Where the Padres Top 30 Prospects Are Starting, and Goals For Each

(Jeisson Rosario) Credit: Shaun P. Kernahan

20. Edward Olivares, OF

2018 team: Lake Elsinore Storm (A-Advanced)

The Padres are certainly not short on outfield talent, and Olivares is no exception. He was acquired in the trade that sent our beloved Yangervis Solarte to Toronto. The kid certainly has tools. At 6-2, 186 pounds there is room to grow. He has that enviable combo of pop and speed everyone wants in an outfielder. He finished 2017 in the Blue Jays’ Single-A Advanced team, the Dunedin Blue Jays. He hit 17 home runs with 20 stolen bases and a .269 average.

His arm and glove are rated as above average as well. Olivares could make some noise this season. If he can cut down on the strikeouts and keep his power numbers, Olivares won’t be in Lake Elsinore long. He is hitting .238 with a home run in six games in 2018.

2018 goal: decrease strikeout rate to under 20%

19. Jeisson Rosario, OF

2018 team: Fort Wayne TinCaps (A) 

 The Padres signed Rosario in July 2016 out of the Dominican Republic. He played the entire 2017 season in Rookie Ball, where he hit .299 with one homer and 10 doubles. He showed impressive patience, posting a 14.7% walk rate and a strikeout rate well under 20%. He is projected to be a plus defender that hits for decent average with the occasional pop, which is perfectly acceptable for outfielders. I am sure the Padres would like to see a bit more power though.

Playing up in Fort Wayne is a big step for Rosario, still only 18 years old. He seems to be feeling comfortable early, hitting .69 with a home run in his first six games.

2018 goal: Maintains walk rate while hitting at least 10 home runs 

18. Jorge Oña, OF

2018 team: Lake Elsinore Storm (A-Advanced) 

Oña is one of the most exciting outfield prospects still in the minors for the Padres. He is built for power at 6-0, 220 pounds. He hit 11 home runs while batting .277 for Forte Wayne last season. He already has a home run this year for the Storm. At 21 years old, this may be the year he makes a jump and realizes some of that big potential.

He has 20-homer power when he is on. Fielding-wise, he leaves something to be desired, but if he can cut down on strikeouts and realize his power potential, he could shoot up this board. He needs to show more discipline at the plate, as he is hitting .227 with nine strikeouts in his first six games for the Storm.

2018 goal: Reduce strikeout rate from his 2017 number (24.7%)

Credit: MiLB

17. Hudson Potts, 3B/SS

2018 team: Lake Elsinore Storm (A-Advanced)

Potts turned some heads in his limited time during spring training as he hit two homers in eight at-bats. With shortstop pretty shored up for the future (hopefully with Fernando Tatis Jr. and/or Luis Urias), Potts’ best shot at long term success with the Padres is at third base. In Fort Wayne last season, he hit .253 with 20 home runs, which was second on the team to Tatis. He also hit 23 doubles.

Potts now moves up a level, and very early on, it looks like it is much of the same as he is hitting .333 with a homer and four doubles in his first six games with Lake Elsinore. In James Clark’s recent article, he ranks Potts as the best third base prospect in the Padres’ system. That bodes well for him as the Padres are still looking for a long term option at third with Tatis at shortstop and Urias at second.

2018 goal: Hit 20+ home runs again 

16. Josh Naylor, 1B/OF

2018 team: San Antonio Missions (AA) 

If there is an MVP for the first week of Minor League action for the Padres’ system, Naylor might win it. First, since Eric Hosmer seems to occupy the first base spot for the foreseeable future, Naylor is taking some reps in the outfield. Also, in his first six games in Double-A, he is hitting .417 with three home runs and 10 RBI. He disappointed in the power department last season, hitting just 10 homers all year between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio, and finishing with just two in 42 games with the Missions.

There is a lot of season left, but he is certainly off to a good start. He projects as a 20-25 home run first baseman. We have not seen that type of power yet in the minor leagues, but with his hot start, it may just be around the corner. His ability to actually play outfield is still under investigation and if it doesn’t work out, Naylor might be on the move, especially if he has a good season and brings value.

