Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs.com wrote his thoughts down on the Padres’ farm system and gave this opinion on the 53 top prospects in it. I am definitely not diving that deep into his analysis but I will showcase the top-5 prospects according to Longenhagen and share some of my favorite insight of his along the way.
For starters, the top-5 prospects according to Longenhagen are:
- Mackenzie Gore - LHP - Age 21.1 - FV (Future Value) 70
- Luis Patino - RHP - Age 20.5 - FV 60
- CJ Abrams - CF - Age 19.5 - FV 55
- Luis Campusano - C - Age 21.5 - FV 55
- Taylor Trammell - LF - Age 22.5 - FV 50
(Note on Future Value per Longenhagen: “Future Value attempts to combine a prospect’s potential (reasonable ceiling and floor) as well as his chance of realizing it (including injury-related risks or proximity to the majors) into one tidy, value-based number.”)
Gore gets the top spot on this list and rightfully so. He had a good chance of working his way into a major role within this team’s rotation prior to the entire league’s suspension. Longenhagen’s descripton of Gore as a pitching prospect was a treat to read and this paragraph was by far the best part of the write-up:
“Gore pitches the same way a great horror movie villain lurks and ambushes from the shadows. The strange, balletic way he hoists his leading leg and hands as high as he can before he peddles home builds fear of the unknown, and dread anticipation the same way eerie music portends someone’s cinematic demise. Then Gore lunges home with a huge stride, one that takes him slightly down the first base line, and gets right on top of hitters, creating more discomfort. Then, suddenly, the jump scare. The ball explodes out from behind Gore’s head and blows past flailing hitters at the letters, banishing them to the dugout until their sequel at-bat a few innings later.”
Patino follows Gore as the team’s second most-valuable prospect. While he’s on the smaller side (6’0, 192 pounds), Patino possesses some serious heat on his fastball but still needs some work on his changeup. Here’s my favorite blurb some Longenhagen on the promising 20-year old:
“He’s smaller, and his changeup and command are not very good yet. But this is one of the best on-mound athletes in the minors, one who hasn’t been pitching all that long, and has had premium velocity for an even shorter span of time. It’d be unreasonable to expect a 20-year-old to be fully realized when he’s only been pitching for about four years. Patiño’s velocity came on in a huge way as he got on a pro strength program and he’s added 40 pounds of good weight and about 10 ticks of velo since he signed. He’s a charismatic autodidact who has taken a similarly proactive approach to learning a new language (he became fluent in English very quickly, totally of his own volition) as he has to incorporating little tricks and twists into his delivery (he’s borrowed from Mac Gore) to mess with hitters.”
Abrams has some real “oomf” behind his swing and it’s hard to not to get excited about. Longenhagen doesn’t believe Abrams should stick at shortstop as he lacks consistency in his throws where he must throw off-balance and doesn’t have time to set his feet properly.
“The .401/.442/.662 line Abrams posted after signing isn’t sustainable, buoyed as it was by the interaction that players as fast as he is have with defenses at the lowest levels of the minors (he had a .425 BABIP), but Abrams can absolutely rake. He had no trouble with the leap from amateur to pro velocity, though some of the top high school pitching he saw the summer before his draft year was probably better than what he faced in the 2019 AZL. He has a knack for impacting the baseball in a way that creates hard contact even though his swing is currently pretty flat, and he can do this all over the strike zone.”
Progress is the most important thing you want to see when it comes to your prospects, regardless of the sport. Campusano may have started out on the wrong foot as a professional but he’s put the time in and has already seen success from his efforts. Longenhagen points at better body control behind the plate and handling of professional velocity as the two areas Campusano improved in the most this early in his career.
“Campusano was a bad-bodied catcher on the summer showcase circuit, but then he completely remade his body for his senior spring. He showed above-average power, some bat control, and improved agility behind the plate, boosting his stock to the late first/early second round of the draft. He didn’t catch much velocity in high school and struggled receiving pro arms at first, but that has improved to a place of acceptability. More importantly, he’s continued to hit. Though his Hi-A statline was aided by the Cal League’s hitting environment, Campusano’s 11% strikeout rate was the second best rate among qualified, full-season backstops in 2019 (Yohel Pozo was first) and his exit velos (89 mph on average) are great for a 20-year-old.”
And finally we have Trammell. He’s the oldest of the top five but has an extremely solid game across the board. FanGraphs gave him great scores for hitting, running, and throwing. He’s got solid athleticism at 6’2 and 215 pounds, as well.
“Trammell sees a lot of pitches, he has gap power, and he can really run, which helps him run down more balls than a lot of left fielders. He’s very competitive, and is similar in many ways to Brett Gardner. He was utilizing a narrower stance during the spring, which forced him to take more of a stride than he had been during his days with the Reds. This was probably done to see if Trammell would end up hitting for more power but there’s no way of knowing if it worked yet.”