Dynasty: San Diego Padres’ 2020 Preseason Top 50 Prospects
The Padres farm system is very good. It will run deeper than most, but there are a few things to keep in mind. They have some clear starters, but no shortage of high electricity arms that could turn into back-end relievers. There’s an abundance of infield talent that will have to compete for, essentially, second base. Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado have the other spots locked up. Lastly, the outfielders are mostly high-upside players with low floors, so they will all be coming around the same time on this list. With that, here is the dynasty-focused top-50 prospects for the Padres!
1. Mackenzie Gore, LHP
Gore is essentially a consensus number-one prospect for the organization. He’s a former national high school Gatorade Player of the Year who steps on the mound with four plus pitches and plus control. Gore uses fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup to reach his 10.38 K/9 and 3.82 FIP at the Double A level. The Padres have a history of not caring about service time, so it’s not unrealistic to think he could reach the majors in 2020.
2. Luis Patino, RHP
Over the last season or so Patino’s name has continued to gain momentum as a serious prospect. That is because he is a serious prospect. He uses a plus fastball, an above average changeup, and wipeout slider to accumulate a K/9 north of 11. Patino will open 2020 at 20 years old. While he might still be a couple years from debuting, he’s an exciting name to keep an eye on.
3. Taylor Trammell, OF
There will be a tendency to compare Trammell to Franmil Reyes because they were in the same trade. Don’t. Trammell won’t become a massive power threat. He will hit some, but he will also fill up many other stat categories. The Padres have made adjustments to his swing that have put him back on track as a top prospect in the game. His best tool will be his speed. There is still work do with his swing, but the Padres have him on a good path. I would conservatively estimate he is fighting for an outfield spot in 2021.
4. CJ Abrams, INF
The sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft didn’t disappoint in his professional debut. He was worth 189 wRC+ in 32 games at the rookie level. He, like Trammell, can be a power/speed threat, except he should have more power. If proximity weren’t an issue, he would be higher on this list. However, he is a high school bat who had his first season cut short by a bone bruise to his shoulder. There are no questions of his durability at this time, but high school bats do tend to take some time to move through the farm system. Abrams is probably looking at a 2022-2023 debut if he stays on schedule.
5. Luis Campusano, C
One of the things to love about Campusano is that he plays a premium position. Another thing to love is how he hits the baseball. This year was a breakout year for his bat as he crushed 15 homers at the Advanced A level while being worth 148 wRC+. His strikeout rate was the best of his career at 11.7 percent. He also had a 10.7 percent walk rate. That is 57/52 K/BB. He’s got the arm and defensive instincts to stick as a catcher, which could give you a solid hitting catcher during the 2021 season at the earliest.
6. Adrian Morejon, LHP
Morejon debuted in the majors in 2019 with a K/9 and ERA over 10 in eight innings. He overall was better than that; his FIP was 4.58 and his fWAR was 0.1 in that short time. He shouldn’t keep his prospect status for long once the 2020 season starts. He has two plus pitches and an above average changeup that should allow him to stick in the middle of the Padres rotation as a starter.
7. Xavier Edwards, INF
There’s a lot to like about Edwards as a player—he’s one of the best in the Padres system. As a potential fantasy option, however, he does lose some value. His game is speed and defense. His mature approach will have to stick through his development because his value drops if he can’t get on base. Don’t read me wrong though, he is a good hitter from both sides of the plate. If he can keep proving he can get on base, which hasn’t been an issue so far, he will be a guy that can be counted on for steals because of his ridiculous speed. At his current pace, 2022 seems like the year he will break into the majors.
8. Ryan Weathers, LHP
In the majority of the farm systems is baseball, Weathers is easily a top five prospect. He would likely be in the conversation for top three, as well. That is because he has, what I believe to be, one of the best floors of any prospect in the game. He’s got the bloodline, son of David Weathers. He also has three plus pitches and plus control. Weathers figures to be a solid strike-throwing innings eater at the big league level at worst. At best the former national high school Gatorade Player of the Year could be fringe number two pitcher at his peak. It might take him a minute to pick things up when he debuts, but he is a good bet to eventually find success. Most experts put his ETA as 2021.
