11. Jorge Ona, OF
Most Padres fans would agree that Manuel Margot is the Padres center fielder of the future. However, some people will tell you that Margot is the only lock-and-loaded player in the Padres promising outfield. With Hunter Renfroe struggling mightily at the plate (other than hitting monstrous home runs) and the uncertainty that comes with how Jose Pirela will perform, the corner outfield positions may be up for grabs.
Jorge Ona is a very similar player to Josh Naylor: a power hitter with an aggressive approach that can spread the ball to all sides of the field, as well as hitting for contact. Ona is an intimidating figure as he is built like an absolute tank. He is not the fastest runner, but Ona has a great arm that he uses to his advantage. The second highest paid international prospect in 2016, Ona has a legit chance to be an everyday corner outfielder at the big league level. His plate discipline needs improvement, but this usually comes with age and experience and a player as talented as Ona is surely capable of making adjustments. Expect to see the 20-year-old Cuban outfielder at the big league level sometime between May and August in 2019.
12. Franchy Cordero, OF
When Franchy Cordero was called up last season, I thought he was some random player with a really cool name. Little did I know that Cordero would prove to be a promising young talent that is a freak athlete. He did have some success in his short big league stint last year, but Cordero is someone I fully expect to be with the Padres for the majority of the 2018 campaign. With a lot of the Padres impact talent at the lower minor league levels, Cordero should be the favorite to take over one of the corner outfield spots if Jose Pirela or Hunter Renfroe begin to struggle.
He stands at a massive 6’3” and would be the fastest player on the Padres were he to be on the 25-man roster. He’s very strong, despite a skinny build and combines this with his insane speed to make him a true freak of nature athletically. The biggest concern with Cordero, at all levels, is that he struggles mightily with plate discipline. He simply strikes out way too much and tries to go for pitches that he has no business swinging at. Had this not been the case, he would have finished the season with the Padres last year. An above-average defender, Cordero only needs to be average at best at the plate to be a huge contributor to the Padres. I really think this kid can be something special if he can develop some sort of plate discipline. Look for Cordero to be roaming the outfield grass next year in a Padres uniform.
13. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP
It’s no secret that the San Diego Padres have a great farm system in regards to pitching. That being said, Enyel De Los Santos is to me the most underrated and underappreciated prospect in this entire system. Coming to the Padres from the Mariners via the Joaquin Benoit trade, De Los Santos is a hard throwing right hander that produces a lot of ground balls. His fastball sits at around 94 mph but has reached the upper 90’s before. His 6’3” frame allows him to get pitches in the lower half of the zone, despite being a short-strider with his motion, hence the high ground ball rate.
De Los Santos possesses a curveball and a changeup, that he can throw for strikes, but both pitches need work in order to be considered major league ready. He does not get a lot of strikeouts, 138 in 150.0 innings pitched, and scouts project him to carry this on to the next level. De Los Santos is still raw and has a lot of work to do, but he has all the tools needed to be successful at the next level. I think we see him as early as the beginning of 2019, but I also would not be surprised if the Padres take their time with him and wait until mid-2019 or even 2020. De Los Santos has the upside to be a number four or number five pitcher in a big league rotation. Keep Enyel De Los Santos on your radar Padres fans, he is truly something special.
14. Logan Allen, LHP
Coming over to the Padres as part of the Craig Kimbrel trade, Logan Allen looked to be a promising young pitching prospect before going down with a minor elbow injury. Allen came back well from this injury, increasing his fastball’s velocity. This fastball of his has good movement to it which is why Allen doesn’t really allow hard contact. He comes equipped with a slider, curveball, and split/changeup that all need improvement, but look to have the potential to be plus pitches with development.
Allen has good command of the strike zone and locates his pitches well. He doesn’t have “blow you away” stuff, but Allen uses a combination of all of his pitches, as well as good location, to make hitters struggle at the plate (.201 opponent average). The 6’3” 20 year old has back-end starter upside and I think that is a role he can have success in. Allen will need to develop his secondary pitches to have real success but, for someone as talented as he is, this should not be a problem.
15. Jacob Nix, RHP
Speaking of underrated. Jacob Nix is another Padres prospect that often flies under the radar, but has the potential to be a great pitcher at the next level. Nix did not sign with the Astros in 2014 when they drafted him in the first round, leading to Nix falling to the Padres at pick number 86 in 2015. He has a fastball that usually sits somewhere between 94 and 96 mph, and has the ability to reach 97 mph. His curveball has a sharp break to it and his changeup has shown flashes of being a quality pitch if Nix can get a better feel for it. He can throw all three pitches for strikes consistently and seems to have consistent mechanics and a good feel for his delivery.
Nix did encounter some struggles last season but, with more time and experience, I think that Nix will only get better from here on out. Nix should begin the season this year in El Paso and may even make an appearance in San Diego sometime next year, although I believe the Padres should wait until 2019 to bring him up. The talent and the stuff is there for Nix to be a quality number three starter with the potential to be a number two starter.
