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Padres Prospectus’ Top 50 Prospects: 1-50

Over the course of this week, Padres Prospectus will announce their Top 50 prospect list, unveiling ten prospects at a time along with some brief commentary from our writing staff.  One of the reasons that sites like MLB Pipeline and Minor League Ball only list top 20-30 prospects is because it can be a bit of a crap shoot once you get past that number; nevertheless, we’ve compiled our rankings by trying to strike an appropriate balance between the floors, ceilings, and past performances of prospects in the organization.

With that being said, there are a few guys omitted from the list that could have just as easily ended up on on tail-end depending on the evaluator(s).

**Players in Extended Spring Training and Instructional Leagues will be listed as unassigned.

50.  Tre Carter – CF, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

Tre Carter is a toolsy CF taken by the Padres in the 11th round of the 2016 draft. Old for his class, Carter is already playing in his age 20 season for Tri-City. The young outfielder has insane potential – his ceiling is that of a true 5-tool player. Already, Carter has great speed, good defense, and a strong arm. The main question for Carter, like many young prospects, is his ability to produce at the plate. However,  at the lowest stateside farm league, Carter put a very good year together in 2016, slashing .298/.411/.383 in 12 games. His future will rely on his progression in hitting, and adding more power certainly wouldn’t hurt.  – Chad Hamner

49.  Justin Lopez – SS, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

17-year-old SS Justin Lopez joined the organization in the 2016 July 2nd international free agent class, signing for $1.2 million. Despite only being ranked the 28th best IFA prospect for the 2016 class, Lopez has continually impressed scouts with an advanced feel at the plate and steady defense. At his age, most IFA prospects live in the organization’s Dominican facility, but the young shortstop opened the year with Low-A level Tri-City as the only player on the roster born in the year 2000. – Chad Hamner

48.  Brad Wieck – RP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

I would’ve put Wieck a bit higher than this at the beginning of the season, after posting a 1.17 ERA and a 13.9 K/9 rate last year, between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio.  He’s slipped a bit this year, allowing more runs while seeing his BB/9 rate jump from 3.5 to 4.4, much too high to be a consistently effective late innings option.  Teammate Trey Wingenter seems to hold the “closer” title for the Missions, though Wieck has closed out a few games for them.  The 6’7″ Texan with a big fastball has a lot of potential, but there aren’t a lot of 25-year-old relievers in Double-A that end up making their way to the majors. – Marcus Pond

47.  Henry Henry – SP, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

The Padres nabbed Henry Henry and his grade 80 name during the 2015 International Signing Period for $400,000.  He’ll need serious time to develop in the lower levels of the minors, but at the time of that signing, Henry was just 16 years old and possessed a heater that touched the lower 90’s.  His large projectable frame has seen him already add a couple of ticks to that. – Travis Barnett

46.  Ty France – 1B/3B, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

A 34th round pick (1,017th) overall, France started out the year in Lake Elsinore and had limited playing time, stuck behind Josh Naylor at first base.  After getting a promotion to Double-A, he has exploded, slugging .504 in his first 36 Texas League games while playing a solid third base (a position he played most of the time in college as a San Diego State Aztec).  He has some gap power and has really made an impression while playing against advanced competition, and while he doesn’t strike out much (15.7% this year), he will need to walk more than 3.5% and add some long balls if he want a shot at the bigs.

45: Alison Quintero – C, Unassigned

Quintero was one of the Padres’ bevy of 2016 international signings, coming to the team for a $830K bonus.  Baseball America  had the 17-year-old catcher from Venezuela as their #22 prospect in the class. He has just played in instructional league games so far and is obviously years away from the majors. – Dan McMenamin

44: Jerry Keel – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

A 2015 ninth-rounder from CSU Northridge, Keel has played at three minor league levels this year, starting at Low-A Fort Wayne before jumping up to AA San Antonio and then going down to High-A Lake Elsinore. Across the three levels, the 6 feet 6 inch lefty pitcher has a 3.15 ERA with just under a strikeout per inning. He has been mostly starting in the minors but likely profiles as a lefty-specialist reliever if he makes it to the big leagues — so far this year through Sunday, he had an .839 OPS given up to righty batters vs. an insanely good .291 OPS to lefties. – Dan McMenamin