9. Owen Miller, INF
There is likely going to be competition between Luis Urias and Ty France to open 2020 as the Padres second baseman. Do not be surprised if Miller is a dark horse in that competition. He hasn’t played above the Double A level, but in his first crack at it he hit 13 homers while being worth 121 wRC+. Miller can hit, he has done that with any team has been on. The 2020 season will be his third, and it truly would not surprise me if he opened it as a major leaguer. Though most prognosticators say he won’t make it until 2021.
10. Hudson Potts, INF
Potts and Miller are not far apart, but Miller is closer. That being said, Potts has a higher ceiling. It’s been a long year for the infield prospect, but he’s made a lot of progress with his swing. His 2019 numbers are not pretty, so we will likely start in double A again in 2020, but he will be better equipped. Potts has more power potential, which is unique for some of the top Padre prospects, so that will help him stand out. At best, he can probably become a reliable 20 homer guy. If he can start hot, he might be a 2020 debut, but it’s likely he’s looking at 2021.
11. Gabriel Arias, INF
Just as one power threat emerges, here is another. Arias is father away than Potts, but he did hit .302 with 17 homers as a member of the Lake Elsinore Storm in 2019. His defense will allow him to continue to progress, but his swing continues to play at any level. He will likely get exposed offensively at the Double A level, so how he responds to that will be telling. He might be a defensive option around 2021, but he will probably be offensively relevant in 2022. Once again, that will depend on how things go in Amarillo next season.
12. Joey Cantillo, LHP
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who believes in Cantillo as much as I do. His phenomenal 2019 season has catapulted him up prospect lists. However, most people still see him as a bullpen arm. Not me. I think Cantillo is a rotation piece through and through. He’s got nice size with a 6’4″ frame, and he has nice secondary pitches to compliment his low 90’s fastball. There is some improvement needed on his control, but he posted 11.76 K/9 and a 2.48 BB/9 in 19 starts with Fort Wayne before being promoted. I think he’s got the goods to be a fringe mid-rotation starter. He could see MLB time in 2021, but more likely 2022.
13. Michael Baez, RHP
Baez sits in high in Padre organization rankings for good reason. He has size and he has the stuff. He got to put that on display in the majors during the 2019 season. The one stat to take note of his his 0 games started. There are some who believe he could be a starter, and his four-pitch mix and size don’t seem anything to the contrary. Regardless, his future home is likely the bullpen. He will be able to use his velocity and nasty breaking stuff to close out games for the Padres one day. Baez is talented, but his best chance at success will probably be in the bullpen. Look for him to be there next year, and watch his role evolve throughout the year.
14. Edward Olivares, OF
The Padres saw something they liked in Olivares early, or at least enough to acquire him from the Blue Jays in the Yangervis Solarte trade. Olivares is showing he might be well worth the trade after hitting .283 with 18 homers and 35 steals at the Double A level. That was good for a 123 wRC+. His speed will play at the major league level, his power will likely max him out between 10-15 homers. He should get a chance in the Petco Park outfield at some point during the 2020 season.
15. Ronald Bolanos, RHP
The book on Bolanos is that he is a pure athlete. That has not fully translated to the mound, however. Bonalos has already debuted in the majors and he did pretty well. He has a good build to be a starter, and a fastball that sits in the low 90’s, but his secondary pitches are still under construction. If he weren’t performing, the Padres wouldn’t have brought him to majors. The question not if Bolanos will put it together, but when. Once that happens, he should turn into a back-end option for the Padres and a solid streaming option for your fantasy team.
