Padres Must Deal Hot Talent Lava Before it Hardens

Credit: Times of San Diego

There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres farm system is stacked.

With literally dozens of relevant prospects in the system, the Padres future is very bright.

Hot lava talent is everywhere in the minor leagues, but beware. The prospects all can’t be successful. There will be duds. There will be flops. That is just how it goes in major league  baseball. Nothing is a given. The Padres have thankfully surrounded themselves with so much talent that success should come. No matter what.

Not all lava is created equal. Some will harden and turn into igneous rock. As the lava cools, it looses its flexibility and becomes predictable and brittle. Right now as magma, these prospects have upside to be determined. The Padres job, like every other major league team, is to evaluate their own prospects and deal from a point of strength or trade prospects who you deem as having over inflated value right now.

Predicting which prospects will flame out is difficult, but the Padres do have depth in numerous areas.

Here are some groupings of prospects to keep an eye on as this winter approaches. The team will inevitably make a trade or two.

Catching depth

Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia have the major league job on lock down presently. They are both just entering their major league careers, but the Padres have multiple prospects behind them at the catcher position who could be useful. Austin Allen is probably the closest to being major league ready. He has a terrific left-handed bat, but has been slow to develop with the glove. Behind him, the team has Luis Campusano, Luis Torrens and Blake Hunt who are all viable catching prospects. Both Hunt and Campusano were drafted last year and are still teenagers. Torrens is playing well in 2018 and has a year of major league service time under his belt after being selected from the Yankees last year in the Rule-5 draft. If the team chooses to part with some catching depth, it would not be catastrophic to the future.

Starting pitching depth

Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, Jacob Nix, Brett Kennedy and Walker Lockett all made their major league debuts this year in the starting staff. All had success in some degree except for maybe Lockett. There are plenty more pitchers behind them, in the minors, led by Cal Quantrill and Logan Allen in El Paso as well as Chris Paddack and Michel Baez in San Antonio. Then there are the dozens of teenagers lower in the system, including Adrian Morejon, MacKenzie Gore and Ryan Weathers. The Padres have so much pitching that it really is inevitable that they move some. It will be interesting to see who they dangle up in trade talks this fall.

Credit: NBC7

Young middle infield depth

The Padres have needed a shortstop for seemingly ever. Freddy Galvis has been a fresh of breathe air after the years of Alexei Ramirez, Clint Barmes, Alexi Amarista at the position. The team has addressed that issue for the future by signing and drafting multiple young players who can play either short or second base. This year alone, they drafted Owen Miller and Xavier Edwards in June and both have taken off with their production. Names like Luis Almanzar, Gabriel Arias, Jordy Barley, Olivier Basabe, Tucupita Marcano and Justin Lopez could be useful for a team looking for a lottery ticket in the middle infield. At this point Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr. are locked at the positions up the middle for the future.

No room for outfielders

Now this isn’t an area of depth exactly, but Manuel Margot is 23, Franmil Reyes is 23, Hunter Renfroe is 26, Franchy Cordero is 24. The Padres are pretty set in the outfield for the time being. Players like Michael Gettys, Buddy Reed, Edward Olivares and Jorge Ona could be deemed expendable, as they simply will not have an opportunity to play. Reed took off this year in the California League, but has struggled since being promoted to Double-A. Gettys has plenty of tools and is still very young (22). Ona and Olivares have been in Lake Elsinore all year and still have some maturing to do with the bat. The Padres have plenty of youth beyond these men as well, in players like Tirso Ornelas, Jeisson Rosario and Mason House.

The Lava is flowing in the Padres system currently, but there will be a time when it gets backed up at Petco Park. The team will eventually need to trade some prospects to fill holes in other areas. Especially as the team starts to compete in the National League and become relevant. A.J. Preller and his staff are surely in a deep self-evaluation of each and every player as they attempt to determine who has what it takes to compete and be successful at the major league level.

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James Clark
James was born and raised in America's Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that's our motto. Enjoy.

This article has 27 Comments

    1. If he wants a look, he HAS to lose some weight. You can’t be a good outfielder with all that weight. If he lost 30 lbs, he would be much more mobile. Not sure how it would affect his bat, but if I was Preller, I would get him a life coach, chef and trainer and make him work his ass off this winter dangling the carrot of a spot in San Diego.

    1. No way does Quantrill go anywhere, but certainly not in a deal with that many prospects…which Allen are you talking about Austin or Logan?

      While I’d live to have deGrom, that’s too much…depending on which Allen you’re talking about that’s 3 starting pitchers and an established starting catcher with power…that’s a ton for a 30 year old pitcher who is arbitration eligible after 2019…which means free agency in 2020…so that’s 1-2 years if he doesn’t get hurt…

      While I love your enthusiasm, deGrom will be on the downside from overuse by the fledgling Mets in the 2-3 years it will take the Padres to be relevant…If deGrom is still pitching at a high level when the Padres need a starter to leap into the playoffs and go deep, then maybe…right now isn’t the right time…

    2. For 2 years of De Grom going into his second year of arbitration. Just stupid to give away that much control for 2 years of anyone. They aren’t one pitcher away and won’t be during the two years you have of Jacob.