43.  Brett Kennedy – SP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

A right-handed pitcher taken in the 11th round of the 2015 draft, Brett Kennedy has had a quietly solid start to his professional career.  He sits low 90s with his fastball and has been improving with his slider since the start of the season.  He has good control and hasn’t walked more than three hitters in any of his starts for the Missions this year.  In his last nine starts, he has a 2.44 ERA to go along with 50 strikeouts and eight walks.  While he doesn’t have a super high ceiling, his floor could be higher than expected.  – Marcus Pond

42.  Pedro Avila – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

Pedro Avila, a 20-year-old RHP, was acquired from the Nationals in the 2016-2017 offseason in exchange for Derek Norris (who is now with the Rays). Avila impressed last year at the Nationals A-Level affiliate, despite his small stature (5’11”) and thin frame (170lbs), with a 3.48ERA in 93IP with almost a strikeout an inning. In his first year in the Padres organization, however, Avila has struggled at Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore with a combined 5.33ERA in 49IP. Yet, ERA is not the full story – Avila is striking out more, walking less, and giving up less home runs, which are all important signs of advancement for a young pitcher. He needs to find more consistency and give up less hits, but there is still plenty to be excited about. – Chad Hamner

41.  Eguy Rosario – 3B, Unassigned

After a fifty game appearance for the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the seventeen year old third baseman proved to be not quite ready for the level, slashing just .207/.296/.278, but nonetheless, he flashed his tantalizing speed by stealing seventeen bases.  He projects to have plus tools across the board with the exception of the power tool, but it is his age and the volatility of young, small-stature prospects that prevents him from being a bit higher on our list. – Travis Barnett

40.  Trey Wingenter – RP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

Where you would rank Wingenter on a top prospect list would depend on how much stock you put into relievers.  For those that believe a bullpen is the easiest thing to build at the major league level, he’s probably much lower.   However, with the arrival of Phil Maton to the majors, we can see that there’s still enough to get excited with if they have the stuff, and Wingenter has some serious stuff.  At 6’7″, he’s a big dude with some big heat, including a fastball that touches 99 MPH.  It’d be great if he could shave off a few walks here and there (his minor league career walk rate is 3.6 per nine innings), but he strikes out a ton of guys and didn’t allow a home run until his third season of minor league ball, so he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on. – Marcus Pond

39.  Mason House – OF, Unassigned

Padres third round selection from this year’s draft already looks the part of a major leaguer, but he needs to learn to tap into that raw plus power before he can work his way up in the organization.  Additionally, while he was a center fielder in high school, the speed and glove are more suited for a corner outfield spot where there is a little more scarcity in the organization.– Travis Barnett

38.  Ruddy Giron – 3B, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

Ruddy Giron burst onto the scene back in 2015, announcing his arrival to the minors with a perfect 6 for 6 game as an 18-year-old.  He is 20 now, and much of that initial prospect shine has worn off, but he strikes me as an under the radar that’s worth checking up on now and then.  He lacks pop and doesn’t make a ton of solid contact, profiling him as a midde infield bat.  He has spent time at short, and from what I’ve seen is a good defender, but Javier Guerra is more advanced and gets the playing time there.  Giron’s much younger than the league average, so it’s likely that he’ll work a few things out in Lake Elsinore as he gets his bearings.  I could see him being potentially much higher on this list at the end of the season, but it’s also possible that he treads a bit of water and repeats High-A next year. – Marcus Pond

37.  Hansel Rodriguez – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

After being signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2014 by the Toronto Blue Jays, Rodriguez was shipped to San Diego in last summer’s Melvin Upton Jr. trade.  His heater has plenty of velocity, especially for a twenty year old, but his secondary pitches are still very raw despite international scouts being impressed by his breaking ball upon signing.  As his 5.27 ERA at Fort Wayne indicates, he’s years away from contributing to the major league squad; although, he garners a place on our list because the ceiling is still high for the young right-hander that simply needs to develop his arsenal and clean up his delivery.– Travis Barnett

