20- Javier Guerra (21) SS (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
All eyes will be on this young man this coming season, as he was once viewed as the shortstop of the future. That has clouded considerably after a season in which he put up a .202/.264/.325 batting line in 391 at bats, while only hitting nine home runs and striking out 141 times. His defense also looked suspect, but the man is 21 and to dub him a bust is ridiculous. He will repeat his season at Lake Elsinore and attempt to build some confidence. Towards the end of last season, he looked really dejected at the plate and that severely effected his performance on the field. Guerra still has a lot of ability, he just needs to gain confidence and find himself.
19- Dinelson Lamet (24) RHP (El Paso Chihuahuas/Triple-A)
Originally signed in 2014 out of the Dominican Republic as a 21-year-old, Lamet has made a rather quick rise through the Padres’ system. He made it all the way to Triple-A El Paso last season, where he started two games for the Chihuahuas at the end of the year. He has a mid-90’s fastball, with a very sharp slider that he uses to get K’s. He has also developed a change-up, and that has helped him keep batters honest. He can get wild from time to time, but the arm is real and so is his stuff. A 2017 showing at some point could be in order for this big right-handed pitcher.
18-Jeisson Rosario (17) OF (Has Yet To Make Pro Debut)
I really like this guy. He just looks like he can hit. His only knock may be his small size, but he should easily be an everyday outfielder in the major leagues (in my view). The ball simply jumps off his bat to all fields from his solid left-handed stroke. He plays solid defense, but doesn’t have the speed to play center field. Rosario has an above average arm as well. He could jump in value very easily if he grows a little. At 17, he could easily have a growth spurt and, with that, blossom. Power is something that takes time and with a larger frame he could develop into a 20-home run guy in the majors. The left-handed bat is real.
17- Hudson Potts (18) INF (Tri-City Dust Devils/Short Season)
The Padres surprised many as they selected Hudson Potts with the 24th overall pick in the draft. He was not expected to be selected in the first round, but the Padres needed to spread out their signing money to ink all six of their top 85 selections in the 2016 draft. Potts has done nothing but impress since being selected, and the critics have really been silenced. The Padres may have selected him early, but he has blossomed at his young age. As a 17-year-old, he batted third for the Tri-City team and recorded a .352 on base percentage in 6o at bats. He then went to the AZL League and hit .295 in 183 at bats. He looks to be an above-average hitter with developing power as he gets bigger. It remains to be seen if he can stick at shortstop, but if he can’t, his bat and arm strength dictate a move to third, which wouldn’t be all that bad for the team.
16- Luis Almanzar (17) INF (Has Yet To Make Pro Debut)
This shortstop prospect was widely considered one of the best position players in the 2016 international draft. Some even considered him the best. He is described as a well-rounded talent that should progress fairly quickly through the Padres’ farm system. He was profiled by me last month with some video. Check it out. The switch-hitting infielder hits to all fields well, and the ball seems to jump off his bat. His defense is nothing special right now. He has an adequate arm and decent footwork at shortstop, and the jury is out on if he will be able to stick at the position at the next level. Either way, he should be a really solid player. All scouts agree that he will play in the major leagues at some point. It’s up to him whether he is a superstar or a utility player. Keep a close eye on this young man. He could be really special.
15- Chris Paddack (21) RHP (Fort Wayne TinCaps/Low Single-A)
Acquired from the Marlins for Fernando Rodney last season, he looked to be on the way to the top of this list, recording a 0.85 ERA in nine starts and 42 innings between both franchises. He struck out 71 and walked only five batters, resulting in an unreal 0.591 WHIP. Unfortunately, he reported arm trouble after the third start for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, and the result was Tommy John surgery. The 21-year-old still has a very high ceiling, but fans will have to wait until 2018 for him to get back into stride. He features a mid-90’s fastball with one of the best change-ups in the minor league system. He has a third pitch, a curve ball, that is also a weapon. He has all the stuff, he just needs to remain healthy.
14- Michael Gettys (21) OF (Lake Elsinore Storm/High Single-A)
The tools are there for this young man, but he has yet to put it all together. He is an above-average center fielder with the potential to be a solid hitter if he can figure out having balance in the box. Strikeouts are an issue for him, as he continues to K at an alarming rate. He did show improvement last year in Lake Elsinore, so there are hopes that he is finally finding his stroke. Gettys has a rocket arm and excellent foot speed. He has bulked up this winter and could develop more power potential this season. He could put up impressive numbers playing in Texas (El Paso and San Antonio) in the next year or so.
13- Buddy Reed (21) OF (Tri-City Dust Devils/Short Season)
The switch-hitting outfielder out of University of Florida has all the tools to succeed in the game of baseball. He could probably already play center field in the majors presently. He is that good defensively. But the young man does need a little bit of work with his bat. He started playing the game a little later than most, so it’s safe to say that he is barely learning his skills in the sport. He has excellent speed, an above average arm, and the hit tool is improving. With a little luck, the Padres could find themselves with a real problem in a couple of years as Margot, Jankowski, Michael Gettys, and Reed are all above-average center fielders. Reed will begin his first year in either Lake Elsinore or Fort Wayne, and he will be a fan favorite. Buddy is very eager to interact with the fans and I found him quite approachable in our recent interview.
12- Jacob Nix (21) RHP (Fort Wayne Tincaps/Low Single-A)
Of all the pitchers from last year, Nix arguably progressed the most. His walk rate was nearly cut in half and his velocity also increased after the Padres were able to help this young man find some consistency with his release point and windup. He features a mid-90’s fastball that tops out at 97 or 98. Nix also has two quality off-speed pitches as his curve ball has great tilt to it and his change-up keeps batters honest. He looks to be a mid-rotation starter and that could happen within the next two seasons. His delivery issues are behind him, so I expect him to progress even more this season. He is a little bit ahead of the pitchers drafted in his Padres’ class (2015), and could be the first to make it to the major leagues.
11- Logan Allen (19) LHP (Fort Wayne TinCps/Low Single-A)
This young left-handed pitcher has a great demeanor about him on the mound. It is really remarkable that he is only 19. Allen was included in the Kimbrel trade with Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje, and Javier Guerra, and he could be the steal of the trade. He toes the rubber with an excellent fastball and commands the pitch easily to both sides of the plate. His velocity usually sits in the 90-93 MPH range, but he can add a few miles per hour when needed. His secondary pitches are advanced for his age. Allen has an excellent curve and a developing change-up. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to Logan Allen on several occasions, and he is a very determined pitcher. He had a little bit of elbow discomfort last season, which was nothing to be concerned about, according to him. A healthy year should result in some excellent numbers and tremendous growth from this young left-hander. Expect big things from this man.
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