  1. Not to be rude, but I feel that “hot lava talent” Boras reference has long since gone stale. Maybe if we let it rest a while, who knows?

  2. $100 million + Myers + Hosmer … (and Quantrill + Meija + Asuaje) … for De Grom. I realize $100 million is, well, $100 million, but Myers and Hosmer are already a sunk cost. [that just reveals how bad those deals are] If they can get someone to bite, then wow, they’d be doing the Padres a favor. If the Padres can camouflage M + H, and sweeten it with $100 (Preller routinely pays other teams millions of dollars anyway) AND they get something in return, then great.

    1. … also … it would free up several spots on the 40 man roster, and would open up the log jam on the current roster, and make it MUCH more flexible, particularly with first base. From the Mets perspective they would be getting at least 3 starters, and at least a couple of All Stars (and $100 million!) all for a few years of De Grom.

      1. Hard to say how you breakdown the 100M. So all of Wil for free for 4 yrs. (73M) plus 2019 of Hos for free and then taking on 3yrs 61M (opt out) plus Quantrill and Mejia. No other rotation spot is locked up. An inexperienced bullpen. No starting 1B, no starting SS, no starting 3B. Not to mention 5 OF competing for three spots with not one securely planted anywhere.

        Plus a future starting C 4 years younger than their own, and a middle rotation arm with 6 yrs of control for 2, yes 2 years of control both going to arbitration and not going to be cheap. Ha ha ha ha hha aaaah.

        Not even Degrom could save that mess. Ridiculous suggestion.

        1. Ummmmm … you missed the point. The point is, that is how “ridiculous” the contracts are for M&H, and so the Padres have to attached A LOT of value just to get another team to “bite” on taking the bait, then they’d be set free. This doesn’t even have to be for De Grom, it could be for a back up catcher. Sooner or later the Padres will send off one or both of Myers and Hosmer … along with a lot of value (probably paying most of the contract). And Preller will also give away other bad contracts, and have to pay someone to take them off his hands. This will continue until the ownership wakes up … and/or enough Preller-Enablers wake up.

    2. Not even the Mets are this dumb. What you propose is not a trade, it is a toilet flush. The idea does have appeal, though who the 2 All stars are you think the Mets would be getting, I have no idea.
      Might I suggest this add on, that the Mets have to take on Preller as their new GM.

      1. Ha! I actually thought of ways to include Preller in my trade proposal, but saw it as a deal breaker, and the Padres are too desperate (or should be desperate) to get jettison Myers/Hosmer to include Preller. The sad reality is that so many players make the All-Star team these days, and once they do, they are forever considered to be All-Stars (e.g. Myers; Hosmer).

        1. Why is there so much anti-Preller rhetoric out there? Is he goofy? Yes, but he was given marching orders to “win now” when he was hired which is not his forte.

          When the results spoke for themselves, Preller convinced the owners to scrap that plan and go with his 5 year plan…

          It’s becau of Preller that we can even talk about trading prospects for someone like deGrom…it isn’t going to happen, but at least we can talk/dream intelligently about it and not get laughed out of the room…

          Would I rather have KT over Preller…absolutely, but that’s an impossibility and Preller has done an amazing job restocking the farm system. maybe even better than KT would have…

          I haven’t seen Hosmer do anything yet, but it’s too soon to call that a bust…Myers on the other hand? I haven’t been sold on him since he got here and I really wish we had Trey Turner here instead…

          However, EVERY GM tanks a trade every once in a while… every team acquires someone they wouldn’t have if hindsight was actually 20-20…

          Personally I’m very happy with Preller and the job he’s doing…sorry you’re not, but I’ve been living and dying with this team since 1971 and it’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about the future…

          Go Pads!!

          1. It is because, overall, he is horrible at putting a good team together. I’m not so sure he was given those direct orders, but even if he was, he made some trades that were horrific at the time of the trade (Kemp; Myers; etc), and have proven to be worse and worse as time goes on. They were not just bad trades, there were really destructive then, and now. And I am not convinced that Preller had to convince ownership of changing directions.
            Also, he consistently makes moves that are so bad that he forces the Padres to pay other teams MILLIONS of dollars to have former Padre players compete against the Padres. AND he will likely continue to do so, particularly if the Padres are going to be able to better compete.
            While he should get at least some credit for rebuilding the farm, he inherited a top farm system to begin with, and he traded away the top assets to add to the system, and he was given a near blank check to sign international players (who gets to do that?!), and there were existing players that came up through the system. Yet so many given him all the credit (he should get some, but not all).
            Myers and Hosmer were not merely bad moves, they, too, were horrific, particularly Hosmer.
            In addition to Hosmer being a below average 1B, it also has a lot to do with his position, the amount of money given (when there was no real competition for his services), the absurd length of the contract, 1B was anything but an area of need, 1B is the easiest position to fill (and the Padres have a glut of players that could), he now blocks and displaces several other players, he greatly decreased the value of Myers, etc. This made no sense on any level, and he/they had to known this, but he did it anyway.
            That is about the same amount of time for me, and it has been painful. They do have hope going forward, but the best thing is, sadly, if Preller makes very few significant moves.