16. Tirso Ornelas, OF
Some are bullish on the upside of Ornelas, which makes him a fringe top-10 guy on a lot of organization lists. Some of that has to do with his 6’3″, 200 pound frame as a teenager. Ornelas will barely be 20 when the 2020 season starts, but he will also be coming off a season of struggles. He split time between the rookie level and Single A. Most of his time was spent in Lake Elsinore where he hit .220 with one homer and five triples in 89 games. He is a future corner outfield who needs his raw ability to catch up to his physical presence. When that happens he could be a decent power bat, but his MLB ETA win’t come into focus until he can grows into what all the scouts see in him.
17. Tucupita Marcano, INF
Marcano is a toolsy player, but he is yet another prospect whose fantasy value will be embedded in his ability to get on base. To his credit, he did slash .270/.323/.337 with Lake Elsinore in 2019, but he was only worth 95 wRC+. He stole 15 bases. There could be some more power added to his game, but not much. Marcano will turn 21 before the start of the 2020 season, and will either start in Lake Elsinore again or get promoted to Amarillo. He’s a guy some people like a lot, and with reason, but right now he is another potential speed threat that could develop more.
18. Hudson Head, OF
The Padres drafted Head in the third round of the 2019 draft, and he debuted slashing .283/.383/.417 in 32 games in the Rookie league. He is one of several high school bats the Padres drafted this year that got off to a hot start. But, as with any player taken at 18 years old, it could take a little more time to develop. His ETA is 2023, but that is subject to change as 2020 will be his first full professional season. Head has a chance to be a player that does a little bit of everything on the baseball field.
19. Esteury Ruiz, INF
Of the group of infielders that the Padres have that will be competing for the second base job over the next few years, the odds are one or two will be dealt away. Ruiz is one of the players I think will be dealt. However, for now he is still on this list, but is on the back-end of the group. After standing out in the Rookie league for the Royals, he Padres acquired him via trade. After that Ruiz had a solid year in Fort Wayne, leading to his promotion to Lake Elsinore. As a member of the Storm, Ruiz showed flashes of a smooth, quick swing, but flashes were it. He hit .239 and was worth 82 wRC+. He’ll have to work on his swing and miss to keep moving up in the organization.
20. Buddy Reed, OF
As tantalizing prospect as there ever was. Reed’s career has not gone exactly as planned, though he has consistently moved up in the organization. Strikeouts are his Achilles heel, but he still has high upside to hit for average and power. Reed has continued to make adjustments to cut down on the strikeouts. If he does, watch out. His speed is still his best tool too. A breakout could get some stock back in his name, but Reed will also be 25 to start the 2020 season. There’s still a chance we see him on the Padres at some point in 2020, however they did not protect him ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.
21. Reggie Lawson, RHP
Lawson in an interesting arm. He spent most of 2019 on the IL, pitching in only six games, going 3-1 with an ERA north of five. He did, however, have a K/9 of 11.71 in that limited time. The Padres like Lawson. The reports on him say he has a quick arm that generates good velocity and some nice break on his curve ball. Both of those can be plus pitches. He’s got a changeup that he’s developing as well, which will come in handy as he works out of a bullpen in the future. As good as his arm could be, there’s just not going to be any room, forcing him to what will likely be a successful bullpen career, which could start late next year if he’s healthy and pitching well.
22. Mason Thompson, RHP
Thompson was a part of the Padres 2016 draft class that, while talented, has a lot of question marks. This right-hander is no exception. If you want something to like, look no further than his 6’7″ frame. If you want something to dislike, look at his numbers from 2019. He’s never been higher than Lake Elsinore and will be 22 when the 2020 season starts. That being said, he’s still got the potential to develop four solid pitches. His delivery is smooth and he could very well could use that big body to develop into a back-end starter. MLB Pipeline gives his ETA as 2021, which seems optimistic, but let’s run with it.
23. Reginald Preciado, INF
There’s a chance Preciado could be higher if he weren’t 16, just signed, and waiting to play his first professional game. It’s very hard to project teenagers that get signed during international free agency, but Preciado looks like a good bet. He’s already 6’4″ and the switch-shortstop has shown the ability to make contact. His stock will adjust once he starts playing in games, but his ETA is 2025 and beyond at this point.
