21. Tucupita Marcano, SS
With arguably the greatest name in all of professional baseball, Tucupita Marcano has to be one of the more underrated prospects in this system. Signed by the Padres in the 2016-2017 international period for only $320,000, Marcano made his professional debut last season and batted .366/.450/.430 between the Arizona Rookie League and the Tri-City Dust Devils.
Marcano’s contact skills are a thing of beauty. His 60 hit tool as a 19-year-old speaks for itself, but the Venezuelan native makes consistent hard contact with the baseball and knows how to drive pitches into the gaps. His knowledge and comfort with the strike zone are impressive, as Marcano struck out fewer times (16) than he walked (30) last year. Defensively, Marcano is currently a shortstop but a below-average arm and the arrival of Fernando Tatis Jr. likely means that Marcano will shift over to second base at some point in his career.
A strong 2019 season for Marcano could see him skyrocket up some prospect lists. He has the tools necessary to be a quality player at the next level and he just needs to continue to develop on the track that he’s on to get there. Marcano will start the season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps and it’s very likely that he will be in Lake Elsinore at some point this year.
22. Jeisson Rosario, OF
Coveted as one of the best athletes in his international class, the Padres signed Jeisson Rosario for $1.85 dollars in 2016. Rosario made his full-season debut last season with the TinCaps, where he batted .271/.368/.353 with 18 stolen bases.
Rosario is your prototypical gritty contact hitter. He’s not much of a power guy, although his 6’1″ frame suggests there is potential for some power to come, but he consistently makes solid contact with the baseball and gets on base at a high rate. Rosario is very disciplined for his age and recognizes what pitches he can do damage with and which ones he should let go. His speed makes him a legitimate threat on the base paths and allows him to cover plenty of ground in the outfield, where he projects as a plus defender.
While Rosario’s lack of power might be a concern, his overall hitting ability, and his borderline elite athleticism should make up for it. The only thing this kid needs is to continue to develop his abilities and he has the potential to be an everyday major league player.
23. Edward Olivares, OF
Acquired by the Padres in the Yangervis Solarte trade, Olivares has been an interesting prospect since joining the system.
Olivares has a long and lanky frame that allows him to extend his arms and drive the ball consistently. He makes solid contact and has a simple swing that gets the job done. While he might not be hitting for much power now, his frame suggests that there is a potential for consistent power if he just fills out and bulks up. Olivares is an above-average runner on the basepaths and uses this speed to aid him defensively, where he can play all three outfield positions and projects to be an above-average defensive player as well.
Despite the fact that he put up solid numbers last season in the California League, Olivares is 23 years old and is not necessarily on the “fast track” to the big leagues. He was primarily playing in a league full of 19 and 20-year-olds last season and did not dominate and likely won’t sniff major league action until he is 25 or older. His ability to get on base is worrisome as well, as his on-base percentage has decreased every single year since his professional debut. While there is some upside here, Olivares is likely a trade piece or just organizational depth at this point.
24. Andres Munoz, RHP
Signed by the Padres in the 2015-2016 international spending period, Munoz comes from the same Mexican team that produced both Luis Urias and Tirso Ornelas. The 20-year-old Sinaloa native might be one of the team’s more impressive prospects, as Munoz signed with the Padres as a 17-year-old and is already knocking on the doorsteps of the major league club just three years later.
His repertoire is simple: power fastball and slider. Munoz’s fastball consistently sits in the triple digits as he is easily one of the hardest throwers in the entire minor leagues. His slider plays off his fastball well and gives him a strong secondary pitch that he can use to put batters away on a consistent basis. While Munoz does possess a changeup, it is a below-average pitch and he primarily sticks with his two-pitch mix.
The only real problem with Munoz is his control. He walks way too many batters and has trouble finding the strike zone at times, which is obviously detrimental to his ability to be a reliable bullpen arm at the next level. When he is on and in control, Munoz is close to being unhittable. He is one simple fix away from being a devastating closer and should see his first taste of major league action this year.
25. Gabriel Arias, SS
Gabriel Arias was one of the top prospects of the 2016-2017 international spending period and the Padres’ paid him nearly $2 million to ensure his services. He was promoted to Fort Wayne almost immediately in 2017 and had a solid start to his professional career. Arias did not build well off his inaugural success, however, as the 19-year-old batted .240/.302/.352 with the TinCaps last season and seemed to be in a slump all year.
Despite the lack of offensive production last season, there is still plenty of room for Arias to grow. He is still very young and was a highly touted international prospect for a reason, as scouts obviously saw something they liked in him. His swing looked simple and easy in training camp this spring as opposed to the long swing he had last season. Getting his bat into the zone earlier will allow him to drive the ball on a more consistent basis, as opposed to last year where he struggled to make consistent hard contact.
Arias offensive struggles last year were clear, but he did showcase his incredible defensive ability. He has all the necessary tools to play short (arm strength, footwork, glove work, etc.) and most scouts agree that he will be an above-average defender once he fully develops. Despite dropping on most prospect lists, Arias is still very young and has plenty of time to figure his struggles out. His name should be on most radars as a guy to skyrocket up prospect lists if he has a solid 2019 season.
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