Imagining the Padres’ Roster a Year From Now

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

The 2018 San Diego Padres are struggling, and can be, at times, painful to watch. There is hope on the horizon though as plenty of youth is on its way to Petco. Take a look at what this team could look like in 365 days from now. It’s pretty exciting.

While it’s been a rough year for the Padres’ major league team, the future is looking potentially exciting for San Diego.

As we know, the team’s farm system has been touted as the best in the league.

Take it from Fangraphs scout Eric Longenhagen: “This is the best system in baseball.” MLB Pipeline agrees, as do other reputable sources around the game. With that in mind, it’s impossible not to imagine what the future holds for the Padres. What could the Friars’ roster look like a year from now?

Let’s first try and figure out who is most likely not to be on the roster in a year, because room will have to be made for the prospects who have yet to make it to the big leagues with the team. Now we’re gonna go through each player on the team, and evaluate their likelihood of remaining with the Padres for the next 365 days.

Going through each player’s profile will be essential to explaining why a player has a strong chance of staying with the team or not. Before getting into that though, we need to identify the players who will almost surely be on the team a year from now, and shouldn’t be considered in the discussion.

Here are the players we can almost certainly confirm will remain with the team until at least a year from this date:

Wil Myers

Eric Hosmer

Matt Strahm

Manuel Margot

There are reasons to believe that around eight players on the roster could still be with the team at this time next year, but the four mentioned above are the only ones we can be 99.9% sure will be sticking around. In our evaluations of each player, you’ll see three different ratings. The first is the value we’ve assessed the player to have provided to the team this season, the second is the potential value we think they could provide, and the third is their probability of staying with the team for the next year. Let’s dive into the player profiles:

Pitchers

Jose Castillo

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 6/10 7.5/10 8/10

A tall southpaw reliever with a mid-to-upper nineties fastball that he uses well up in the zone, Castillo looks like at least a strong lefty-on-lefty matchup pitcher. More likely, is that he ends up pitching the late innings for the Padres in the near future. He’s already gotten a pretty large amount of Andy Green‘s trust in the brief 18 innings he’s thrown in the big leagues, so next season he could easily be the seventh or eighth inning reliever behind Kirby Yates. Having pitched to an ERA of 3.00, his FIP is actually 2.83 — suggesting he’s pitched better than his stats give him credit for. He has a strong chance of remaining with the team for another year.

Robbie Erlin

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2020 7/10 7.5/10 8/10

Acquired in 2011 at the trade deadline in a deal for Padres reliever Mike Adams, Erlin is one of the rare players in the organization who has stuck around since A.J. Preller took over as general manager. After undergoing Tommy John, and having numerous ups and downs with the team, he has finally started to pitch well in the big leagues. He’s been really impressive out of the bullpen, and has made some starts for the team as well. He has only walked 0.97 batters per nine innings, which is a huge part of what has made him so useful for the Padres. Erlin will never overpower guys with his stuff, but his solid all-around pitching is what makes him a very serviceable lefty for the team. Given his consistency and experience, look for Erlin to be kept around as a steady presence on a young team next season.

Phil Hughes

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2019 2/10 6/10 1/10

Easily the best personality on the team, at least if we’re using Twitter as our method of measurement, Hughes’ work on the mound has been much less enjoyable. The Padres really acquired him to get the 74th overall draft pick from the Twins — that they used to select Grant Little. Basically, they’re seeing if he has anything left in the tank, just in case there’s something special. Based on his performance so far, there’s not a lot to be excited about with regard to his future as a major league pitcher. It’s unlikely Hughes makes it another year on the Padres’ roster, but at least we all got to enjoy his humor on social media. His willingness to laugh at himself is truly something that he can take with him beyond his baseball career, so kudos to him for that.

Walker Lockett

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 3/10 6/10 3/10

He has served this season as the Padres’ Triple-A shuttle pitcher, frequently coming up from El Paso to pitch in a single game, before being sent back down immediately afterwards. It’s rough to be in his role going up and down so much, but the reality is that his work hasn’t been sufficient for the Padres this season. When a pitcher has an ERA of 9.28, it’s a sign he probably shouldn’t be pitching much at the level on which he’s competing. With more top prospects rising towards the major leagues, it’s likely Lockett ends up in El Paso by this time next year.

