San Diego Padres Top 39 Prospects

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the San Diego Padres. Scouting reports were compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as my own observations. This is the third year we’re delineating between two anticipated relief roles, the abbreviations for which you’ll see in the “position” column below: MIRP for multi-inning relief pitchers, and SIRP for single-inning relief pitchers. The ETAs listed generally correspond to the year a player has to be added to the 40-man roster to avoid being made eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Manual adjustments are made where they seem appropriate, but I use that as a rule of thumb.

A quick overview of what FV (Future Value) means can be found here. A much deeper overview can be found here.

All of the ranked prospects below also appear on The Board, a resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It has more details (and updated TrackMan data from various sources) than this article and integrates every team’s list so readers can compare prospects across farm systems. It can be found here.

Padres Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Jackson Merrill 20.2 A+ SS 2025 60
2 Ethan Salas 17.1 A C 2026 55
3 Dylan Lesko 19.8 R SP 2026 55
4 Jairo Iriarte 21.6 A+ SP 2024 45+
5 Nathan Martorella 22.4 A+ 1B 2026 45
6 Robby Snelling 19.5 A+ SP 2027 40+
7 Adam Mazur 22.2 A+ SP 2026 40+
8 Samuel Zavala 19.0 A RF 2026 40+
9 Brandon Valenzuela 22.8 AA C 2024 40+
10 Estuar Suero 17.8 R CF 2028 40+
11 Jackson Wolf 24.2 AA SIRP 2024 40
12 Korry Howell 24.8 AA CF 2024 40
13 Henry Williams 21.8 A SP 2026 40
14 Noel Vela 24.5 AA SP 2025 40
15 Jagger Haynes 20.8 A SP 2026 40
16 Brett Sullivan 29.4 MLB C 2023 40
17 Eguy Rosario 23.9 MLB 3B 2024 40
18 Graham Pauley 22.8 A+ 3B 2026 40
19 Brent Honeywell 28.3 MLB MIRP 2023 40
20 Ryan Bergert 23.3 A+ SIRP 2025 40
21 Tom Cosgrove 26.1 MLB SIRP 2023 40
22 Alek Jacob 25.1 AAA SIRP 2024 40
23 Victor Lizarraga 19.6 A+ SP 2026 40
24 Juan Zabala 24.0 AAA C 2026 35+
25 Isaiah Lowe 20.2 A SP 2027 35+
26 Tirso Ornelas 23.3 AAA LF 2023 35+
27 Marcos Castañon 24.3 A+ 3B 2026 35+
28 Rosman Verdugo 18.4 A SS 2027 35+
29 Jakob Marsee 22.0 A+ CF 2026 35+
30 Cole Paplham 23.3 A SIRP 2027 35+
31 Kevin Hacen 17.4 R 3B 2028 35+
32 Pedro Avila 26.5 MLB SP 2023 35+
33 Efrain Contreras 23.5 AA SP 2024 35+
34 Ray Kerr 28.8 MLB SIRP 2023 35+
35 Jay Groome 24.9 AAA SP 2023 35+
36 Luis German 21.7 R SIRP 2027 35+
37 Bradgley Rodriguez 19.6 R SIRP 2027 35+
38 Kevin Kopps 26.3 AA SIRP 2025 35+
39 Garrett Hawkins 23.4 A+ SP 2025 35+
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60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2021 from Severna HS (MD) (SDP)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/70 40/45 30/40 50/50 40/50 55

What if Michael Brantley played shortstop? That outcome seems in play for Merrill after his first full season in pro ball, even though a fractured wrist and strained hamstring both limited his reps and probably impacted his power output in A-ball. Merrill “only” hit .325/.387/.482 in 45 Cal League games, a line good for a 125 wRC+ in the hitter-friendly league and aided by a .393 BABIP. It was Merrill’s Arizona Fall League look, which came against more advanced arms, and his underlying hit data that really drove him up the prospect continuum. He got off to a slow start in 2023 and was hitting .222/.273/.389 in mid-May, then was shut down for a week without being put on the IL. He has since slashed .297/.326/.477 and looks perfectly fine.