36: Tirso Ornelas – OF, Unassigned

A strong lefty hitter, the 17-year-old outfielder was Baseball America’s #34 international signing last year  and apparently got the highest signing bonus in MLB history for a player from Mexico. Scouting reports from BA  and Fangraphs  say he’ll be limited defensively, possibly ending up at first base, so he will have to mash at the plate to make up for it.– Dan McMenamin

35.  Jesse Scholtens – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

The Padres’ ninth-rounder from 2016 via Wright State has pitched much better than expected, with his most recent start on June 15 for High-A Lake Elsinore being a complete game, the first for anyone in the Cal League this year. He has a 2.61 ERA for the Storm after a 2.45 ERA with 9+ strikeouts per 9 innings for Low-A Fort Wayne. Scholtens has the ceiling of a 4th or 5th starter in the majors if he continues his success into the high minors.–Dan McMenamin

34.  Buddy Reed – CF, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

A 2016 second-round pick last year, Reed has been underwhelming so far in the Padres’ system as a 22-year-old outfielder for Low-A Fort Wayne. The switch-hitter from University of Florida has good speed and solid defense, but an utter lack of hitting so far (a .583 OPS through 93 plate appearances for Fort Wayne) will have to turn around if he has any hope at getting to the majors.– Dan McMenamin

33.  Nick Torres – OF, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

2016 was a great year to be Nick Torres.  After starting the season in Double-A and putting together a solid season, the young outfielder out of Cal Poly was promoted to El Paso, and continued doing more of the same.  After hitting 14 extra base hits and slugging .504 in 36 games, I figured that he would start the season in Triple-A, but for whatever reason, Torres has repeated a season in the Texas League.  The results haven’t really been there this season (.240/.281/.346 in 57 games), but there’s hope that the former fourth-round draft pick (2014) can regain the promise he hinted at just a year ago. – Marcus Pond

32.  Austin Allen – C, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

Austin Allen is a bat-first catcher drafted out of Florida Tech in the 4th round of the 2015 MLB Draft.  The 23-year-old is slightly above the average age for the Cal League, but he’s hitting a decent .247/.341/.394 through 54 games this season.  Especially considering that his defense isn’t at an elite level, he’ll need to start hitting better if he intends to continue progressing up the system.  However, it’s always a good thing to have young catchers in the organization, and if Allen can achieve his potential at the plate and make positive steps behind it, he can be very valuable to any major league team. – Chad Hamner

31. Javier Guerra– SS, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

Guerra was widely thought of as the main prospect in the trade that sent Craig Kimbrel to Boston two offseasons ago.  He was touted as everything you could ask for in a shortstop: great defense, an amazing arm, a good hit tool, a solid runner, and even power to boot.  After his age 19 season in the Red Sox farm system, Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus ranked him in the mid-50’s of their top 100 prospect rankings.  Guerra was an elite talent with room to grow.  However, Guerra’s performance took a nosedive in 2016 that has continued into this season.  Whether it be an undisclosed injury or something with his mental outlook, the only thing we know for sure is that Guerra is simply not the prospect he was in 2015.  Repeating a level at Lake Elsinore, Guerra strikes out too much, walks too little, and is hardly hitting at all.  The young Panamanian has fallen off the top prospect rankings, and despite his excellent defense at short, the odds aren’t great that he’ll be the impact player that it was hoped he’d be. – Chad Hamner

30. Franmil Reyes – RF, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

At 6’5″ and 240 lbs, Reyes has the size that you look for in a slugging corner outfielder.  As a 21-year-old, he’s shown that he can be a reliable middle of the order presence and isn’t overwhelmed by Double-A pitching (22.8% strikeout rate).  He should stay in San Antonio the duration of the season and improve his approach, but he strikes me as the type of player that could put up some big power numbers in the Pacific Coast League (Triple-A).  He hit 16 dingers last year in Lake Elsinore and seems to be on pace for that this year, but he’ll need to add a bit more pop if he wants to prove he can be an everyday major leaguer.  – Marcus Pond