Joey Lucchesi

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 6.5/10 8/10 8/10

The lefty with a funky delivery has essentially been with the big league club the entire season, despite having never pitched at Triple-A at the start of the year. Things have been up and down for him, but considering he was a 2016 draftee, we should be pretty pleased with the way he’s pitched in the rotation for the team this year. His funky delivery makes it harder for hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand, and he has thrown decently well in his first crack at the major leagues by using essentially two pitches; his fastball and ‘churve.’ When a guy has the success he’s had at times with only two pitches as a starter, the future looks pretty good for him. That’s exactly the case for Lucchesi right now, so he has a really good chance of being in San Diego in August of 2019.

Phil Maton

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 6/10 7/10 7/10

A 25-year-old righty who has succeeded with a high spin rate fastball that plays well up in the zone, Maton has found reasonable success for the Padres in 2018. He debuted last year, and was largely relying upon his fastball at the time. Now he’s using his breaking ball much more often, and the pitch itself has improved. He has a decently low ERA for a reliever at 3.23, and is striking out 8.80 batters per nine innings. He looks like a solid middle reliever who may get a chance to pitch the late innings every now and then. It’s nothing spectacular, but being under control through 2023 will make him unlikely to be traded in the next year.

Clayton Richard

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2019 6/10 7/10 6/10

A guy who started his career with the Padres early in his career and has now returned, Richard has been an innings-eater in almost every year he’s played in San Diego. A lefty using a slightly funky throwing motion, the results have been decent for the 34 -year-old in his second stint in America’s finest city. He is a strong veteran presence who helped Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi during the offseason, so we have to remember that Richard is a member of the team whose value goes beyond his performance on the field. Regardless, his 4.99 ERA is not encouraging, and with so many young pitchers on the way,he’ll have to be better to keep his roster spot at this time next season.

Craig Stammen

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2019 8/10 8/10 7/10

A guy who the Padres brought in during the 2017 season to solidify the bullpen, Stammen was used in mop-up duty last year and pitched pretty well. He threw a lot of innings for the team in 2017, and that should be kept in mind when examining his statistics from last year. In 2018, he has been the most underrated bullpen arm in San Diego. He has taken over the role of setting up Kirby Yates, and deservedly so. His ERA is only 2.45, and his FIP of 1.82 shows that he has pitched even better than his outcomes have shown. The only reason his chances of staying are lower is because he may be dealt at the deadline next season if the team isn’t contending, but if they are,he will almost surely still be around to pitch the late innings in San Diego.

Robert Stock

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 6/10 8.5/10 8/10

A converted position player years ago, Stock was signed to a minor league deal last winter and invited to spring training. He promptly impressed in the spring, but was sent to the minors to start the year, where he dominated before being called up in early July for his major league debut. In his short time with the Padres, he has used his power fastball and biting slider very well. The sample is small right now, but the Padres might have a closer-type reliever on their hands in Robert Stock. The 28-year-old righty has a great chance of staying with the team until August 2019, and with so much team control, there’s almost no reason at all the team would trade him before then.

Trey Wingenter

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 5/10 7/10 5/10

Wingenter is 6’7”, and 200 pounds — a very large pitcher who thrives on a power fastball and useful slider. What’s so interesting about this profile is that he actually hasn’t yet thrown a single pitch in the major leagues! We’ve assigned him some values above, but they are hard to gauge and shouldn’t be taken too seriously because we don’t know much about how he’s going to perform in the major leagues. Based on what we know about his minor league track record, we’re gonna give him a 50-50 chance of sticking on the roster until this time next year.

Kirby Yates

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2020 8.5/10 9/10 8/10

There is an argument to be made that Yates has been better than Brad Hand was for the Padres this season. Regardless, he figured out last year that he throws a great splitter, which he started using more often and found great results with. This year, the coming out party has continued for the righty whom the Padres claimed off waivers last season from the Angels. The Hawaiian’s 11.42 K/9 and 1.66 ERA speak for themselves, and it’s clear he’s the best reliever on the team right now. Unless the Padres are not contending and receive a king’s ransom in exchange for him in a trade, Yates will remain in San Diego until at least August of 2019.