Merrill’s feel to hit is sublime. He swings bent at the waist, his torso hanging over the zone, enabling him to cover the plate with gentle lift that helps him pepper the opposite field gap with doubles contact. Merrill’s breaking ball recognition is fantastic and he’s adept at making adjustments in the middle of at-bats once he’s seen the shape of his opponent’s pitches. He has one of the more picturesque swings in the minors and is extremely difficult to make whiff inside the strike zone. His injuries reduced the sample size, but Merrill’s contact metrics from the last two seasons are incredible. He had a paltry 7% swinging strike rate to go along with an amazing 90% z-contact% and 85% overall contact rate, and his numbers are similar so far in 2023 even with the slow start. Merrill’s style of hitting generates a lot of liners and groundballs — his swing only occasionally has homer-producing lift — but he is striking the baseball with precision and authority in a way that’s pretty amazing for a 20-year-old shortstop. Not all of this is coming from raw power, it’s more from the quality of the contact Merrill makes. By virtue of this precision, he might have peak years with 20 or so homers, very similar to Brantley.

Hamstring issues aside, Merrill is a pretty good bet to stay at shortstop. His range isn’t great, but he has a polished first step and actions, and a good internal clock, with enough arm strength for the left side of the infield. He doesn’t have a huge frame, but his lack of room for mass arguably makes it more likely that he stays at short since he’s unlikely to outgrow it. The tools Merrill has in place already make him feel like a high-probability impact player, and if he develops feel for lift without compromising contact as he enters his 20s, then he’s going to be one of the top couple of prospects in the minors before he debuts.

55 FV Prospects

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 17.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/60 20/60 50/40 45/60 60

The brother of Twins prospect Jose Salas, Ethan has been seen and known about for about as long as is possible for a player this age, having competed in half a dozen Perfect Game events dating back to 2017. After signing in January, Salas quickly came to the Padres’ complex in Arizona, where he spent spring training and played in extended spring games; he was sent to Lake Elsinore just before he turned 17. He not only looked as talented as was hoped when he signed, but he was clearly also much more advanced, especially with the bat. Salas checks every scouting box and has begun to solidify the confidence in his hit tool (which is both the most difficult thing to evaluate in amateur scouting and the most important), which precipitated his rise to this FV grade after about six weeks of looks in Arizona.

Salas is a sweet-swinging, lefty-hitting catcher with baby soft defensive hands and an ultra-quick release behind the dish. His swing is very balanced and rhythmic, and he can shorten up to hit stuff toward the top of the zone or drop the bat head to scoop balls down and in. The risk with teenage catching is extreme, but Salas is very gifted and has elite ceiling. Both outcomes are priced into his FV grade, which readers should remember is a value metric more than it is a prediction of player quality, especially for players like Salas who are far from the big leagues. I wrote more about Salas in an April Top 100 update.

3. Dylan Lesko, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from Buford HS (GA) (SDP)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 60/70 70/70 30/50 94-96 / 98

Lesko was arguably the most polished and complete high school pitching prospect to come along in a decade, with an ideal pitcher’s frame, a gorgeous delivery, mid-90s velocity with huge riding life, and one of the better amateur changeups most scouts had ever seen. His curveball looked like it had gotten better during his draft spring, then his elbow blew out and he needed Tommy John, which precipitated his fall in the draft. Lesko was already the consensus top high school pitcher in the draft before the curveball showed up and would have been a top 10 lock had he stayed healthy throughout the spring, but instead he fell to no. 15, where he was picked by San Diego. The risk and long developmental timeline for high school pitchers, let alone injured ones, typically keeps them from sniffing the Top 100 in all but a few cases. This was one of those, and Lesko was near the back of the offseason 100.