29. Michael Kelly – SP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

Kelly was taken out of high school in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, and although he’s worked slowly through the minors, he’s had his best season to date in 2017 (9.2 K/9 rate, 2.86 ERA).  He tops out at 94 MPH on the fastball and is able to locate his secondary pitches well enough to mess with hitters at the Double-A level, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make the leap to the majors at some point near the end of the year.  His ranking here is more about his proximity to the majors than his actual ceiling, which is likely that of a back of the rotation guy. – Marcus Pond

28. José Rondon – SS, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

Back when the Padres traded for Huston Street, Rondon was the youngest, highest upside piece they got in return, and one of the Angels top prospects.  Their farm was pretty weak at the time, however, and despite Rondon’s efforts, the search for the shortstop of the Padres future is far from resolved.  He could be a solid utility player off the bench for a MLB team – the glove certainly plays, and he’s moved around the infield this year to give Luis Urías some experience at short.  The question is how well he’ll hit.  He was overmatched in a short stint with the Padres last year, but at 23 years old, he’s still young enough to believe he could develop into something.  He has added a little bit of power this year, and is slugging a career high .427 in the first half for the Missions. – Marcus Pond

27. Luis Campusano – C, Unassigned

The Padres’ second-round pick in this year’s draft, Campusano (announced in the draft as Luis Campusano-Bracero) is a high school catcher from Georgia who profiles as a low-average power hitter with a good arm behind the plate. We posted some links to evaluators’ takes on him on draft day (https://padsprospectus.com/2017/06/12/luis-campusano-bracero/). – Dan McMenamin

26. Franchy Cordero – OF, San Diego Padres

Franchy Cordero was playing in High-A Lake Elsinore at the beginning of 2016, and is now playing center field in the majors.  He made the leap by showing that he was able to learn a new position (he was a shortstop up until 2015, though he didn’t have a particularly good glove) and while using his speed and gap power to wreak havoc on pitching.  He hit 16 triples across three leagues last year, and we’ve seen him move from first to third with the best of them in Petco this year.  The key for him will be to cut down on the strikeouts (he currently owns a 39% K rate) and to continue to progress in the outfield.  While he’s made some brilliant plays, there are still room for improvement. – Marcus Pond

25. Walker Lockett – SP, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)

The 2012 fourth-rounder drafted out of high school had a breakout 2016, going all the way from Low-A to a few starts at AAA El Paso. As a 23-year-old at El Paso to start this year, Lockett hasn’t continued his upward ascent, getting 5.3 strikeouts per 9 innings with a 4.39 ERA before going on the DL with a lower back strain earlier this month. He has previous injury issues, including blisters and a shoulder problem, so will need a clean bill of health plus an uptick in performance to make the final jump from AAA to the Padres. – Dan McMenamin

24. Enyel De Los Santos – SP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

The Mariners traded De Los Santos to San Diego for Joaquin Benoit in 2015. The 21-year-old right-handed starting pitcher has been somewhat aggressively assigned to AA San Antonio this year to face opponents an average of 3+ years older than him and hasn’t fared particularly well, with a 5 ERA through Sunday. De Los Santos has a mid-90s fastball but lacks a quality secondary pitch, so will need to develop one to stick in the upper minors or big leagues. – Dan McMenamin

23. Gabriel Arias – SS, Unassigned

Like Almanzar, Arias is only seventeen years of age, so there’s a sizable range of risk and reward associated with the young shortstop,but his ceiling isn’t as high as Almanzar’s.  Nonetheless, Arias appears to possess the tools to develop into at least a quality starter down the road; although, the plethora of middle infielders in the system could push him to third base or the outfield.–Travis Barnett

