30- Buddy Reed
Buddy Reed was drafted by the Padres out of Florida with the team’s second-round pick in 2016. The ultra-athletic Reed has battled some nagging injuries early this season, but is playing currently in Fort Wayne. He is a switch-hitting center fielder, who has the defensive abilities to probably play the position now at the major league level. However his bat is a work in progress. Being that he bats from both sides of the plate, he is having issues finding consistency. Factor in that Reed first started playing the game late in high school, and the man is still learning. He has excellent speed, but has yet to grasp the base stealing concept at the pro level. He is a work in progress, but if he can figure out the hit tool, he could be special.
29- Michel Baez
Signed for $3 million dollars out of Cuba, this young, right-handed pitcher seems to have real decent upside. He is a physical presence on the mound (6′ 8″/230 lbs) and has a major league-quality fastball already at the age of 20. He has some experience, as he pitched for the Vagueros de Pinar del Rio in Cuba’s highest league as an 18-year-old in 2015. He throws from a consistent plane and has very good control for being a big pitcher. His change is functional presently, but he does need to refine his third pitch, which is a slider. I have him high on this list, but he deserves to be noticed.
28- Javier Guerra
There was a ton of hype surrounding this young man out of Panama once the Padres acquire him in the Craig Kimbrel deal. In fact, Guerra was considered a steal by some pundits. He has done nothing in a Padres affiliate uniform, except frustrate the fan base. He is 21, and the team is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. His defense has picked up of late, as he was having issues on the field with angles and such. With the bat, Guerra has a nice left-handed swing that generates power to all fields. His approach and ability to recognize pitches needs improvement. He is reportedly taking extra batting practice and there are no questions about his work ethic. It just may take him a little longer to figure things out.
27- Michel Miliano
The 6′ 3″ right-handed pitcher is turning heads, and has been for the past six months. He was originally signed by the team for $450,000 and at 17, looks to be a solid pitcher with upside. He currently sits 90-92 with his fastball, with the ability to hit 94 when needed. He creates a nice downhill plain with his motion and uses that to generate some excellent spin on the ball. Miliano has a plus curve that he gets swings and misses on. His delivery is repeatable and smooth. The young man is reportedly very poised for his age and should progress rather quickly once he starts his professional career.
26- Carlos Asuaje
Trapped behind the excess of Padres second baseman is Carlos Asuaje. He is major league-ready at 25 years of age, but there just isn’t any room for him. Then factor in that Luis Urias is coming up fast from behind, and you have to figure his days as a Padre are coming to an end. Either the Padres move Corey Spangenberg and/or Yangervis Solarte or the team moves Asauje before he has no value. A year after winning the PCL Rookie of the Year, he is having a down year in El Paso and his confidence might be low. The left-handed hitter has a very good hit tool, though he will never hit for much power. He can play third, but is a prototypical second sacker because of his lack of arm strength and power. The line-drive hitter still has value, but his label as a prospect is closing.
25- Jose Rondon
This shortstop with major league service time is still in the Padres’ minors despite the fact the team desperately needs a player at the position. That tells me a lot of how the Padres view Rondon. He is an average player in every sense of the word. That isn’t a bad thing, as he has no glaring weaknesses, despite a lack of real power. Rondon isn’t flashy and he will not make the game-saving grab on defense. At 23, he is clearly almost ready for major league service time, but the Friars aren’t even close to giving it to him. In fact, he is in Double-A currently, where he was named an all-star. He has a great floor, meaning that he will probably be a major leaguer for a few years, but it remains to be seen if that will be with the Padres.
24- Ruddy Giron
At 20 years old, Giron is playing above his age level in Lake Elsinore. He has developed quickly, playing at Fort Wayne in 2015 and hitting .285 at the age of 18. He repeated the level last season, and started off slowly due to some nagging injuries. He was promoted to Lake Elsinore late in the 2016 season, and is performing there currently. Giron has a short, compact, right-handed swing, with decent power for an infielder. He can be a tad bit too aggressive with his approach, but is still young enough to learn. Defensively he has a great arm and can play shortstop, third base, or second base. The Padres have moved him around the diamond and he could be a future utility-type player, if he isn’t able to stick as a regular player.
23- Reggie Lawson
I am becoming very impressed with this young man’s work ethic. He looks to be a man on a mission and the Padres will benefit from that. Lawson was plucked from the draft with the 71st selection out of high school. His velocity has come and gone and the Padres appear to be tinkering with his mechanics. When he is right, he sits in the low to mid 90’s with a decent curve and a fringe changeup. The curve is still a work in progress and his refinement of his secondary pitches will dictate how far and in what capacity he is used. There is a chance he could be a reliever, but the Padres seem willing to give him a shot as a starter.
22- Austin Allen
A power-hitting, left-handed catcher is the perfect complement to Austin Hedges eventually, and Austin Allen might just be that man. His bat is very serviceable from the catching position, but his defense is still lacking. Not that he hasn’t worked on it. Allen is getting better behind the dish, but he will need to be more productive in the defensive aspects of the game if he is to make the jump to the major league level. This season in Lake Elsinore, Allen has been productive at the age of 23. A move to San Antonio seems imminent. Perhaps his move will coincide with his battery mate’s promotions (Quantrill, Lauer, Lucchesi).
21- Jeisson Rosario
This 17-year-old outfielder looks really polished at the plate, at an exceptionally early age. He has decent size (6″ 1″) and a solid, left-handed stroke. Rosario was signed by the team for $1.85 million dollars during the 2016-17 international signing period. He is a great athlete, with above-average speed and a rocket arm. He could possibly remain in center, but as his frame fills out and he develops pop, he could be an excellent right-fielder at the major league level. Playing at Petco will not happen anytime fairly soon, but Rosario could progress quickly once he finally starts his professional career.
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