Lesko has returned and made a couple of starts on the complex leading up to list publication. He looks incredible. His fastball is comfortably in the mid-90s (he was 94-96 mph on July 4 during a morning start in the scorching Arizona heat) with explosive vertical movement, his curveball is crisp and nasty, and his signature changeup has bat-missing action. If there’s one caveat, it’s that Lesko has only been showing this stuff for about 20 pitches at a time, but it isn’t as if this stuff quality is new to him; he simply looks like he’s back. Few pitchers in the minors have three weapons like this. Pitchers are risky and inconsistent (Grayson Rodriguez, welcome to the club!), and Lesko still has the entire minor league ladder to climb as he builds innings, but on upside, he belongs toward the back of the 55 FV tier along with the other prospects of extreme variance in that range. He has demonstrated a healthy return from TJ and moves up the Top 100 in this update.

45+ FV Prospects

4. Jairo Iriarte, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/60 30/45 93-97 / 100

I wrote last year that Iriarte had a chance to break out in a big way if the then-20-year-old could find a way to add velocity. Well, Iriarte has had a nearly three-tick velo bump and is now sitting 95-97 mph early in starts, and has touched 100 this year. He has had a plus sweeping breaking ball in his repertoire for some time now, and the movement of that pitch is mirrored by the nasty rise and tail action on his fastball. Watching Iriarte pitch is like watching Slender Man throw 97; he is extremely loose and has premium arm speed. He already features a huge stride down the mound and big hip/shoulder separation, and he still clearly has room for muscle on his frame. His low-90s changeup flashes huge tail, so much that Iriarte often struggles to command it, but his arm speed makes me want to project on this pitch in a big way. We’ve only seen this kind of velocity from him for a total of 13 starts, and Iriarte is rather skinny. There’s risk he doesn’t maintain this velo bump, but because he’s still projectable, there’s also a possibility it will continue to trend up. If he holds it for the rest of the season, he’ll be an offseason Top 100 addition, and I think if you play apples-to-apples with Iriarte and the college pitchers in the upcoming draft, you can make a pretty coherent case that he belongs in the mix with Chase Dollander and Hurston Waldrep in terms of stuff, build, and athleticism.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 5th Round, 2022 from Cal (SDP)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 224 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 60/60 35/55 30/30 30/40 40

Martorella puts on a show during BP and had perhaps the best hitting session at the entire 2022 draft combine. He’s off to a fantastic start in pro ball, hitting for power while striking out just 17% of the time so far at High-A Fort Wayne. He’s also walking nearly as much as he’s striking out. Martorella hits from a deep crouch, his hands load low, and he uses his entire curvaceous body to unload on the baseball. He has thunderous all-fields power and is especially good at getting on top of high fastballs, but he hits the ball on the ground a ton in games and you can limit his damage by working him low in the zone. It’s tough to alter someone’s swing or approach when they’re hitting this well, and Martorella does literally everything else you want a hitter to do. He has overt big league physicality and bat speed — this isn’t some soft skills guy feasting on low-level arms. I’m stopping short of projecting Martorella to be a 50, but he already looks like a fifth round steal who’ll mash righties. If he turns out to be a DJ Stewart sequel I’ll have been too high on him.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2022 from McQueen HS (NV) (SDP)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 30/45 20/50 92-94 / 96

Snelling pitched very well at Low-A (20% K%, 6.5% BB%, 50% GB%) and was promoted to Fort Wayne just before list publication, but I’m not inclined to alter his pre-draft FV grade just yet. He has special physicality (Snelling was also a four-star linebacker prospect in high school) and a precocious two-plane breaking ball, but he also has one of the more violent deliveries among starting pitching prospects in this system, with a head whack reminiscent of Hideki Okajima’s.

Snelling’s fastball is averaging 93 mph so far in 2023. It has above-average vertical movement, but some of the impact of that is countered by its downhill angle. While his physique is an indication that Snelling gets after it in the gym, he has basically no more room for mass, and thus probably won’t grow into more velocity. Snelling has gotten better at throwing his low-80s breaking ball with conviction (he would baby it into the zone in high school) and he has feel for landing it in the zone for a strike, but he doesn’t have as sentient a feel for burying it as a chase pitch. Put on the tape from his first High-A start and you’ll see that opposing hitters are identifying his breaking ball out of hand and attacking ones he’s trying to locate in the zone with comfort (even the lefty hitters). There is some ability to create action on his changeup but, as is to be expected from a teenage pitching prospect with less than a season of pro ball under his belt, Snelling’s feel for locating it is behind his other pitches. I had more of a $1.5 million eval on Snelling before the draft and still think that’s correct. He’s definitely a good pitching prospect, but for a lot of the same reasons it turned out to be incorrect to stuff Adrian Morejon (fastball playability, hitters’ ability to ID his breaker, some mechanical violence), I have Snelling more in a no. 4/5 starter bucket with some relief risk dialing down his FV.