22. Michael Gettys – CF, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

If there’s one word that would describe 2014 2nd round pick CF Michael Gettys, it’s potential. He has the potential to be a true 5-tool player – a good CF defensively, a strong arm, good speed, ability to hit, and can hit for (sometimes insane) power. However, Gettys has a long way to go before he uses all those tools at the major-league level.  At 21 years old in Lake Elsinore, Gettys has 103 strikouts in 67 games compared to only 26 walks. Also, despite an acceptable .259/.336/.436 batting line, Gettys’ ISO (isolated power) is only .177, which is not enough to justify his plus 30 percent strikeout rate. Obviously, Gettys problems identifying pitches and making consistent contact won’t be rectified by a promotion. —Chad Hamner

21. Luis Almanzar – SS, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

At just seventeen years of age, Almanzar could easily find himself near the top of our list with a strong showing for Tri-City.  His tool grades entering into the international signing period last year suggested that he could one day be a true five-tool player, flashing both plus hitting ability and plus power.  The only lingering question in his projection was whether he would outgrow the shortstop position as he filled out his frame.–Travis Barnett

20. Reggie Lawson – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

The 6’4″ right hander was one of the top high school arms taken in last year’s MLB Draft, selected 71st overall.  He sits mid 90s, and can amp it up even more, and couples his heat with a big, looping curve.  It’s not a plus pitch yet, and he will need to locate it better as he advances through the minors.  He’ll get compared to Mason Thompson, who he is good friends with from the high school circuit, but he is the more raw talent of the two, and will need the most refining.

19. Carlos Asuaje – IF, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)

At twenty-five years of age, Asuaje is the oldest prospect to crack our top twenty, but don’t let that fool you into thinking he isn’t a worthwhile prospect.  His grade 60 hit tool and his advanced approach at the plate could transform him into an on-base machine in the Major Leagues; last year, he slashed a stellar .321/.378/.473 but has struggled out of the gates this season, distorting his overall line.  With Urias poised to be the team’s future second baseman, Asuaje will likely have to shift to third base in the future. —Travis Barnett

18. Jeisson Rosario – SS, Unassigned

Rosario another member of the Preller’s 2016 international class, signing out of the Dominican Republic for $1.85 million.  He’s young but already displays a good feel for using the whole field when hitting, but he needs to develop power as he ages (just 17 right now).  Presently, the Padres envision Rosario sticking in center field; however, it’s not out of the question that range concerns could push him and that cannon of an arm into a corner.–Travis Barnett

17. Logan Allen – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

Logan Allen was included in the Craig Kimbrel deal, which also netted Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje, and Manuel Margot.  An eighth-round pick in 2015, he has dominated the Midwest League for the first half of the year, posting a 2.02 ERA and 10.8 K/9 rate.  The 6’3” lefty has been the most consistent pitching prospect in the system, never allowing more than three walks or three earned runs in any start.  He boasts a low 90s fastball and is still improving his secondary pitches, but look for him to get a call up to Lake Elsinore in the near future. – Marcus Pond

16. Joey Lucchesi – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

Lucchesi was the Padres’ draft pick after Mason Thompson, as the fourth-rounder from Southeast Missouri State in 2016.  With a sub-2.00 ERA at Lake Elsinore, the 24-year-old (whose age is slightly old for the level) is primed for a call-up to Double-A later this year.  A left hander with a good fastball, Lucchesi will have to show how good his secondary pitches are before he makes any appearances at Petco Park. – Dan McMenamin

15. Mason Thompson – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

A 19-year-old drafted in the third round last year, Thompson missed most of his senior year at Round Rock High School (Texas) after Tommy John surgery, and has been handled with care by the Padres as a pro.  He threw just 12 innings post-draft in 2016, and has just 13 innings between three starts for Fort Wayne this year.  He’s averaged more than a strikeout per inning during that small sample, showing a mid-90s fastball and a solid changeup, but is obviously a few good years and a clean bill of health away from the majors. – Dan McMenamin