2018 goal: Validate power potential with 20+ home runs

15. Tirso Ornelas, OF

2018 team: Fort Wayne TinCaps (A)

At 6-3, 200 pounds, Ornelas certainly has the potential for power. He is given a 55-power rating by MLB Pipeline. He played all of last season in the Arizona League and hit three home runs while batting .276 with 11 doubles and three triples in 53 games. Just 18 years old, he has plenty of time to grow into his frame and increase his power output. He isn’t quite fast or athletic enough to play a true center field, and that will only become more true as his physique matures, so he may be destined for a corner outfield spot with some pop in his bat.

He has shown that pop early in Fort Wayne as he has a home run and four RBI after four games. He also showed elite patience at the plate in that small sample size with a 16.8% walk rate last season. He should improve his power numbers. There are plenty of outfield options in the Padres’ system but not many, if any at all, can match the potential and upside of Ornelas.

2018 goal: Improve his OPS from 2017 (.807) 

14. Jacob Nix, RHP

2018 team: El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA)

Nix pitched well enough last year to merit a promotion from Lake Elsinore to Double-A San Antonio. He did so with a 4.67 ERA in 17 games between the two stops. He has easy gas that reaches 97 MPH and has a nasty curveball. His strikeout-to-walk ratio last year would have made Jake Peavy jealous, at 3.84 K/BB. He is prone to a home run every now and then, and getting peppered for runs, so he will have to tighten up in El Paso.

Nix could be a longshot possibility to see action with the Padres some time this year. He certainly needs a bit more work down on the farm. He has an achy groin and will miss the very early part of the season.

2018 goal: Get that ERA under 4

Credit: MiLB

13. Eric Lauer, LHP

2018 team: El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA)

Lauer, like Joey Lucchesi, made a strong case during the spring to be added to the big league pitching staff after posting a 2.53 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings. He won’t blow you away with velocity, but he has consistency and control to make up for it. In addition to his strong spring, Lauer posted a solid 3.30 ERA in 22 games between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio last year, with a 3.7 K/BB rate.

Lauer could find himself in the Padres’ starting rotation if a few more injuries happen at the big league level. He barely missed the cut. Although not perfect, Lauer provides a strong middle of the rotation projection.

2018 goal: Pitch well enough to merit a September call-up

12. Esteury Ruiz, 2B

2018 team: Fort Wayne TinCaps (A)

Chalk this up as another steal for GM A.J. Preller. He acquired Ruiz and Matt Strahm by sending Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter, and Brandon Maurer to the Royals. Only Maurer remains on Kansas City’s roster and he has a 15.00 ERA in four games this year. Meanwhile, Ruiz has shot up the prospect boards. He is a middle infielder with above average pop and speed. When he came over to San Diego’s organization last year, he played in the Arizona League, where he hit .300 with a home run, 10 doubles, and four triples in 31 games. He totaled 10 triples between the Royals’ and Padres’ systems in 52 games. He also stole 26 bases with a stellar .997 OPS.

Ruiz looks to justify his high rise up the boards with a solid season in his first time on a full-season squad as a pro. With Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr. ahead of him as far as middle infielders go, he adds a ton of depth to a rich farm system up the middle. In James Clark’s position rankings, Ruiz is the second-best second baseman in the entire farm system.

2018 goals: Hit near .300 with an OPS above .900 again 

11. Gabriel Arias, SS

2018: Fort Wayne TinCaps (A) 

Like his Fort Wayne teammate Ruiz, Arias is a young middle infielder with a good bat. Certainly he has a big obstacle in the way of his ascension up the Padres ranks in Tatis at short. However, it looks like he will spend some time at third base as well. He has not established his power yet as he still is without a professional home run after 58 games. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t brought the lumber. Between the Arizona League and Fort Wayne last year, he hit .265 with seven doubles and three triples and stole five bases.

He recently turned just 18, he has a big frame at 6-1, 185 pounds, that can fill out. He will need to validate his power, which is rated as average, if he wants to continue his ascent. He had a hit, an RBI, and a walk in a brief stint with the big league club during this spring. He is hitting .300 through his first five games with Fort Wayne this season.

2018 goal: Show some power 

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

This article has 3 Comments

  1. Excellent article! I can tell you put a lot of work into this. Very excited for these guys, I’ve never been so excited for a prospect crop before. It’s hard to believe that ten years ago, their best pitching prospect was Wade LeBlanc and their best hitting prospect was Matt Antonelli(?). They’ve come a long way.

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