The San Diego Padres’ farm system is about as deep as they come.
They have talent at virtually every position and a great portion of it is made up of teenagers.
Whether it be from the past few drafts or the international market, the Friars have loaded up on young players with upside. These men are all very raw though and capable of fizzling out at any point. But some will reach their abilities and become legit major league prospects.
Which of them are capable of rising through the system quickly, and who could be a viable top-10 prospect in the near future for the Padres?
The following names are players to keep an eye on as potential breakout players.
Each are undervalued in some degree currently and very capable of taking the next step in production in 2018.
When the Padres dealt Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, and Trevor Cahill to the Kansas City Royals, most fans were surprised at the return. Travis Wood was a known commodity, but was having a horrible year. Matt Strahm was a decent addition, but the left-handed pitcher had just undergone knee surgery and was out for the year. The last player the Padres acquired was a young infielder by the name of Esteury Ruiz. He was not a top-30 Royals prospect at the time, so most Padre fans were up in arms. However, once you looked at his numbers, you realized the 18-year-old was hitting over .400 in the AZL. Had A.J. done it again? Much like he did when he stole Fernando Tatis from under the White Sox noses, he could have possibly traded for the best player out of the whole six-man deal, in Ruiz.
The thin infielder has plus power for his size. He has no issue generating bat speed and makes consistent hard contact. Not only can he be a decent power source eventually, but Ruiz stole 26 total bases last year in 52 games. Defensively, he has issues at second where he looks a bit stiff. He has time to work on footwork and such to be a decent defender, but is currently considered a bat-first type of player. Ruiz can hit the fastball, but needs to work on recognizing the off-speed pitch, which has been an issue for him. He is currently ranked the Padres #30 prospect by MLB pipeline, but could climb that list fairly quickly.
Signed for $4 million in July of 2016, he was ranked #4 overall in terms of international prospects from that group. The Dominican infielder just turned 18, and has a very nice ceiling. The right-handed hitter has a plus bat, with decent power upside. He has pretty good size currently, and will not have an issue putting on muscle in the future. He is able to generate excellent bat speed with his uppercut stroke and has more than adequate speed for his size.
Defensively, there are some concerns that he could outgrow the shortstop position. He has a plus arm, but needs to work on footwork and such. Ultimately his size and ability to hit could dictate a move to third base. He has the arm for the position and could develop more power in time. Almanzar is currently ranked the Padres #18 prospect, and is very capable of climbing the list. He was productive in Tri-City last year at the age of 17 where he hit .230 in 67 games.
When you discuss plate discipline in the Padres’ minor league system, Luis Urias‘ name is who comes to mind first. Right behind him is the name Jeisson Rosario who, like Urias, has shown great patience at an early age. Rosario walked 33 times last year in 187 at bats while striking out 36 times. The strikeouts are a bit high, but he has constantly shown the ability to take the walk if it is given to him. The left-handed outfielder is capable of playing center, but should be toolsy enough to play right if need be.
Currently ranked the Padres #17 prospect, Rosario will surely climb the MLB pipeline list. He has a rocket arm and plus speed that will easily carry him to a job one day as a 4th outfielder at the very least. Rosario has the ceiling of an all-star, but needs to put on some muscle. He just turned 18, so the lanky outfielder will definitely get bigger in time. He played last year at the AZL level, and will surely get an opportunity to play in Fort Wayne at some point. The Padres have been aggressive in the past with players that show plus intangibles for the game. Rosario has a very good idea what he is doing out there. He is someone to keep an eye on.
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