14. Phil Maton – RP, San Diego Padres

The first member of the Padres’ 2015 draft class to make it to the bigs, the 20th round pick is a possible future relief ace.  He struck out 11 batters per nine innings at Triple-A El Paso before getting called up earlier this month, and secured his first major league win after an inning of scoreless relief in the 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs yesterday.  Maton’s calling card is a high-spin, four-seam fastball that he routinely throws high in the zone that is difficult to make contact with. – Dan McMenamin

13. Dinelson Lamet – SP, San Diego Padres

One thing has been undeniably clear since Lamet’s promotion is that his fastball and slider have serious swing and miss potential; yet, there are two areas of development, limiting southpaws and honing the changeup, that will ultimately determine whether he can stick in the rotation long-term.  If they persist, he could easily wind up as a high leverage reliever, giving him a fairly high floor. – Travis Barnett

12. Chris Paddack – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

The return from the Miami Marlins in last year’s Fernando Rodney deal, the promising right hander had Tommy John surgery last summer and will likely miss all of 2017.  We’ll see how he responds post-op, but he was pitching like a top prospect before the injury, putting up some video game-like numbers on the mound: a sub-1 ERA across nine starts for Fort Wayne and the Marlins Low-A affiliate with 71 strikeouts and just five walks. – Dan McMenamin

11. Hudson Potts – IF, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

While there was some criticism of Preller when he reached in the first round last year to nab Hudson Potts, someone else may very well have done it if they thought could sway him from a “strong commitment” to Texas A&M.  It’s been rough sailing for him at Fort Wayne (.226/.259/.360, but at just 18 years of age, it’s done nothing to mar his potential to develop into a middle of the order bat and the Padres future third baseman. – Travis Barnett

10.  Jorge Oña – OF, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

Oña is another product of Preller’s 2016 international class, signing for a whopping $7 million bonus.  While he’s expected to need significant seasoning in the minors, he’s thrived for the TinCaps this season with a .289 average and a .356 on-base percentage.  The power hasn’t fully arrived yet for the 6’, 220 lbs. outfielder, but he could very well develop into a 25 home run player as he continues to develop. – Travis Barnett

9. Jacob Nix – SP, Lake Elsinore (High-A)

Jacob Nix was General Managert AJ Preller’s second ever draft pick. While his first, Austin Smith, has been disappointing, the 3rd round selection has only impressed with an advanced mix of pitches. Jacob Nix is probably best known for the Brady Aiken drama by the Houston Astros, Since Aiken did not sign due to a failed medical, the Astros lost the allotted bonus-pool money for the top overall pick, and the Astros could not give Nix their promised above-slot bonus. After lawsuits and drama, the Padres were happy to pick up Nix with their second pick in the draft, as Nix obviously has the talent of a quality major league starter.

Nix has had success in Lake Elsinore this year, with a good K/BB rate and ERA. At 21 years old, Nix is a clear candidate to move up the system quickly, and many believe he can be a solid mid-rotation arm for many years. – Chad Hamner

8. Josh Naylor – 1B, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

Despite being selected by Miami in the first round of the 2015 draft, they shipped him off to the Padres in the Andrew Cashner deal at last season’s trade deadline.  He’s limited to first base defensively (and might be reduced to a trade piece to the AL at some point), but considering power is his calling card, he should produce more than enough offensively to warrant every day playing time.  Also, he’s shown more disciplined approach at the plate this season at Lake Elsinore, bringing his walk rate to 8.4 percent after hovering around 5 percent at Fort Wayne in 2016. –Travis Barnett

7. Eric Lauer – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

With a sparkling 2.15 ERA, Eric Lauer leads all pitches in the California League, which probably shouldn’t be all surprising since he led division one baseball in that area during his final season at Kent State.  The lack of a true “out-pitch” may limit his projection, but he’s continually shown an ability to succeed by utilizing his entire arsenal and attacking the zone.  As such, it wouldn’t be all that surprising if he ends up in San Antonio sooner rather than later after that dominant first half.  – Travis Barnett

