Well Padre fans, it’s that time of year again, a time marked mainly by shorter days, and a severe lack of baseball.
While we’ve gotten some nuggets of baseball info via the Hot Stove the last six weeks, we’re still a little ways away from spring training in mid-February. Even though there weren’t a lot of great moments from the big league squad this past season, the Padres’ minor league system continues to improve, so much so that it’s now considered one of the best in baseball.
Here are three of the best moments/storylines of the 2017 season, and some resolutions for the organization heading into 2018.
Best Moments/Strorylines of 2017
1. The Emergence of Fernando Tatis Jr.
Now this isn’t necessarily a single moment as it was a series of moments, but the presence of Tatis deserves to be recognized nonetheless. Coming into the season, Tatis was seen as a blossoming prospect, but nowhere close to the level that he showcased throughout the 2017 season.
Now he’s emerged as one of the best prospects in all of baseball, and through his fantastic season at Low-A Fort Wayne, and being able to hold his own as an 18 year-old after a promotion to Double-A, Tatis has Padres fans salivating at his potential. More importantly, he’s proved capable of handling the competition at every level he’s seen, which could lead to a big league promotion sooner rather than later.
2. Drafting Mackenzie Gore
A move that had (and still has) Padres fans buzzing was the selection of Mackenzie Gore with the 3rd selection of this past year’s First Year Player Draft. Gore, a left-handed pitcher from Whiteville HS in North Carolina, got everyone excited with his white-hot start in the Arizona League this summer, where he posted a 1.27 ERA over 21.1 IP, with a fantastic 14.3 K/9.
While he’s likely still at least a couple of years away from making an impact at the big league level, Gore has also quickly turned into one of the best prospects in baseball, as well as headlining the Padres revamped farm system, which is one of the deepest in baseball.
3. Heading into the future with a clear picture in mind
Something that has severely frustrated Padres fans the past few years (myself included) has been the fact that management has neglected to commit to winning in the future, and that the early part of this century was mostly dedicated to Padre teams finishing in the middle of the pack, with no impact players on its roster (save for a select few), and a mediocre farm system that had potential, but never really got there.
Now, after A.J. Preller went all-in to win in 2015 and came up empty, he has made a handful of profitable moves, by trading current big leaguers for young, controllable talent (Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje, Anderson Espinoza, and Tatis, to name a few). He’s also made significant moves in the international market, signing Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez, and Jorge Ona, among others, within the past 18 months. While we’re all still frustrated that the big league team hasn’t been in the postseason since 2006, it should be refreshing to fans that we finally have an ownership group that has a definitive direction that they want to take the team, and one that will hopefully come to fruition before too long.
Honorable Mentions: Manuel Margot’s rookie season, Hunter Renfroe‘s moonshot to the top of the Western Metal Supply Co. Building, and multiple minor league affiliates making the postseason, to name a few.
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