Top 10 Prospects (2017): San Diego Padres: Intriguing Pitching Fills The Rankings

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While a pair of outfielders get the most attention, given their proximity to the Majors, the Padres have accumulated a significant amount of high upside pitching through trades, draft picks and international signings.  While the pitchers may not quite be ready, a year or two from now it’s possible the team possesses a tremendous young staff ready to take the NL West by storm.  Who are the intriguing prospects that fill the system?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Manuel Margot – Outfielder
Grade – A-
ETA – Already Arrived

One of several former Red Sox prospects who reside on this list, Margot finally arrived in the Majors (37 AB) after spending the year at Triple-A.  His power is still developing, though with his other skills all he needs to do is develop into an 8-12 HR hitter to be a superstar.  Last season he totaled 39 extra base hits, so it’s not a significant number, but at 22-years old it’s not a stretch (he had 6 HR).

Even if he doesn’t add the power, what’s not to like about a player who could routinely swipe 30+ bases (he’s had 30+ in three straight seasons, including 32 last season) and post an average of .300?  While we’d love to see him draw a few more walks, his 11.3% strikeout rate at Triple-A is highly impressive and with his speed he should maintain an elevated BABIP.  That skillset screams of a leadoff hitter who should routinely score 90+ runs as well.

 

2) Anderson Espinoza – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A-
ETA – 2019

He will turn 19-years old prior to the start of the ’17 season, making the numbers that much more impressive.  Splitting time between two different Single-A teams (thanks to the trade from Boston), he put up the following numbers:

108.1 IP, 4.49 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 100 K, 35 BB, 1.11 GO/AO

Maybe the numbers weren’t that impressive, though consider his age and the potential for him to continue to grow and mature (he’s currently listed at 6’0” and 160 lbs.).  The stuff is there, but he needs to be given time to learn/develop.  There are going to be bumps along the way, but look for him to learn from them and continue to improve.

 

3) Cal Quantrill – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018

Selected with the eighth pick in the 2016 draft, Quantrill impressed immediately over his first 37.0 professional innings as he posted 46 K, 8 BB and a 1.83 GO/AO.  At 22-years old he can move quickly, though he’s still likely working his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2015 so it will be interesting to see how cautious San Diego is with him.  Reports are that his breaking ball needs work, but once he establishes that pitch (something that’s expected) he could emerge as a top of the rotation starter (think #2 for an MLB team).

 

4) Hunter Renfroe – Outfielder
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived

Renfroe spent the bulk of ’16 at Triple-A, hitting .306 with 30 HR in the process.  There’s clearly power in his bat, despite playing in the Pacific Coast League, as he added 34 doubles and 5 triples.  Even in San Diego that should translate to 25+ HR annually, with the potential to hit over 30 in any given season.  He also has shown an ability to kick in a few SB, something that shouldn’t go overlooked (think 4-8 annually).

So where are the concerns?  His aggressive approach at the plate is something that could easily be exposed by Major League pitching (strikeout rate // walk rate):

  • Double-A (2015, 463 PA) – 24.2% // 7.1%
  • Triple-A (2015, 95 PA) – 21.1% // 4.2%
  • Triple-A (2016, 563 PA) – 20.4% // 3.9%

A strikeout rate north of 25% is realistic, and that’s going to put a cap on his average upside (think .260ish, as opposed to the .300 he posted last season).

 

5) Michael Gettys – Outfielder
Grade – B
ETA – 2018

Another outfielder?  Gettys is overshadowed by Margot and Renfroe, though after combining to hit .305 with 12 HR and 35 SB between Single-A (257 AB) and High-A (248 AB) he deserves our attention.  He clearly has power and speed, the question is going to be if he can get his strikeout rate under control:

  • Single-A – 23.9%
  • High-A – 28.3%

Considering the level he’s playing at those are highly concerning numbers, so at 21-years old he’s going to need to show improvement quickly.

 

The Rest:

6) Adrian Morejon – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B)
7) Luis Urias – Infielder (Grade – B-)
8) Eric Lauer – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
9) Dinelson Lamet – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)
10) Logan Allen – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)

Don’t Forget – Chriss Paddack (RHP)

Sources – MILB.com, MLB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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