Catchers

A.J. Ellis

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2018 4/10 5/10 3/10

A classic veteran backstop who has played solid defense while hitting decently, Ellis has done a good job filling in for Austin Hedges when needed. There’s nothing flashy about what the 37-year-old veteran does anymore, but let’s not forget this is Clayton Kershaw‘s former favorite personal catcher and teammate. You’ve gotta be doing something right to be that close with a pitcher of that caliber. Whether he’ll return next year or not is up in the air, but if he returns next year, he’ll be a solid veteran presence once again. The near-readiness of Francisco Mejía complicates Ellis’ situation more than anything else.

Austin Hedges

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2022 6/10 8/10 8/10

One of the best defensive catchers in the game, Hedges excels at calling games, handling pitchers, and keeping baserunners at bay. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of his bat, as the 25-year-old never has really hit well. Since the start of July, his bat has really caught fire, so maybe he’s improved more than we’ve given him credit for. We need to see him produce through at least the end of the season to believe the newfound offensive outburst is real, right? Even if the bat never really comes around for him, the team will at least keep him around as a backup catcher because his defensive abilities are so special. He will very likely still be on the team come August 2019.

Infielders

Carlos Asuaje

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 4/10 6/10 3/10

A bat-first second baseman who the Padres acquired in the Craig Kimbrel deal, Asuaje looked like he had a chance to play every day for the team when he hit exceptionally well at Triple-A in 2016, and even played in the futures game. Last season, he improved his defense and played the second half of the season with the Padres, hitting a respectable .270. This year has been a different story, as Asuaje has tried to increase his launch angles unsuccessfully, while now only hitting .198. His defense has also taken a step back, which has torpedoed any value left in his profile. Having been given two seasons to figure things out in the big leagues, the Padres may decide it’s time to move on before this time next season.

Freddy Galvis

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2018 6.5/10 7/10 6/10

Having played his whole career with the Phillies until this season, Galvis is an ironman-type player who provides strong defense at a premium position with slightly-below-average hitting ability. He’s essentially a league average player to plug in at shortstop if the team decides to play him every day, which is what the Padres have done. His contract is up after this season, and the Padres have top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. waiting in the wings, so the question of whether to re-sign Galvis in the offseason is an intriguing one. The team should have a good chance of bringing him back, but that’s anything but a guarantee at this point.

Jose Pirela

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2022 4/10 7/10 3/10

A high-energy, hustle utility player coming into last season, Pirela surprised everyone by providing 2.1 WAR in 83 games in 2017. That earned him a spot on this year’s roster, yet he has struggled mightily to repeat his glorious performance last season. As a guy who has rated out negatively at the positions he’s played defensively, it’s hard to justify keeping him around. If Pirela doesn’t start hitting soon, he’ll be replaced by a better option in San Diego.With the prospects coming, it’ll be increasingly difficult for a guy like this to stick around with the team.

Cory Spangenberg

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2020 5/10 6/10 3/10

Spangenberg is a slap-hitting, speedy second baseman who doesn’t play particularly good defense. The issue is that he pulls the ball enough that the shift gobbles up most of his ground balls. With an average launch angle of 9.3 degrees, he’s relying pretty heavily on those ground balls finding holes for base hits. If he can’t hit for average and get on base consistently, Spangenberg provides little value for the team. He’s already been back and forth to Triple-A various times this season, so he’s going to need to play exceptionally well to stay with the team until this time next season.

Christian Villanueva

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2022 5/10 7/10 5/10

After a torrid April in which he won NL Rookie of the Month honors, Villanueva has hit below the Mendoza line since the start of May. His power is definitely the best part of his profile, and he has hit twenty home runs for the Padres this season. He crushes lefties, and struggles against right-handed pitchers,so perhaps the team would be interested in platooning him next season. There are very talented prospects waiting, but Villanueva has maybe produced just enough to stick on the roster until this time next season. As long as the team doesn’t sign any free-agent third basemen, look for him to have a 50-50 chance of being with the team a year from now.