        2. Hate on AJ all you want.. you think Billy Eppler, Mike Hazen or Kim Ng would have them in better spot right now? I guarantee you the minorleagues wouldn’t look like it looks now. Show me where the 2014 purge was on AJ. 2016 and 2017 looks dramatically different than 2015 and you know what’s missing in 2016/ 17; Mike Dee.

          Have there been some questionable moves? Sure but no more than any other team. They just need to hold the course through the 2019 season and adjust accordingly based on where they are at. A front line starter isn’t needed until then cause there are many other things that need to shake out first.

          Hos and Wil salaries don’t strap them in any way as they build towards contention. If things don’t work out Hos will opt out and by that time Myers will be coming off the books too. Just chalk that up to dealing with a reboot and move along. If none of the prospects have shown staying power by then you will have your wish as AJ and Andy will both be gone.

          1. Yes, I do think those 3 would have the club in a better spot. They wouldn’t have created the medical records scandal that disgraced the team. They wouldn’t have liar McGwire wear our uniform. And there’s no way any of them would have been stupid enough to sign Hosmer.

  3. Padres will be careful in figuring out who are keepers and who are the expendables. Remember Corey Kluber was a Padres farmhand. They gave up on him when he was 24. He did not become a successful pitcher until he was in Cleveland during his third year at age 27.

  4. You are right in that not all prospects will make it, but it’s also true that it is not always possible to know which prospects will make it. That is why a team in rebuild should rarely trade prospects. It’s a numbers game. Amass a ton of high draft picks, sign a ton of international free agents, and then develop this young talent.
    The first reason to trade prospects is to extract value from players you think will not make it, selling high before other teams realize they will not make it. The better way is to just wait and see who makes it, then sell low on those who don’t. Eliminate the possibility of guessing wrong by foregoing the extra value received by selling high.
    The second reason to trade prospects is to acquire talent that the farm seems unlikely to produce. So if you need a frontline pitcher, and feel you don’t have one coming up, then you trade from your depth for that pitcher. The key to this is the timing. This club is nowhere near that point.
    And what do we get back for these non-elite prospects? Not much. Teams do not trade good to very good ML players for anything less than top 20 prospects.
    Of course you are right that eventually that time will come, and your optimism in writing this piece now, possibly 3 or 4 years in advance is admirable, but let’s wait until we have a few all stars before we start trading blocked players.

    1. I have to admit something here…I disagree with ALL of your opinions… you truly are a “the sky is falling” kind of person….

      I don’t have enough time to address everything that your surmised because there is so much, but here are some highlights:

      In what universe did the Padres have even a top 15 farm system before AJ arrived? Never has anyone ever said such a thing…the only player AJ traded away that I want back is Turner…no one else that Preller moved is making any waves at all…

      Those “bad trades” were flipped and the farm system is ranked #1 in several publications…that has NEVER been the case before…Shields for Tatis Jr? Looks pretty good from here…

      Pretty much everything else you wrote is plain conjecture and based solely on your disdain…there isn’t one expert out there that agrees with you…there’s even more amateurs who disagree with you…other than Kemp, who are the Padres paying big money to play against them?

      And Hosmer is a “below average 1B”? You lost all credibility there…that guy is a Good Glover with WS ring and is a leader…is he having a tough year? Yes he is, but he ain’t alone on this team…

      Tanned Tom, you need to up your SPF because I think some sunburn has affected your views…No intent at an insult there, just my view from the cheap seats…you sir are dead wrong and I don’t have the first clue where you are getting your opinions from…

      You don’t have to like Preller (and your assumption that the other candidates would do better is pure guesswork), but AJ is who we have and his plan is solid…and yes, he was given directions from the owners to win now when he got here…why else would he change from his previous philosophy about building the farm system?

      Are you new to Padre fandom? That’s the only explanation that makes any sense…

      Go Pads!!

