This new series, which will take place every Monday, will recap a team/player in the Padres’ farm system that is deemed “in the spotlight.”
It can mean anything from great performances, to hot prospects, to a slew of other tidbits.
The first team to be featured in this series is the San Antonio Missions, who have been lighting the Texas League on fire with their hot play in the past week.
Team Location: San Antonio, Texas
Team Record (Week Record): 25-11 (5-1)
Overview: The Missions have quite possibly the best roster in all of the Minor Leagues, with six Top-30 Prospects leading the way on a system that is considered to be the best in baseball. Along with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Missions have to be the most exciting affiliate to keep up on in the Padres’ system. Led by Top-10 Prospect in baseball, Fernando Tatis Jr., the Missions have come out of the gate white-hot, winning 25 of their first 36 games, including rattling off an 11-game winning streak, that came to an end Sunday at the hands of the Frisco Rough Riders. With such a large pool of talent making their way up to Double-A and playing the way that they are, the Padres have to be ecstatic with what they have in San Antonio’s club.
Josh Naylor (.360/.444/.597): If you’re looking for someone who’s been swinging a hot bat, look no further than Josh Naylor. Besides Franmil Reyes (who was just recently promoted from Triple-A El Paso to the MLB), Naylor is arguably hitting the best of any player throughout the Padres’ system. He’s also recently tapped into a power source, hitting eight home runs this season over 139 at-bats, which is good for a solid 17.37 AB/HR ratio. While Naylor is a first baseman by trade, the Missions have experimented with him in left field, in an effort to try to find a place for him on the big league club (obviously Eric Hosmer‘s presence forces Naylor to look elsewhere for playing time). He will still most likely be used as trade bait in the near future, possibly to lure a starting pitcher away from a team, but if Naylor continues to hit the way he is, the Padres will be forced to make a decision on his future with the team.
Austin Allen (.328/.390/.626): Another hot-hitting lefty in the Missions’ lineup has been the catcher, Austin Allen, who comes in at number 28 on the Padres Top-30 Prospect list. Allen is a much older prospect than most (24), but he’s been tearing the cover off of the ball in Double-A, causing fans to call for his promotion to the big league club with the loss of Austin Hedges for the short-term. Allen is a viable weapon in any lineup because of his left-handed bat, and has also tapped into a power source that many scouts say can hold up in the Major Leagues (his .626 Slugging Percentage is no joke). Just like with Naylor, Allen will force the Padres to make a difficult decision in the not-too-distant future if he keeps driving the ball in the middle of the Missions’ lineup.
Kyle Overstreet (.301/.342/.531): A versatile player who can post up at a handful of positions, Kyle Overstreet has been one of the most underrated players in the Padres’ system this year. While he is primarily a catcher, Overstreet can also play both of the corner infield positions, as well as swing a hot bat. He’s given the Missions plenty of options to play with by starting at DH as well as spelling Austin Allen every so often behind the plate. While he’s not likely to make a huge impact at the Major League level, Overstreet is a player to keep an eye on as he continues to see the ball well.
Logan Allen (5-1, 2.55 ERA): Acquired from the Red Sox as a part of the Craig Kimbrel trade, Allen was seen as somewhat of an afterthought at the time, behind teammates Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and Carlos Asuaje. Now, Allen is one of the best left-handers in the entire Padres’ system, joining MacKenzie Gore and Adrian Morejon (as well as Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer) in the Padres Top-10 Prospect list. Allen spent half of 2017 at Fort Wayne, and was then promoted to Lake Elsinore, where he held his own, going 2-5 with a 3.97 ERA. The Padres clearly seem eager to see what he can do at the upper levels of the system by promoting him to Double-A right out of the gate to start the year. He hasn’t disappointed at all this year, including his last start, where he went 6 2/3 innings, allowing one run and striking out nine.
Miguel Diaz (1-1, 2.66 ERA): Remember him? Diaz, the Rule 5 Draft Pick from 2017 who flashed brilliant potential in his season with the big club, was deemed not ready to return, and was optioned to Double-A. Since then, Diaz has provided everything that the Padres believed he would, working 20 1/3 solid innings and striking out 25. While he has made seven starts for the Missions, Diaz has been limited in his work, usually lasting about three innings. The Padres are still very high on this kid, and will likely take things slow with him until he is deemed fully “ready to go.”
Outlook: The Missions are arguably the best team in the entirety of the Texas League, and have shown that potential with their hot start. They’ve got more than enough firepower in their lineup to put up a handful of runs on a team on any given night, and their pitching is anchored by two starters who will more than likely see the Majors before the end of 2019. With all the talent they have, and with the way this team has been playing, the Missions should have Padres fans excited for what’s to come in the next couple of years.