7. Adam Mazur, SP

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2022 from Iowa (SDP)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/55 40/50 30/45 92-95 / 97

The wispy Mazur, a transfer from South Dakota State to Iowa, boosted his draft stock early during the spring of 2022 before his velocity fell off a cliff at the end of the season. He was peaking in the 97-99 mph range early on, then was sitting in the upper-80s during his final two starts of the year, per Synergy Sports. Because he is so slight of build (Triston McKenzie is a fair frame/body comp), it’s possible Mazur will have long-term issues holding his peak velocity as a starter throughout a full pro season. So far in 2023, however, his average fastball velocity is holding firm at 94 mph. Mazur’s level of athleticism and breaking ball quality are both excellent. He has an open stride and his torso tilts to help him deliver with a vertical arm slot, similar to vintage Michael Wacha. The vertical slot creates steep downhill plane on his fastball, which makes it vulnerable in the meat of the strike zone and only able to miss bats up above it. Mazur will flash a plus split-action changeup even though his arm slot makes it tough for him to turn over consistently, and he’s throwing plenty of strikes so far as a pro despite having a high-effort operation. His somewhat pedestrian strikeout rate (20% as of list publication) is an indication that his stuff plays a bit below the visual evaluation, but it’s encouraging that he’s holding velo and throwing strikes. Similar to Snelling, there’s been no change to his pre-draft FV grade, as Mazur still looks like a no. 4/5 starter with some relief risk.

8. Samuel Zavala, RF

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2021 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/55 20/50 50/50 30/50 60

Because he’s walking and reaching base a ton, Zavala’s offensive performance in the 2023 Cal League has been comfortably above average. But he’s also striking out a lot and is struggling very badly to get on top of fastballs up and away from him. His swing is bottom-hand dominant and lopes through the down-and-away portion of the zone, but Zavala is struggling to barrel pitches elsewhere and is also having a hard time pulling the baseball. A year ago, he looked like one of the most polished young hitters in the minors, with a chance to have an everyday hit and power combination. This is a pretty drastic re-evaluation compared to Zavala’s offseason grade, with the potential for a bounce back priced into his FV here. He’s still a prospect (he’s hitting the ball very hard for a hitter his age), but there’s now fairly extreme hit tool risk here.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Mexico (SDP)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/45 30/40 30/30 40/50 60

Valenzuela’s athleticism and physique are uncommon for a catcher. Defensively, he still has some things to work on (mostly his ball-blocking, though he’s also been crossed up a few times in the last couple of weeks), but his arm strength is plus and his receiving is about average. There’s enough here to project Valenzuela as a viable big league defender, but probably not a special one. After his surface-level stats regressed in 2022, Valenzuela slugged his way to Double-A midway through this season. His approach lacks nuance; he has a pull-oriented approach in the extreme and does basically all of his damage against middle-middle and middle-in mistakes. Valenzuela makes a nearly average rate of contact because his swing so compact. Even when he’s late or isn’t making sweet spot contact, he’s strong enough to mis-hit balls over infielders’ heads or rip it between the first and second baseman. Especially if his on-base skills continue to hold water at the upper levels, it’s a pretty interesting offensive mix for a catcher. Because there’s no individual plus tool, it’s tough to imagine Valenzuela as a primary catcher, but a switch-hitting backup who can tread water on offense and take a walk would be a luxury.