      1. I think you got the “Toms” mixed up, and/or you replied to the wrong Tom (as opposed to Tommy). And speaking of being wrong…
        1) “In what universe did the Padres have even a top 15 farm system before AJ arrived? Never has anyone ever said such a thing…” A little research and/or common knowledge would help here (do a search for top systems in the 2012 range). They did not merely have a “top 15 farm system,” they had numero uno! https://topprospectalert.com/2011/12/14/2012-mlb-farm-system-rankings-with-top-15-prospects-for-each-team/
        2) “Those “bad trades” were flipped and the farm system is ranked #1 in several publications
        You make it sound like Preller merely “flipped” some of HIS “bad trades” (as if they were not bad trades) and magically turned them into the #1 system. That is highly misleading, at best. Also, as we know, he inherited the #1 system (or a top 3 to 5 system, depending on who we are looking at). This is like describing a person who has a million dollars in stocks, who liquidates most of it, is given a million more dollars (i.e. Preller was given close to a blank check to sign international players), and then that person buys back a bunch of stock … back to the point where he has a million dollars in stock … and then is praised for building up the stock! [note: you are not alone in this]
        3) …that has NEVER been the case before”
        Sorry, you could not be more wrong, again. “NEVER”? See above, it was ranked #1 the year around when Preller took over, and it has been #1 at least once or twice before.
        4) “Pretty much everything else you wrote is plain conjecture and based solely on your disdain…there isn’t one expert out there that agrees with you”
        Wrong on the “plain conjecture” (but nice word usage), as proven above, and any research, and wrong on the ascribing motives (see above), and wrong on lack of a single expert agreeing with me (see research, see above).
        5) “And Hosmer is a “below average 1B”? You lost all credibility there…that guy is a Good Glover with WS ring and is a leader…”
        Speaking of losing credibility (defending Hosmer is probably not the best thing) … Take his OPS or WAR, or some other significant stat/measure (which are in flux during the year, so above average, average, and below average will be in flux), and then compare that with other 1B’s. Given that, he is below average in quality compared to the other first basemen. He isn’t even the best first baseman on his own team! And, at least in the future, I’d much rather have the upside of Naylor, Austin, etc … not to mention they would come at over $100 million less. Yes, he was awarded the Gold Glove, but, as is widely known and agreed upon, even by “experts,” this award is not overly objective. Take a look at his defensive ratings (as mentioned in more than one article here) and he is in the NEGATIVE rating. As for a good leader? Maybe …
        6) “I don’t have the first clue where you are getting your opinions from…”
        Well, this one is accurate! (see above)
        7) “Are you new to Padre fandom? That’s the only explanation that makes any sense…”
        Wrong, again. I am old. My “Padre fandom” started before most of the people are on here were born, including most of the writers. That fact, and the countless other facts, is “the only explanation that makes any sense”… and reveals yet another error on your part.
        I appreciate your zeal, and desire, but please pour more of your zeal into learning the facts … at least before you state non-facts and facts, and judge others as wrong ; )

        1. For what it is worth, I just checked the stats on ESPN. Hosmer ranked 21st out of 23 first basemen!! (in OPS) He is last in the NL (13th out of 13) [They only list 23 first basemen overall] That is FAR worse than I thought … and he beat out Pujols by .02 points! So he is only ahead of Albert Pujols and Christ Davis! Today he is third from last place, by tonight he could be second to last. But I guess this is where I lose all credibility?

          1. OK, I replied to “Tanned Tom” so I’m not sure why you got that wrong other than you are so intent on bashing someone you grasped at the first pro-Padre post you saw…

            Second, a little research on your part would have shown the link you used to try and prove me wrong regarding past Padre farm systems has this to say at the end:

            “Disclaimer – I did not attend any minor league games this year, nor do I claim to have any scouting experience. These lists are the product of my own research of statistics and online scouting reports.”

            Hmmm…yes credibility is not your strong suit…

            I said Hosmer is having a tough year…you’re basing your opinion about him on the current year, a year in which I admitted he is struggling…EVERY player has down years now and then, I am just as disappointed as the next fan in his performance this year, but he is still worth keeping around since he’s here…would I have signed him? No, but I’m at least willing to give a Gold Glove, WS experienced leader a chance redeem himself…

            You on the other hand? No, not so much regardless of how long you consider yourself to be a Padre fan…we don’t have to agree and that’s fine, but jumping in on my comments to another reader/poster and trying to make yourself a victim while using insignificant “data” was a poor tactic to use with me…I don’t pretend to be a savant when it comes to the Padres, but clearly I’ve forgotten more than you actually know…

            Go Padres!!

  5. Who do you think are most expendable?

    I think a package of quantril and Austin Allen would net a front of the line starter (and maybe throw in Gabe arias because how hot he’s rn) that could send this team to the next level and check one of the rule 5 draft players currently bunched up right now.

    1. Absolutely not. Allen and Quantrill (plus a low level, raw talent as you suggested) would get an Innings eater, younger arm. But Front line? No team would do that, except possibly for a half season rental.

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