24. Joshua Mears, OF
Feast or famine is a trend in the majors. Strikeout or hit the ball 500 feet. Meet Joshua Mears. The Padres 2019 second rounder is a very raw prospect, but he can hit the ball a long way. In his debut, he played 43 games while hitting seven homers, adding nine steals, and was worth 116 wRC+. He will be a decent outfielder, but his value will come with how he uses his power and if he can hit enough homers to matter. This should cut down, but he struck out at a 30.3 percent clip in those 43 games. Mears is good though, he can provide pop to a future fantasy, and Padre, lineup. But remember, he is still very raw so he will have his share of struggles in development. ETA is 2024 in my book.
25. Logan Driscoll, C
Another member of the 2019 draft class for the Padres. Driscoll plays a premium position, and he looks like he could be a pretty good hitter. He was a college bat, so he skipped the rookie level and went straight to short season A ball. Driscoll proved he could play there, posting a 124 wRC+ in 39 games. The left-handed bat will make good contact, but likely won’t be developing much power. If he earns an everyday catching role, he will provide some value in deeper fantasy leagues.
26. Blake Hunt, C
There is not a ton of difference between Hunt and Driscoll in terms of how they can help your fantasy lineup. Hunt is more known for his defensive ability than offensive ability. That being said, Hunt is closer to the big leagues, and was worth 108 wRC+ with Fort Wayne. He’s 6’4″ and 215 pounds—he’s big. Either way, his offense will need some tweaking, but his defense should carry him for the time being.
27. Pedro Avila, RHP
There are some who believe Avila could become a decent back-end starter. That might be true. He’s got advanced stuff, and he showed that off in the MLB this year, albeit only 5.1 innings. He posted a 0.2 WAR and an 8.44 K/9. That was in one start, so the Padres are going to give him a chance to crack that rotation. He is undersized at 5’11”, but he has the talent. Some refinement of his command this off-season could catapult him into a solid spot in the 2020 Padre starting rotation.
28. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
A true enigma because no one knows what to expect, Espinoza is one of the most interesting guys on this list. He has not pitched since 2016 because of two Tommy John surgeries. However, he is still considered a really great talent until proven otherwise. It’ll be a long road back, but he will only be 22 at the outset of the 2020 season. Before the injury he had a great fastball and breaking ball. Hopefully we will get to see more soon. I’m on the side of believe it until he’s shown he’s lost it, so he could still put together a dynamic bullpen career. Rotation is probably out of the question on account of the injury history.
29. Jeisson Rosario, OF
This is yet another young athletic player the Padres have in their system. Rosario is freaky athletic, as in he does back flips to celebrate wins. At the start of the 2020 season he will be 20 years old, but he’s still got a way to go to tap into and harness the natural athleticism. He slashed .242/.372/.314 with Lake Elsinore in 2019 and was worth 102 wRC+. If he can figure things out a little more, he can use his talent to become a decent hitter. One thing to like is his approach, drawing walks at a 16.6 percent clip. He’s still a ways away, I would venture late 2022, but others think he can debut in 2021.
30. Jorge Ona, OF
Ona could potentially be taken in the Rule 5 draft after not being added to the 40-man roster. His 2019 was shortened by an injury sustained in May. He still was able to compile 103 PA with an ISO of .191. He will bring with him some pop that could become useful. His strikeout percentage was in the mid twenties, but he did walk at a 10.7 percent rate. If he comes back from the injury healthy, and avoids the Rule 5, he could be a wild card to be a Padre lineup regular in the near future.
31. Michael Gettys, OF
It seems like Gettys consistently puts up decent numbers, but has consistently been stuck at a level. A lot of that is due to the ungodly amount of swing and miss. Either way, Gettys put up 31 homers in Triple A where got to hit the MLB ball. He also struck out at a 30.5 percent clip in 2019, which believe it or not was an improvement over his numbers from Double A in 2018. If he can cut down on the strikeouts, Gettys can become a solid fourth outfielder with some pop off the bench next year, if not surprise people with his power and start every day.