Outfielders

Travis Jankowski

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2021 6.5/10 8/10 7/10

The fastest player on the team outside of Manuel Margot, Jankowski is a fantastic defensive outfielder capable of playing all three positions exceptionally well. His routes are nearly perfect, and his closing speed is up there with the fastest players in baseball. His hitting has always been the question for the speedster, and it’s been good enough this season for him to get semi-regular playing time in the Padres’ lineup. This is a guy the team has given many chances and keeps putting out there over the years, so he has a strong chance to stick around. He’s controllable through 2021, so there’s little reason to move him to another team in a trade. With no significant outfield prospects in the upper minors for the Padres right now, Jankowski will very likely stick with the team for another year.

Hunter Renfroe

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2022 6/10 7.5/10 6.5/10

He has prodigious power, and a cannon for an arm, but not much else is above average for Renfroe. He is a classic right fielder with power, essentially. If he could improve his routes and speed, Renfroe would be a better contributor on defense. As he is now, he will have to hit in order to remain on the roster until this time next season. There don’t look to be many replacements for him around though, so he still has a fairly good chance of being on the roster a year from now. If he could get to the power more often, he’d be a middle-of-the-order hitter, but his plate discipline simply isn’t good enough for that right now.

Franmil Reyes

Last year of team control Current Value Potential Value Chances of Staying
2023 6/10 8/10 6.5/10

Reyes mashed Triple-A pitching so well this season, that he was called up in May to make his major league debut. So far he’s struck out a lot, hit some mammoth home runs, and been a below-average right fielder. He has produced big-time exit velocities, but has struggled enough at the plate that it’s hard to be too optimistic about his future. At 23, Reyes still has time to figure things out at the big league level, and the Padres seem fairly patient with him. It looks like the team will give him ample opportunity to prove himself, with the hope he can unleash his ‘Franimal’ potential more consistently. Look for Reyes to likely be with the team at this time next year.

Prospects with a Chance to Be on the Roster Next Season:

Below are the Padres’ Prospects with the best chance of being on the roster at this time next season. They are ranked in tiers, according to their likelihood of getting significant time in the big leagues next season by this time. Tier 1 players have a very strong chance of being with the team by the all-star break in 2019. Tier 2 players are most likely players who have the best chance of getting a September call-up in 2019, but could make the big leagues before then with exceptional performance in the upper minors next season. Take a look at the players:

Tier 1:

Fernando Tatis Jr.

Francisco Mejía

Luis Urías

Logan Allen

Jacob Nix

Chris Paddack

Andres Munoz

Tier 2:

Michel Baez

Cal Quantrill

Buddy Reed

Josh Naylor

Hudson Potts

Okay, so now we’ve identified the players who are likely to be off the roster by this time next season, and picked out the prospects most likely to take their places in San Diego by this time next year. We have seven players in Tier 1 who we’re essentially expecting to be on the roster a year from now, so let’s make seven cuts from the current roster based on the players’ assigned chances of staying:

Phil Hughes – 1/10 Chances of Staying

Walker Lockett – 3/10 Chances of Staying

Clayton Richard – 6/10 Chances of Staying

Trey Wingenter – 5/10 Chances of Staying

Carlos Asuaje – 3/10 Chances of Staying

Jose Pirela – 3/10 Chances of Staying

Cory Spangenberg – 3/10 Chances of Staying

With that done, we can envision the future Padres Roster a year from now:

Pitchers

Bullpen:

Kirby Yates (Closer)

Craig Stammen (Setup)

Robert Stock (Setup)

Andres Munoz

Phil Maton

Robbie Erlin

Jose Castillo

Jacob Nix

Rotation:

Joey Lucchesi

Eric Lauer

Chris Paddack

Logan Allen

Matt Strahm

Lineup:

  1. Manuel Margot CF
  2. Luis Urías 2B
  3. Wil Myers LF
  4. Eric Hosmer 1B
  5. Fernando Tatis Jr. SS
  6. Francisco Mejía C
  7. Christian Villanueva 3B
  8. Franmil Reyes RF
  9. Pitcher