6. Fernando Tatis Jr. – SS, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

While there are plenty of A.J. Preller deals that are open to second-guessing, the trade that sent James Shields to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis Jr. definitely isn’t one of them.  Aside from Shields’ difficulties once he left San Diego, Tatis Jr. has gone from an unheralded international signing to one of the top bats in the Padres system.  While some have projected that he’s too tall at 6’3” to stick at shortstop, he’s been making highlight reel plays in Fort Wayne, all while providing power as an 18-year-old at Single-A. The son of former major leaguer Fernando Tatis, his ceiling is as high as any in the Padres organization. – Marcus Pond

5. Luis Urias- 2B/SS, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

Luis Urías has the best hit tool in the Padres system.  The Mexican second baseman has already won a full season MVP award (2016 – California League) and represented his country in the World Baseball Classic.  He has an excellent eye and has walked more than he’s struck out during his minor league career.  He has shown flashes of power, especially at the beginning of the season, but his swing this year has been on more of a line drive plane.  He may experience some stumbling blocks as one of the youngest players in Double-A, but his patience and bat-to-ball skills make him a likely candidate to be the Padres second baseman of the future. – Marcus Pond

4. MacKenzie Gore – SP, Unassigned

Mackenzie Gore is the most recent addition to the Padres top tier prospects. Taken 3rd overall in the recent 2017 draft, Gore is an athletic LHP from North Carolina who has shown the ability for four above-average pitches – a 92-97 fastball he can command very well, a slider, a curve, and a changeup. Some prospect evaluators believe that Gore is the best pitching prospect in the draft, despite Hunter Greene’s ridiculous fastball and Kyle Wright’s polish. High school pitchers are notoriously risky, and many flame out. However, when these kinds of prospects achieve their potential, they are immensly valuable. See: Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner, and San Diego County’s own Cole Hamels.

Make no mistake about it – Mackenzie Gore has ace potential. For most teams, this would make Gore their far-and-away best prospect – the fact that he is not the top Padres prospect speaks more to the strength of this system than the talent of Gore. At the time of writing, Gore has yet to sign, but that’s not much of a concern as many top picks have yet to sign and it is extremely rare for a first round pick to not sign with their team. It is unlikely for Gore to throw many professional innings this year, if any at all, due to the amount of care that goes into such fragile prep arms. However, Gore is an extremely exciting prospect and could be a household name in only a few years. – Chad Hamner

3. Adrian Morejon- SP, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

Widely regarded as the top international free agent pitching prospect of the 2016 class, Morejon is an 18-year-old lefty from Cuba that signed with the Padres for $11 million. Before even throwing a professional pitch (besides a brief stint with a Cuban pro team as a 15 year old), Morejon was ranked in Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list (#98). However, many of the other notable prospect rankings stated that they couldn’t rank Morejon properly due to being unable to evaluate him in person. On the other hand, the ones that do see Morejon in person always fall in love with his advanced pitching ability and relative polish for a young international player. Morejon has plenty of work in front of him, but he has every chance to be a front-of-the-rotation southpaw. – Chad Hamner

2. Cal Quantrill – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

After working his way back from Tommy John Surgery that cost him over a year of baseball at Stanford, Quantrill has taken the minor leagues by storm. His diverse repertoire, which has helped him pitch his way to the California League All Star team, gives him a relatively high floor as a rotation arm, but the Padres are hoping he reaches his potential as a possible number two pitcher.  – Travis Barnett

1.Anderson Espinoza – SP, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)

While other outlets have dropped Espinoza few place on their list, he still tops our rankings as the premier prospect in the Padres’ system.  His fastball regularly sits in the mid-upper 90’s, reaching triple digits with relative ease.  Additionally, both of his secondary pitches project to be plus even nineteen year old needs to develop some consistency with them.  If that happens, there’s little skepticism among scouts that he has the potential to be a front of the rotation arm.

He’s missed most of the season with injuries, but as Padres Prospectus shared last week, he expects to return in the near future. – Travis Barnett

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