The Lake Elsinore Storm have been the Padres’ Single-A Advanced affiliate since the 2001 season. Notable alumni include Khalil Greene, Jake Peavy, and current Padres Hunter Renfroe, Cory Spangenberg and Austin Hedges, to name a few. In 2018, the Storm will role out a new set of future Padres.
Eleven of the players were acquired through the draft, six via trade, and eight as international signees. In all, the Storm have thirteen international players representing Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Luis Torrens returns to the minor leagues after spending 2017 as the youngest catcher in the bigs. He was selected in the 2016 Rule 5 draft by the Reds, and then traded to San Diego in exchange for Josh VanMeter. This is an important season for the 21 year old who has a lot of development to do towards his potential as a solid defensive backstop. Marcus Green Jr, 23 years old, had a very solid season for the TinCaps in 2017. In 333 PA, he hit .270/.366/.460 with 11 HR and threw out 32% of would-be base stealers.
Hudson Potts (Padres #17 Prospect) and Eguy Rosario make the jump from Fort Wayne to Lake Elsinore together, continuing their aggressive minor league assignments. Potts, a 2016 1st Rounder, hit 20 HR last season, joining Fernando Tatis Jr., Ronald Acuna, and Carlos Rincon as the only teenagers with 20 or more bombs. The nineteen year old third baseman looks to build off a huge second half and cement his place as a future middle of the order bat.
Eguy Rosario opened 2017 as the youngest player on any full season roster. He struggled offensively (.574 OPS, 204 PA) and was eventually demoted to the Arizona League (.786 OPS, 234 PA). He showed good discipline at both levels, drawing 44 walks (10.0 BB%) which helped him swipe 33 bags. At 18 years old, he’ll likely be one of, if not the youngest, players in the California League. The Padres signed Rosario for $300k out of the Dominican Republic in 2015.
Kelvin Melean, is also notable for his aggressive assignments. The 19 year old, who signed for $500k out of Venezuela in 2015, played all around the infield for the short season Dust Devils and only had three PA against younger pitchers.
Two of the Padres’ top-30 prospects, right fielder Jorge Ona (#18) and center fielder Edward Olivares (#20), will anchor the Storm outfield. At 21 and 22 years old, respectively, neither is exceptionally advanced for his age, but each still offers plenty of upside. Ona, a native of Cuba, was part of the Padres’ 2016 international spree, signing for $7 million. He was expected to be a prototypical right fielder, but the power, which had earned him a 60-grade from MLB.com, only resulted in 11 HR and a .128 ISO.
Olivares, a Venezuelan acquired in the Yangervis Solarte trade, has the potential to be a four-tool player. He already owns plus grades for his arm and speed, and has above average defense that plays anywhere in the outfield. But, it’s the 17 bombs in 2017—after hitting only 5 in his previous three professional seasons—that are the most intriguing. He’ll get plenty of opportunities to improve on those numbers in the hitter-friendly California League.
Nate Easley, a 23rd round pick in 2016, will fill a utility role, having spent roughly equal parts at second base and in the outfield last season.
Southpaw Adrian Morejon, the #3 International prospect in 2016, will lead a talented pitching staff. MLB.com has the 20 year old as the sixth-best Left Handed pitching prospect in baseball, and sixth in the Padres’ Top-30. The Cuban, who signed with the Padres for $11 Million, had 58 K and 16 BB in 63.0 IP for Fort Wayne and Tri-City in 2017.
Morejon will be joined by fellow top-30 prospects 21 year old Pedro Avila (#26) and 23 year old David Bednar (#28). Avila, a Venezuelan native, came to the Padres in the 2016 Derek Norris trade. The right hander opened 2017 in Lake Elsinore, but really found his groove after a demotion to Fort Wayne. In 14 games, all starts, for the TinCaps, Avila had 117 strikeouts, 18 walks and a 1.04 WHIP in 85.2 IP. Bednar, a 35th round selection in 2016, had an outstanding 11.9 K/9 in 61.1 IP of relief at Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore.
Behind Morejon and Avila, the rotation gets pretty crowded. A group of right handers—2015 2nd rounder Austin Smith, 2016 draft picks Lake Bachar (5th round) and Reggie Lawson (2nd Round), and 2016 international signee Ronald Bolanos (Cuba, $2.25 Million)—will make assigning starts a difficult task for manager Edwin Rodriguez.
Hansel Rodriguez, the 21 year old Dominican, should be on your prospect radar. The Padres’ acquired the right hander from the Blue Jays in 2016 in exchange for OF Melvin Upton Jr. Rodriguez finished the season as the Padres’ #19 prospect. He struggled out of the gates in 2017, giving up five home runs and walking 22 in 49.2 IP across 10 starts for the TinCaps. But, a move to the bullpen proved fruitful and he finished the season with 56 strikeouts, 9 walks, a 0.893 WHIP and only one home run in 40.1 innings of relief.
Currently, Michel Baez (Padres #5 prospect), Andres Munoz (#22) and Chris Paddack (#23) are unassigned as they rehab various ailments. However, all three spent time at Fort Wayne in their most recent minor league assignments and could be in line to join the Storm when completely healthy.
Which players are you most excited about this season? Who is going to get you to make the quick trip to Lake Elsinore? Which players do you expect to move up a level (or two) in 2018?
Which currently unranked player will move into the Padres’ Top-30 prospects?
This poll is closed
C Marcus Green
IF Eguy Rosario
IF Kelvin Melean
RHP Lake Bachar
RHP Reggie Lawson
RHP Ronald Bolanos
RHP Hansel Rodriguez
Other - Comment Below