The Padres organization has made it clear to their fan base that 2019 is the earliest they can possibly expect this team to compete for a division title. Until then, management has promised to continue building the minor league system with as many high-ceiling, promising prospects as possible.
As a result, the Padres have catapulted themselves into the forefront of minor league prominence and currently have the third best farm system according Jim Callis of MLB.com.
The term “tanking” is used to describe an organization that is in the process of rebuilding for the future and, by doing so, puts the team in a position to lose the vast majority of their games played.
General Manager A.J. Preller traded away many of San Diego’s top prospects in 2014, when he attempted to “go for it” by acquiring several established, big-name superstars. Padre fans remember how well that worked.
Tanking is usually a long process. so fans that are hoping for a quick turnaround and a competitive team in 2018 are in for another disappointing year.
The Padres currently have the fewest amount of runs scored this year. One should expect Wil Myers to improve next season after a horrific 2017 campaign. They can also expect players like Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe to continue to progress as well. However, the chances of this team turning into an offensive powerhouse in 2018 are simply nonexistent.
It is possible, however, that a number of interesting pitchers may make the jump to the big leagues after this year.
Enyel De Los Santos, Eric Lauer, Cal Quantrill, and Joey Lucchesi could all potentially skip Triple-A and head straight to the major league club following an impressive 2017 season at the Double-A level.
While this would certainly be an improvement over having a pitcher like Jered Weaver, who struggles to keep the ball inside the ballpark every five days, none of those prospects are currently projected to be any sort of ace. This would also assume management wouldn’t mind rushing those four hurlers. In a year, the roster still figures to be well below-average, and there’s no reason to rush a player if there’s concern whether or not said player is actually ready for the next step.
With that being said, there could be a number of players that are given a chance to prove themselves next year before the future centerpieces begin to arrive in 2019. You cannot evaluate a player correctly unless you give them ample at bats and allow them to play every day.
While the Padres’ system is consistently getting stronger, the bulk of their strength lies in their developmental and lower level clubs. In fact, only one of their top-30 prospects is on the Triple-A team (Franchy Cordero).
2018 could be another experimental year. Manager Andy Green mentioned how he would have to manage differently given the circumstances of his underwhelming roster. This doesn’t imply that Green won’t be experimental in the distant future as well, but hopefully for Green, he’ll have a stacked team by then which will allow the talent of his players to take much of the guesswork out of his managing. Unfortunately for now, the help that Padres fans are hoping for will not come next year. Perhaps starting in 2019, fans will get to experience the next wave of upcoming talent for San Diego.