32. Omar Cruz, LHP
Cruz could become a back-end starter. Could is the key word there. There is somewhat of an uphill battle, but he is still a very intriguing arm. He doesn’t have size and is only six feet tall, but he is a lefty and he’s only 20 years old. In two seasons and three levels, he’s never posted an ERA above three, and my favorite stat—he’s given up only one homerun. If he can continue to perform, he will start being more relevant in prospect circles. Of course, we will see what he does once he gets beyond the Single A level.
33. Ismael Mena, OF
Considered a top international prospect in the 2019 signing class, Mena has some tools that could develop. He’s got size and speed, which means power could be on the way. He could become a really decent outfielder, and will fit the Padres model of speed and defense. Just like with Preciado, I am wary to put a ton of stock into players who haven’t played their first game yet. That being said, he will rise quickly on this list if he is half the player he seems to be.
34. Javy Guerra, RHP
A converted hitter, Guerra looks to have quite the future in a bullpen. The question for him is going to be if it will turn into a high leverage role or not. His electric arm will always be good for strikeouts. There is a lot to happen still considering he threw his first professional pitch in 2019, though he did pitch in the majors too.
35. Agustin Ruiz, OF
With a player like Ruiz, he is here based on pure hype. There are no numbers I can really show you to justify him being this high. What I can tell you is that he has a very nice swing and you can really see the uoside when he plays. At 20 years old, he will likely tap into what evaluators see in him. In 2019 he played at the A level with a 93 wRC+ and a 24.39 percent strikeout rate. It’s likely he will revisit the level, making this year important to his status as a prospect.
36. Justin Lopez, INF
At this point of the ranking, even with a system as deep as this, I am looking for a tool that could be helpful. For Lopez, that is power. The 19-year-old that is going to be his pop. There aren’t really a ton of home-run-threat bats in the Padres system. By hitting 13 at the A level, Lopez stood out enough to find a spot in the top 40 prospects. That being said, he has defensive versatility, size, and he is a switch hitter. There is a lot to like if he can develop it, he’s still very young.
37. Junior Perez, OF
I don’t like to scout stat lines, so when there is one I like I go watch. Perez is a different case. I loved his stat line and wanted to wait to see if he repeats it, but man is he good. He has my attention. He was playing in the AZL, but was worth 126 wRC+ with 11 homers and 11 steals. This was his second professional season and he seemed to be a lot more aggressive and confident, as evidenced by his walk rate cutting in half and his strikeout rate going up too. However, all of his other numbers really got better. The 6’1″ 18-year-old is a very intriguing name.
38. Frank Lopez, RHP
Another AZL player, Lopez has the makings of a solid pitcher. He threw 56.2 innings while striking out 66. Across the board it was a good year, which bodes well for him to find a rotation spot and a promotion in 2020. He will be 19. He’s also kept the ball in the yard, allowing only two long balls in his career relying mostly on a fastball/changeup combination. Lopez will also flash a slider.
39. Ivan Castillo, INF
The Blue Jays actually gave up on Castillo, releasing him prior to the 2019 season. The Padres said thanks, signed him, and let him steal 15 bases and hit eight homers. The speed has always been there, but the pop is new. At 24, he is on the older half of the prospect spectrum, but he should be in AAA to start 2020. Infield for the Padres is tight, so he may never see the light of day, but he showed talent in 2019. It’s also worth noting he will need protection from the Rule 5 Draft.
40. Dwanya Williams-Sutton, OF
Williams-Sutton is a guy I really want to put higher on this list, but I have to contain myself. I’m a fan though. The 22-year-old slashed .236/.411/.367 with Fort Wayne, but was worth 136 wRC+. He made headlines for getting hit four times in one game. You read that right. But Williams-Sutton went on tears where he was so good, and if he can cut down on strikeouts, he could really climb on more than just my list.
