Top 10 Prospects (2018): San Diego Padres: Pitching Dominates One Of The Elite Systems

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Through the draft, international signings and savvy trades the Padres have emerged as owning one of the premier farm systems in baseball.  They are loaded with impressive pitchers, giving hope that they could form a dominant rotation within the next 2-3 years.  In other systems someone like MacKenzie Gore or Cal Quantrill would be the clear top prospect, but not here as they also have found one of the budding young hitting stars in the game.  How do things rank?  Let’s take a look:

 

1) Fernando Tatis Jr. – Shortstop
ETA – 2019
Grade – A

Tatis did get a taste of Double-A last season (57 PA), but he spent most of the year as an 18-year old at Single-A posting impressive numbers:

.281 (121-431), 21 HR, 69 RBI, 78 R, 29 SB

He added 26 doubles and 7 triples, showing that the power is there and developing.  While the stolen bases may regress as he matures physically, he should be able to continue chipping in 10+ per season.  That all sounds impressive, and even more so was his 13.4% walk rate.  That shows a solid approach, especially at his age, and while he did swing and miss a little too much (13.3% SwStr%) that should improve as he gains experience.  He has the potential to be the next big shortstop and it could come quickly.

 

2) MacKenzie Gore – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – A-

The third overall selection in the 2017 draft, Gore threw 21.1 impressive innings in Rookie Ball after being selected.  He flashed unbelievable swing and miss stuff (in an obviously tiny sample size), generating a 30.3% SwStr%, to go along with groundballs (68.3%) and control (2.95 BB/9).  Obviously we aren’t going to read too much into those numbers alone, but it’s the stuff he threw that garners our attention.

Reports have him already featuring an impressive four-pitch mix and he’ll pitch all of ’18 as a 19-year old.  He has ace stuff, with the size (6’3”) and ability.  Now he just needs to prove he can do it while taking the ball every five days, and that should happen in ’18.

 

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3) Cal Quantrill – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2019
Grade – A-

While it’s more likely that Quantrill reaches the Majors in 2019, he did rise to Double-A in ’17 and therefore it’s not impossible he gets a late season callup.  Considering the numbers, splitting time between two levels, he is going to need to prove something before the recall comes:

  • High-A (73.2 IP) – 3.67 ERA, 9.29 K/9, 2.93 BB/9
  • Double-A (42.1 IP) – 4.04 ERA, 7.23 K/9, 3.40 BB/9

So the strikeouts fell and the walks rose upon reaching Double-A…  He did still post an 11.1% SwStr% at the level and it’s possible fatigue played a role.  Further removed from Tommy John surgery and clearly having the stuff, don’t be surprised if he fully breaks out this year.

 

4) Adrian Morejon – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – B+

Signed out of Cuba, Morejon split time between two levels of Single-A as an 18-year old and showed promising potential with an 8.29 K/9 and 2.29 BB/9 over 63.0 IP.  That type of control, at his age, is impressive though there are a pair of questions that loom:

  1. Lack of groundballs (36.6%, which could lead to home run troubles)
  2. Size (he’s currently listed at 6’0” and 165 lbs.)

Given his age it wouldn’t be surprising to see growth/maturation, which would eliminate the second issue.  Time will tell, but at his age and with his stuff it’s impossible to ignore him.

 

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5) Joey Lucchesi – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2018
Grade – B

It’s easy to overlook Lucchesi given the depth of alternatives in the system, but just look at these numbers over 139.0 IP between High-A and Double-A:

  • Strikeouts – 9.58 K/9 (12.6% SwStr%)
  • Walks – 2.14 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 50.3%

Many point to a delivery that’s considered “deceptive”, but that simply helps his stuff play up even more.  A 24-year old southpaw who has reached Double-A and shows all three skills we look for?  It’s hard not to get excited about the potential impact, which should come in 2018.

 

The Rest:
6) Michael Baez – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B)
7) Luis Urias – Middle Infielder (Grade – B)
8) Logan Allen – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B)
9) Eric Lauer – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B)
10) Anderson Espinoza – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – B-)

Sources – Fangraphs, MLB.com, MILB.com

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists:

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

** ORDER OUR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

2 comments

  1. Chris says:

    I don’t follow prospects too closely, but Tatis Jr’s numbers there at A ball for an 18 year old are…pretty astounding right!? Usually prospects are projected at some point to put up those kind of numbers as they develop, but I don’t recall players like Machado doing this as a teenager.

  2. chris says:

    you do know that Baez is #28 OVERALL in BA’s new top-100, right?

    i like you’re very very low on him.

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