10– Michel Baez Age: 22.5 RHP
The tall Cuban pitcher was slowed slightly to start the 2018 season with a back issue, but has come on in recent weeks. The velocity is down a tick from last year where he was constantly hitting 98 on the radar gun. His walks are also up slightly, but he is in a higher division of pro baseball. Baez still has amazing stuff and has shown a better change this year in Lake Elsinore. He is working hard on his off speed pitches presently. The slider is ahead of the curve, but both need refinement. The velocity will be there for this young man when he needs it. If he can figure out his secondary, then he has the ability to be an ace type of pitcher.
9- Anderson Espinoza Age: 20.3 RHP
His 2017 was lost due to Tommy John surgery and he is slowly working his way back presently. There is hope that he will pitch some time this year, but he has yet to throw off a mound at full speed in Peoria. Espinoza has a plus fastball with excellent late movement. He has very tight mechanics and is free and easy with his arm. His smaller stature is a bit of a concern for his long-term value, but in the near future this young man could vault up this list once again. He has top of the rotation type of stuff when healthy.
8- Ryan Weathers Age: 18.7 LHP
At 18, there is plenty of time for Weathers to develop in the system. The Padres have shown a tendency to push young pitchers in recent seasons, so we will just have to wait and see what approach they take with this young southpaw. Weathers has a plus knowledge of the game and could be described more as a pitcher than a thrower. He can hit mid 90’s on the radar gun, but will probably pitch consistently below that in a game, as he uses an assortment of pitches to typically get batters out.
7- Logan Allen Age: 21.1 LHP
This left-handed hurler has really grown as a pitcher in the last calendar year. He has shown a tick more on his fastball, getting it up to 94-95 mph on occasion. His changeup is a plus pitch already and he uses it effectively. Allen attacks hitters on both sides of the plate. In recent starts he has shown a plus curve that he is using to generate strikeouts. That gives him three above-average pitches that he can utilize. Logan Allen is a great competitor and seldom gets rattled on the mound. He has a great presence and feel for the game as well.
6- Chris Paddack Age: 22.5 RHP
The more you see from this young Texan, the more excited you get for his overall ability. Paddack is tough on the mound, as he attacks hitters with a plus fastball and arguably one of the best changeups in the whole minor leagues. Tommy John surgery wiped out his 2017 season, but he has shown no discomfort this year. Paddack was recently promoted to San Antonio and could very well be at Petco Park very soon.
5- Adrian Morejon Age: 19.5 LHP
This Cuban’ left-handed pitcher has tremendous upside and is only beginning to display it. Last months in an outing in the California League, Morejon was recorded at 99 mph on the radar gun. The increased velocity is just a result of him growing stronger and getting bigger physically. Morejon has two plus off speed pitches (change, curve) and actually uses two different changeup grips. The young pitcher has a great knowledge of the game and already has shown growth that is simply incredible from a teenager. At 19, he is way ahead of hurlers who are two and three years older than him. He is special.
4- Luis Urias Age: 21 SS/2B
The Mexican right handed hitter has plus bat skills. He constantly puts the ball in play and is unafraid to work the count deep. He has struggled a bit in Triple-A this season, but is still 21 and playing at an advanced level. The power debate rages with Urias, as some feel he will have little to no power. To me, the gap power he presently displays dictates that as he fills out, he could be a 10-15 homer guy in the big leagues. Urias’ power is not his strength though. He plain and simply is a plus hitter with the propensity to record a high on base percentage. Just what the Padres need.
3.- Francisco Mejia Age: 22 C/OF
The acquisition of this young catcher is very exciting for the Padres. The team has plenty of pitching on the horizon, but lack hitters at the upper minor league level. Mejia will be an everyday player at some point. His switch-hitting, aggressive approach and tendency to barrel up baseballs means that he is the real deal. He once had a 50-game hitting streak in the minors. That is not easy. He is small in stature and may never be a huge power threat. Defensively, the Padres are going to take a long look at him at catcher. That is where his true value lies. If the team gets average, to slightly above average defense from this young man, he could be a perennial all-star for the team. Mejia will start in Triple-A, but is only a phone call away in 2018.
2- MacKenzie Gore Age: 19.5 LHP
Blister issues appear to be a thing of the past with this left-handed hurler. He has shown flashes of absolute brilliance in his short time as a professional baseball player. Gore is armed with a mid 90’s fastball that he commands very well to both sides of the plate. He has three advanced breaking pitches (curve, slider, change) and uses the all remarkably well for a pitcher of his age. His Curve is arguably the best secondary pitch as it has tight spin and he uses it on many level to fool hitters. His frame and mechanics lead you to believe that he should have a long career in the game.
1- Fernando Tatis Jr. Age: 19.5 SS
There is no question that Fernando Tatis is the No. 1 prospect in the whole system. At the very least, he should be a serviceable major league regular in the infield for many years. His ceiling is much higher than that though, as he has the ability to be a perennial MVP candidate if all breaks correctly for the team. Tatis uses the whole field with his approach at the plate. His power has already shown up in the minors and he is beginning to utilize his advanced baseball skills to swipe plenty of bases. The #3 prospect in all of baseball will be in San Diego very soon. Unfortunately that won’t be 2018, as he has suffered a thumb injury that will sideline him for the rest of the year.