16. Luis Campusano, C
The Padres made Luis Campusano the first catcher drafted in the 2017 MLB draft, taking the 19-year-old with the 39th pick in the draft. Campusano was one of the best high school catchers, both offensively and defensively, in the entire draft. He is an extremely raw prospect, but he does have good upside due to his power and strong arm. Campusano has strong hands and the power to hit somewhere between 15 and 20 home runs each year.
A move from behind home plate does not seem likely, as Campusano is actually very strong defensively. Austin Hedges is commonly looked at as the Padres catcher of the future despite his offensive struggles. I would not be surprised that if by the time he is ready, Campusano could be the Padres back up and eventual starter. Since he is young and raw Campusano shouldn’t be big league ready until at least 2021. His upside is that of Tucker Barnhart: a great defensive catcher with a solid offensive attack.
17. Jeisson Rosario, OF
Coming out of the 2016-2017 international signing period, Jeisson Rosario was considered by most scouts as the best athlete in the entire class. The Padres signed the 18-year-old left-handed outfielder for $1.85 million dollars. Rosario is naturally a good hitter with quick hands and great bat speed that allows him to move the ball across the field. Rosario makes hard contact and if he is able to put on some more muscle, already standing at 6’1”, could develop into somewhat of a power hitter.
Defensively, he is extremely fast and can cover a ton of ground. Currently playing center field, I think Rosario can be put anywhere in the outfield and excel. He is a phenomenal athlete and has a highly graded arm. His plate discipline is sneakily good walking (33) almost as much as he struck out (36) this previous season with a .404 OBP. Rosario has great upside as a top of the order type of bat that can bring a good defensive presence in the outfield. Since he is only 18 years old, Rosario is going to need some time to develop through the minors. He should start with the TinCaps next season and could end with Lake Elsinore. Nonetheless, keep your eyes open for a young, talented outfielder in Jeisson Rosario.
18. Luis Almanzar, SS/2B
Ranked as MLB.coms number four overall international prospect in the 2016-2017 international period, many scouts considered Luis Almanzar to be the best prospect in the Dominican Republic. A 6’0”, 18 year old middle infielder was signed for $4 million dollars by the Padres. Almanzar has a powerful swing with a mild uppercut. That is the reason why he makes hard contact. However, this concerns me, as uppercut swings typically lead to high strikeout rates, showed by Almanzar striking out 85 times in 67 games last season. He’s a great athlete that with a bigger build projects to be an average power hitter while he progresses.
Almanzar is a great defensive player with quick feet and a rather strong arm. In my opinion Almanzar should stick to shortstop but, if need be, should be able to have success at second base. Similar to Rosario and other young international prospects, Almanzar will need some time to fully develop his skills. He should be big league ready at some point in 2020. All of this being said, I am not very high on Almanzar. Though he is a promising prospect, the Padres should be able to have success with other players at Almanzar’s position. Having young middle infield prospects is never something bad to have in abundance, so maybe Almanzar proves me wrong and becomes an impact player at the big league level.
19. Mason Thompson, RHP
With their first pick in the third round, the Padres selected Mason Thompson, a 6’7” right hander from a Texas high school. Thompson had first round talent written all over him in high school, although an elbow injury that would eventually lead to Tommy John Surgery destroyed his senior season. His fastball sits around 93 mph, but if Thompson can fill into his extremely tall frame, there is no reason why he can’t start to hit the upper 90’s. The concern with Thompson, other than his elbow, is that he lacks some sort of offspeed pitch. Both his curveball and changeup are not very effective pitches presently. He will need time and experience to develop, which is evident as Thompson struggled quite a bit in seven starts this previous season.
Don’t be fooled that Thompson did not have immediate success in his first year in the Padres organization as he still needs to get a feel for the difference between high school ball and the minor leagues. Scouts believe Thompson could be a starter someday, but I would prefer to see him come out of the bullpen. His long, lanky build arouses some concerns to me that he will not be consistent with his mechanics. Thompson is a few years away and I wouldn’t expect him to be even close to big league ready until 2020. That being said, I think Mason Thompson could actually be an impact bullpen piece for the Padres, although some may disagree.
20. Austin Allen, C
It seems to me that the Padres had a ton of offensive explosion this past season in their farm system. Fernando Tatis, Luis Urias, and especially Austin Allen. A fourth round draft pick out of Florida Tech, the 23-year-old Allen erupted last season. Allen belted 22 home runs last season while driving in 81 runs. He made huge strides offensively last year and has solidified himself as a pure power hitting prospect. Concerns arise about Allen defensively because his footwork really is not good and he lacks some arm strength. Allen also does not have quick hands, illustrated by the fact that he only threw 20% of base stealers out last season.
He stands at a massive 6’4” frame and scouts find it hard to believe that Allen projects long-term behind the plate. I think that if Allen can improve defensively even a little bi,t he can be a really solid player. Playing next to Austin Hedges, one of the best defensive catchers in the league, can really help Allen progress defensively. Even though Allen did play in Lake Elsinore last season and is 23 years old, expect him to be with the Padres next season due to the fact that the Padres don’t really have anyone to back up Austin Hedges. Allen will surely need to improve defensively, so he isn’t labeled a liability. If he can do this, I can see him being a solid overall player with the team next year.
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