10. Estuar Suero, CF

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Dominican Republic (SDP)
Age 17.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/60 20/50 60/60 40/50 60

Suero is one of the higher-variance prospects in this system, a lanky center fielder who stands out immediately as the Padres’ complex group gets off the bus because of his size. Two aspects of Suero’s prospectdom have changed significantly since Fall Instructional League. First, he has already started to fill out and become quite strong for a hitter his age. He was very skinny last fall as the pro scouting community became more familiar with him, but he’s now considerably stronger. Second, Suero’s feel for center field is quite good. He eats up a ton of ground in the outfield thanks to his gargantuan strides and, he actually has a chance to stay out there depending on just how big he gets. Suero has hit tool risk. His front side stays very high through contact and his levers are long, so he’s vulnerable in a few different ways. But this is also a long-levered, 17-year-old switch-hitter, and to expect him to have feel for his body and swing at this stage is unreasonable. Suero is probably going to be a slow-developing prospect, but he has enormous upside as a switch-hitting center fielder with power.

40 FV Prospects

11. Jackson Wolf, SIRP

Drafted: 4th Round, 2021 from West Virginia (SDP)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 55/60 50/50 30/40 45/55 87-91 / 94

When Wolf was drafted, the question was, “Will this guy’s funk allow his stuff to play even though he’s only sitting 88?” The answer so far has been a resounding yes, as Wolf has carved at Double-A San Antonio this year. Wolf is a 6-foot-7 sidearm starter with uncommon athleticism and flexibility. His graceful delivery is very consistent and loose for such a tall athlete. At the very least, Wolf is going to be an effective reliever because his arm slot is an absolute nightmare for opposing lefties and he executes his slider regularly. You’d think a long-levered lefty with a slot this low and this sort of velocity would be vulnerable to righties, but they aren’t tagging Wolf’s heater so far. His changeup still isn’t great and I’m not sure there’s going to be a platoon-neutralizing weapon here, though Wolf’s ability to locate his breaking balls and vary their speeds gives him a way to get ahead of opposite-hand hitters at least. His fiery on-mound presence should be a fit in relief if he ends up moving, which is the projection here.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2018 from Kirkwood JC (IA) (MIL)
Age 24.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 50/50 35/40 70/70 70/70 40

Howell was a toolsy junior college prospect with catalytic qualities, led by his supreme speed. After initial pro trials at shortstop in the Brewers system (he came to the Padres via last year’s Victor Caratini trade), Howell began to play all over the diamond, including center field. He has really taken to center and it’s basically the only position he plays now. Howell can really go get it out there, as his reads and range are both incredible. He’s going to play in the big leagues by virtue of this skill alone, as outfielders with this level of defensive ability are very rare. Whether or not Howell will hit enough to have a bigger role remains to be seen, in part because his last two seasons have been marred by multiple injuries, including a 2022 wrist surgery. Indeed, he’s currently on a rehab assignment for a shoulder injury. My pre-injury forecast had already put Howell in a one-tool bucket (though it’s a very important tool) and sees him as a glove-only fifth outfielder.

13. Henry Williams, SP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2022 from Duke (SDP)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
35/45 55/60 40/50 30/55 90-92 / 95

The super projectable (especially for a college pitcher) Williams had a velo spike late in 2021, then had Tommy John prior to the 2022 season and didn’t pitch at all during his junior year at Duke. The Padres, one of several teams with a track record of taking risks on guys coming off surgery, drafted him in the third round. After getting tuned up in extended spring training, Williams was sent to Lake Elsinore in May and has slowly built his per-outing innings count to as many as six frames. His peak pre-surgery velo has not returned, and so far he’s only been sitting 90-92, with downhill plane. Williams still has a picturesque pitcher’s frame and an easy delivery, as well as a plus-flashing, low-80s curveball with lovely vertical depth. WIlliams also has advanced feel for changeup location, but the offering is currently firm and lacks big movement. The frame/athleticism projection here is a real separator and gives Williams a chance to reclaim that upward velo trend. With his current level of arm strength, he looks like a backend starter prospect.

14. Noel Vela, SP

Drafted: 28th Round, 2017 from Veterans Memorial HS (TX) (SDP)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/60 45/50 30/50 91-94 / 96

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on with Vela health-wise. He was on the IL due to bone spurs in his elbow until a late-June rehab outing that lasted less than an inning, and he hasn’t pitched again since. When I saw him during the spring, he was sitting 92, with all of his curveballs average or better, and several of them plus. When I went back to check his 2022 pitch data (there’s nothing else from this season to go on yet), I was surprised to see his changeup missed bats at a plus rate last year. His changeup feel has outpaced its quality in my looks, but it performed in a big way against High-A hitters in 2022. There’s a backend starter foundation here, Vela is just seemingly still dinged up.

