Padres knew what they were getting with this young man, as they did they homework on his injury. Thompson looks to be back to 100 percent and he will be an exciting player to watch for Padres fans. He will start in extended spring and be limited to around 100 innings this season.
22- Austin Allen (23) C (Fort Wayne TinCaps/High Single-A)
This big catcher was drafted out of Florida Tech in the fourth round of the 2015 draft. He came with the reputation of being an excellent hitter, but he lacked refinement with his receiving abilities behind the dish. He has pretty much lived up to that profile so far as his bat is above average. Allen has worked hard on his catching, but it looks as though that will never be his strong suit. However, if the left-handed hitter continues to progress with the bat, his negative attributes receiving the ball will be overlooked for the most part.
21- Phil Maton (24) RHP (El Paso Chihuahuas/Triple-A)
A spin-rate specialist, Maton has one of the highest rates in the system. He throws a heavy mid-90’s sinking fastball that gets on hitters quickly. Maton also throws a cutter that breaks the bats of left-handed hitters and he has a decent curve ball to keep righties off-balance. He has closer type stuff and a very smooth motion. His tenacity is above average on the mound and he has what it takes to be a closer in the majors or, at the very least, a key setup man. He recorded 11 saves last season between three stops and made it all the way to El Paso, recording a 1.50 ERA in five games. You will see him in a Padres uniform this season if he remains healthy.
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