The latest installment of MLB.com’s Top-30 Prospect rankings for your San Diego Padres bears little resemblance to the preseason list:
- Three prospects graduated: left-handed starters Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer, and outfielder Franchy Cordero.
- Six fell out of the top-30: Outfielders Jorge Ona and Michael Gettys, infielder Luis Almanzar, right-handed starter Mason Thompson, and right-handed relievers Trey Wingenter and David Bednar.
- Three players have entered the top-30 after starting the season unranked: right-handed starters Luis Patino (#12) and Reggie Lawson (#21) and outfielder Buddy Reed (#13).
- Catcher Francisco Mejia (#3), acquired from the Indians in the Brad Hand/Adam Cimber trade, joins the list as well.
- Finally, five members of the 2018 draft class have been included: Lefty Ryan Weathers (#9), shortstops Xavier Edwards (#18) and Owen Miller (#30), righty Dylan Coleman (#26) and outfielder Grant Little (#27).
Luis Patino, Chris Paddack and Buddy Reed saw the most impressive gains, while Anderson Espinoza and Cal Quantril predictably fell due to lost time and inconsistent performance, respectively.
- Patino, 18, is the youngest pitcher in the Single-A Midwest League with at least 50 innings. For perspective, Hunter Greene, last year’s number one overall Draft Pick, is the only other 18-year-old to reach that threshold. In 56.1 IP, Patino has a 2.24 FIP, 10.7 K/9, a .103 WHIP and a .207 opponents BA.
- Paddack, 22, came back with a vengeance from 2016 Tommy John surgery. He posted a ridiculous 83:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio and .900 WHIP in 52.1 IP for the Lake Elsinore Storm before a promotion to Double-A. With the Missions, the 6’4” Right-hander has been equally dominant: .095 opponents BA, 0.44 WHIP in 22.2 IP.
- Reed, 23, struggled in his first two professional seasons after the Padres selected him in the 2nd Round of the 2016 draft. But with the Storm in 2018, the 6’4” outfielder put it all together. The 33 steals on 40 attempts were expected with his 70-grade speed, but the 147 wRC+ and 12 home runs in 343 PA were not. His promotion to Double-A has been shaky, in large part due to a small-sample .207 BABIP, but he’s still accumulated five steals and an 11.4 BB% in his first 10 games with the Missions.
- Espinoza, 20, will be on everyone’s radar going into 2019. As Paddack showed this season, time lost to Tommy John is no guarantee that a pitcher won’t regain his top-prospect status.
- Quantril has been frustrating through his first three professional seasons. His 1.50 WHIP, 4.30 FIP and 2.51 strikeout-to-walk ratio are pretty similar to fellow 2016 draft picks Eric Lauer (1.70 WHIP, 4.63 FIP, 2.05 K:BB) and Joey Lucchesi (1.21 WHIP, 4.04 FIP, 3.00 K:BB). The only difference is that Quantril has been pitching in the Double-A Texas League, while Lauer and Lucchesi put up those numbers in the Major Leagues.
As I scanned through the list, I couldn’t help wondering:
Where the heck is Hudson Potts:
The 6’3” nineteen year-old third baseman was ranked as high as 14th before MLB.com’s most recent rankings shakeup. As one of the youngest players in the Single-A Advanced California League, the 2016 1st-Rounder is hitting .285/.352/.516. He’s a league leader in many categories: 17 HR (2nd), 32 doubles (1st), 60 runs (2nd), 56 RBI (5th), and his 133 wRC+ ranks sixth among qualified batters. Baseball prospectus has him at 3.6 WARp...more than any of the Padres’ top-three position players: Fernando Tatis (3.2), Luis Urias (3.0), Francisco Mejia (0.4).
Safe to say, Potts has been excellent in 2018. But, MLB.com dropped him all the way to 23rd. What gives?
Instead, it is a tremendous vote of confidence in the Padres’ farm system that a 19 year old, power-hitting third baseman, former first-rounder, who is mashing in advanced single-A is ranked outside the top-20 organizational prospects. This is an organization with 20 prospects grade 50 (good shot at average major league career), or higher. That’s quality. That’s a step in the right direction. That’s the depth that forced Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen to rank 43 players in the Padres’ system who have a legitimate chance to be major league contributors.
So, take this as the arrow pointing in the right direction. The Padres have MLB.com’s top-ranked Shortstop (Fernando Tatis), Second baseman (Luis Urias), Catcher (Francisco Mejia), and three of the top-10 left-handed pitchers (McKenzie Gore-1, Adrian Morejon-6, Logan Allen-9). Hudson Potts, statistically, is doing everything he can to live up to his first-round billing, his ranking is simply a consequence of a stacked farm system. He’s still the most likely in-house candidate to hold down the left side of the infield with Tatis for years to come.
- SS Fernando Tatis Jr. (#2 overall, AA)
- LHP MacKenzie Gore (#11 ,A)
- C Francisco Mejia (#21 ,AAA)
- 2B Luis Urias (#23, AAA)
- RHP Chris Paddack (#50, AA)
- LHP Adrian Morejon (#51, A+)
- RHP Michel Baez (#64, A+)
- LHP Logan Allen (#90, AA)
- LHP Ryan Weathers (Rk)
- RHP Cal Quantril (AA)
- RHP Anderson Espinoza (DL)
- RHP Luis Patino (A)
- OF Buddy Reed (AA)
- RHP Jake Nix (AA)
- 1B/LF Josh Naylor (AA)
- OF Tirso Ornelas (A)
- 2B Esteury Ruiz (A)
- SS Xavier Edwards (Rk)
- OF Jeisson Rosario (A)
- SS Gabriel Arias (A)
- RHP Reggie Lawson (A+)
- RHP Andres Munoz (AA)
- 3B Hudson Potts (A+)
- C Luis Campusano (A)
- C/1B Austin Allen (AA)
- RHP Dylan Coleman (A)
- OF Grant Little (A-)
- OF Edward Olivares (A+)
- RHP Pedro Avila (A+)
- SS Owen Miller (A-)