41. Ethan Skender, INF
Skender is one of the most interesting cases in baseball. Without the name power people might be inclined to forget about him among the infielders, but that would be ill-advised. The biggest questions with him will be health. Skender was a late round pick in 2016, but didn’t debut until this year because of surgeries. In his first time on the diamond, he didn’t disappoint. Across two levels he slashed .301/.371/.444 and a wRC+ 132. Not bad for a guy just off of two years of surgery, and he looked every bit as good.
42. Gabe Mosser, RHP
He might never amount to much more than a back-end starter, but Mosser is a solid strike-thrower, generally. I equate him to Tyler Alexander of the Tigers. You know he will get hit, but he will eat innings and compete. Where he went wrong in 2019 was an inflated BB/9, which will likely cause the 23 year old to repeat the A+ level. The good news is that he should remain a starter, it just depends on if he puts it together enough to be relevant.
43. Eguy Rosario , INF
Another defensive versatility guy with speed. Do you think the Padres have a type? Rosario swings a lot at the plate, which led him to strikeout at a 20.1 percent clip and a 7.2 walk rate. He was worth 103 wRC+, stealing 21 bases with seven homers. There’s some potential in what this 20 year-old righty can do at the plate.
44. Reginald Dowston, OF
Most of what puts Dowston on this list is hype. He is still very young, as in he will be 18 when the 2020 season rolls around. While he does strike out a lot right now, he is showed some promise with the bat slashing .231/328/.429. His youth makes him a player to watch and his 10 steals add a little bit of flavor to the minimal pop he showed. None of this will matter if he continues to have as much swing and miss as he did last year.
45. Efrain Contreras, RHP
Contreras caught my eye because at 19 years old and playing at the Single A level, he posted a 9.93 K/9 and a 2.63 BB/9 in 109 innings. That is pretty impressive for someone so young. If he can keep that strikeout rate up he could prove to be a decent relief option, though he starting 23 of his 25 games in the Midwest League. He’s not on many radars, but he might be a name to keep in the back of your mind depending on what he shows in 2020.
46. Eduard Hidalgo, OF
When diving this deep into an organization, I am looking for a players who excel with a tool or a stat. For Hidalgo, that would be his ability to walk. He slashed .252/.418/.319 thanks to a 19.6 percent walk rate. His 20.3 percent strikeout rate isn’t bad either. He hasn’t done too much else, but was still worth 123 wRC+ as a 17-year-old in the Rookie league.
47. Jack Suwinski, OF
Suwinski provides some pop from the left side of the plate. He spent 2019 with Lake Elsinore, hitting 12 homers and being worth 81 wRC+. There is a lot of swing and miss, nearly 30 percent, but if he can cut down on that his power can play a bigger factor in his game. The dreaming for Suwinski comes with his size at 6’2″ and 206 pounds. He’s been a slow developer and will likely bloom late, if at all.
48. Dylan Coleman, RHP
As a former fourth rounder, Coleman’s injury history has dropped his stock. Now healthy, he is able to show off that big fastball that the Padres liked. He played across several different levels this year, but the strikeouts were consistently there. From this point on he will be a relief option, but if he can remain healthy then his name should come into the conversation as he progresses through the minors.
49. Brad Zunica, 1B
Power and size, that’s what Zunica brings to the table. Fangraphs lists him as 6’6″ and 254 pounds with a 70 grade on raw power. Now, that drops to a potential 55 for game power. He spent all of 2019 at the Double A level, hitting 16 homers while being worth 107 wRC+. His pure power can wow people, and his 26.7 percent strikeout rate isn’t the worst thing. If that improves and he shows more patience to up his 9.7 percent walk rate, it could go a long way in unlocking more of his power.
50. Drake Fellows, RHP
Never count out Vanderbilt players. Meet Fellows. The Padres took him in 2019, and his big body projects as a starter. His fastball should sit in the low-90’s with some sink and a nice slider to compliment it. He will have to develop another pitch, but he will have a shot to develop into a number five starter if he can do that. A lot will be told when he makes his professional debut in 2020.
(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)