The San Diego Padres have done a nice job in putting together a young squad, with seemingly a very bright future.
Presently, the major league team lacks depth at virtually every position, but the rebuild is in full effect. Despite the inadequacies of the 2017 squad, there is much to like about the Padres’ franchise and the future of it that, for once, seems full of promise.
Players like Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Austin Hedges represent the future of the club. This group is widely considered the first wave of talent to hit the Padres major league team. Although none of the trio were drafted by A.J. Preller and the current regime, they are the present core group that the team intends to build around.
That trio will enjoy playing time in San Diego for the remainder of the 2017 year. They will be a joy to watch, and it will be interesting to see what kind of major league player each becomes in time.
When speaking about the Padres, we often describe their overall plan consisting of waves of talent reaching the major leagues. This past year, the team has spent furiously on the international market. They also secured six of the top 85 picks in the June MLB Draft. In just about one month’s time, the team went from a mediocre farm system, to one of the best in the game. The building of this team is certainly exciting for the fan base as they look forward to the next potential breakout prospect.
The vast majority of the Padres’ talent is in the lower division presently, and not eligible for the following list. However, that doesn’t mean the team has no talent arriving in the next 4-16 months. There are some interesting names in Double-A and Triple-A, and here are just a few.
Dinelson Lamet (El Paso Chihuahuas)
2-0, 0.45 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 20 IP. 28 K’s, 9 BB’s
This right-handed pitcher is very close to major league service time. In fact, if there is an injury to a rotation member, he will likely get the call. Lamet has been impressive early this year. He has a mid-90’s fastball with an above average slider that is developing very nicely. His third pitch, which is the change up, is the key for his future in professional baseball. He has shown decent ability with the pitch, that essentially he really only learned this past season in Lake Elsinore. The 24-year-old could be called up at any time.
Phil Maton (El Paso Chihuahuas)
0-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 7 IP, 8 K’s, 3 BB’s
This young man has been impressive his whole Padres’ career. With a 1.60 career minor league ERA in 61 games coming into the year, a lot of eyes were on this young man. He had a decent spring in the major league camp, as he impressively displayed the poise needed to pitch at the next level. His spin-rate is phenomenal, which produces a heavy mid 90’s fastball that batters constantly have trouble barreling up. The 24-year-old would probably already be in the Padres’ bullpen now except for the fact that the team is stacked at the position. Preller will make trades soon, and Maton’s time will come this year. That you can be sure of.
Brad Wieck (San Antonio Missions)
1-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 8 IP, 12 K’s, 2 BB’s
Another talented reliever that would probably have been given a taste of major league action if not for the Padres solid bullpen, is left-handed pitcher, Brad Wieck. He has continued to get outs, and record K’s in doing so. Presently, he is in San Antonio, but I really feel he could already get major league hitters out. He has a toughness about him that you cannot teach. His time will come. 2017 is a realistic goal, but he will need a trade of Ryan Buchter or Brad Hand for the team to give him a shot. Adding him to the 40-man roster would be a big step for this native Texan.
Kyle McGrath (San Antonio Missions)
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, 3.1 IP, 4 K, 0 BB’s
Another solid left-hander the Padres have in the minors is Kyle McGrath. He has a herky-jery motion that creates a lot of deception for the batter. McGrath missed a little bit of time this year with an injury, but is back in San Antonio at full strength. Like Wieck, McGrath is waiting for his turn at the major league level. He is very close to being ready, and again, if not for the Padres’ depth in the ‘pen, he might have already been given the opportunity. Keep an eye on McGrath’s name come September, especially if the team makes some major changes to the bullpen.
Luis Urias (San Antonio Missions)
.342/.416/.570 2 HR, 13 RBI, .985 OPS
Of all the players on this list, everyone is the most excited about this young man. Rightfully so, as the 19-year-old infielder continues to shine anywhere he goes. Presently in San Antonio, it is not out of the question to see him make it to El Paso very soon. If he continues to hit, like most suspect he will, the Padres will have no choice but to call him up. There is an outside chance you see the Mexican national in 2017, but a 2018 showing seems more realistic. I mean he is still a teenager.
Franchy Cordero (El Paso Chihuahuas)
.209/.264/.307 4 HR, 9 RBI, 24 K’s in 69 at bats
I really like Cordero. He handles the bat well against left-handed pitchers, and is developing each and every year offensively. At 22, he has some upside. He looks to be solely an outfielder now, but that is fine. His left-handed bat will work out well as a number four outfielder at the very least, with the potential for more. He needs to refine his plate discipline, and that alone will delay his debut until probably 2018 at the earliest.
Walker Lockett (El Paso Chihuahuas)
2-1 5.32 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 22 IP, 14 K
This big right-handed pitcher is almost ready for major league service time. He has nothing really special in his repertoire however, and should only be viewed as a potential stop-gap until the lower-level starting pitchers are ready for service time. Lockett has a big body and a decent delivery, but he lacks the refinement on his pitches to be truly relevant. A 2017 showing might be in order for him, but it will probably be more out of necessity than anything else.
Carlos Asuaje (El Paso Chihuahuas)
.217/.295/.304 0 HR, 9 RBI
The 25-year-old infielder is the product of a crowded system. He is stuck behind Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, and Ryan Schimpf. In El Paso, he has gotten off to a slow start, but his level swing and excellent attitude lead you to believe it is just a matter of time before he is back up with the team. Asuaje received some playing time in September last year, batting .208 in 24 at bats. He could be called up this season if an infielder goes down, as he has a ton of versatility on the field.