Bench:

Hunter Renfroe

Travis Jankowski

Freddy Galvis

Austin Hedges

So that’s what this team could look like a year from now, which is pretty exciting when we consider the talent of the prospects on the way to the big leagues. We’ve made seven cuts to the current roster, adding seven prospects we think will be on the team at this time next year. For the most part, the roster will be kept intact at this time next year, but it looks like there’ll be some noticeable turnover as well. Of course guys like Franchy Cordero will probably be on the roster, but because of his injury he was not included in the roster. This is a team that could potentially challenge for a wild card spot, similarly to the way the 2015 Cubs did. If Preller decides to go out and sign a big free agent, the chances of competing for a wild card would likely increase substantially. It’s impossible to really know what the team will look like next year, but whatever happens, it’s looking like a much improved version of the current major league roster.

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Conrad Parrish
Sophomore at Willamette University in Oregon. Majoring in Spanish and Psychology, but also a writing center assistant for other students at school. Been a Padres die-hard my whole life, and hope to bring comprehensible statistical analysis to the site.

This article has 13 Comments

  1. ” If Preller decides to go out and sign a big free agent, the chances of competing for a wild card would likely increase substantially.”

    Not so sure about that. Preller’s “big free agent” signings haven’t worked out too well. We’re probably better off if he just works with what we have now. Maybe he can make a trade where we don’t get taken to the cleaners.

    1. Wait, you mean Shields and Hosmer? But they were high character, announcement signings, designed to turn around clubhouse culture and advertise the coming powerhouse Padres teams.
      Oh, nevermind.

  2. I agree with most of the above. I do think it’s a little early for a couple of guys (Paddock, Munoz, Tatis). I think Cordero beats out Janakowski. If the Padres can get two front line starters via trade or free agency, that wouldn’t be a bad team.

  3. By and large I agree with your assessments. The 2B mess will be cleared out when Urias arrives, though one of those guys will hang on as a backup. You’ve probably placed Tatis too high in the order, swaps places with Mejia. We never hear of Alex Dickerson anymore, and at 28, and with his injury history, his chances are done. And what of Bryan Mitchell? Gone, one can only hope.
    What of course is dismal is having Myers and Hosmer hit 3,4. I’m fine with thinking a nearly all rookie rotation can be competitive (let’s dream a little), but there’s no way a team with two below average hitters in the heart of the order goes to the playoffs. No way. And that’s the elephant in the room. Preller’s two biggest cash outlays are a serious impediment to this team ever being good enough. Maybe they live with Myers, but Hosmer is having a dreadful year, and as he turns 29 in October it’s only going to get worse.

  4. I’ve been hearing a few rumblings that Mejia may be traded during the off-season as part of a package for a pitcher, possibly Syndergaard. A package centered around Mejia, Logan Allen, and Hunter Renfroe would be very enticing to the Mets.

    1. The Mets will want more than one proven MLer, not a C prospect with defensive issues, an unproven prospect and a C playing RF. If that package would net Syndergaard, Preller would’ve jumped at it already.

      1. I’m not saying those three as the whole package, but as a starting point. I’m well aware that it would take more. But Allen, who sits around 10 in most Padres prospect rankings, would be a top three in most other systems. We also have pitchers like Reggie Lawson, Luis Latino, and possibly Cal Quantrill that could be added. Again, this is just a possibility I came up with based on things I’ve heard from other writers.

        1. What you say is possible. A normal team would look for a package of well regarded prospects, say if we’re talking the Tigers and Fulmer, or what the Pirates gave for Archer (though both are much less valuable than Syndergaard or de Grom). But the Mets are stubborn and stupid, and will insist on getting more just because they “need it” and you want the trade, as if that justifies it. We have the farm system to swing a deal, but only if we accept being overcharged.

          1. Agree that the Mets are stubborn, though nowhere near as bad as the Orioles ownership and front office.

    1. Lmao Bob I was thinking the same thing!! And have Jacob Nix in the bullpen when he is clearly a starter, and Straham a starter when he thrived in the bullpen.

      P.s EVT are you guys hiring writers? Just saying..

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