15. Jagger Haynes, SP

Drafted: 5th Round, 2020 from West Colombus HS (NC) (SDP)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 45/50 20/50 30/50 93-96 / 97

Taken in the final round of the 2020 draft, Haynes hadn’t pitched in an affiliated game until this season because of a Tommy John. The athletic lefty has returned with a 93-96 mph fastball, albeit in short outings. He’s a short strider with a vertical arm slot, imparting natural depth on his curveball and ride on his fastball. We’re in the early going of Haynes’ healthy return and still need to see a third pitch here at some point. Next year is his Rule 5 evaluation season, but I can’t imagine the Padres pushing him with the expectation that he compete for a spot. His innings are more likely to be built slowly over the next year before the training wheels are taken off his workload in 2025.

Drafted: 17th Round, 2015 from Pacific (TBR)
Age 29.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
60/60 35/35 30/30 30/30 40/40 45

Nearly eight years after he was drafted out of Pacific, Sullivan finally made his big league debut in 2023 at age 29. He owns a career .276/.325/.433 line and had one of the lowest in-zone swing-and-miss rates in the entire 2022 minor leagues. Squeezed out of a deep Rays farm system that was lousy with backstops, Sullivan signed a big league deal with Milwaukee ahead of the lockout after departing Tampa via minor league free agency, then was traded to San Diego early in 2022. He is a passable but below-average defensive catcher whose pop times hover around 2.00 seconds and whose throws are typically accurate. Sullivan’s narrow frame can make it tough for him to block nasty pitches in the dirt consistently and he sometimes struggles receiving premium stuff. He also has some experience in left field and at third base, giving him an interesting wrinkle of versatility. Rare bat-to-ball ability for a catcher and versatility that could allow the Padres to carry three backstops for a portion of the season put Sully in a role-playing FV tier even though he’s an older rookie.

17. Eguy Rosario, 3B

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (SDP)
Age 23.9 Height 5′ 7″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 45/45 30/40 40/40 50/50 50

Rosario broke his ankle over the winter and only recently returned from the IL. He is still clearly shaking off rust at both the plate and in the field, but his defense has looked crisper during Rosario’s last few games. He’s historically been a very good second and third base defender, and his ability to play those two positions well and offer a late-game upgrade at either spot (unless you have, I don’t know, Manny Machado playing third) is the foundation of his prospectdom. Rosario’s timing at the plate is out of whack from his time off. He’s basically swinging with no stride, and looks stiff and unathletic in the box. Again, historically Rosario has been a decent hitter, if a bit aggressive, wielding close to average feel for contact and raw power. He continues to project as a bench infielder.

18. Graham Pauley, 3B

Drafted: 12th Round, 2022 from Duke (SDP)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 45/45 30/40 40/40 40/50 50

It’s fair to take Pauley’s Cal League performance with a healthy grain of salt, but he’s hit enough to become an actual prospect after going on the third day of of last year’s draft. Pauley’s hitting hands aren’t sexy or precise, but they’re quick, and the bend in Pauley’s lower half affords him great vertical plate coverage. He’s been tried at a variety of positions (second base and the corner outfield) but is clearly most comfortable at third. There likely won’t be enough hit/power combo to profile in an everyday capacity there, but if Pauley can actually play a few other positions, he could be a Greg Dobbs, four corner utilityman.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Walters State JC (TN) (TBR)
Age 28.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/60 40/40 60/60 92-95 / 96

A KBO team asked the Rays about Honeywell but he wanted to stay in the US, so Tampa Bay shipped the oft-injured, optionless former top 100 prospect to Oakland in the fall of 2021; the next spring he promptly went on the 60-day IL with a stress reaction in his elbow. Since 2017, Honeywell has only really been healthy for one year. After the 2022 season, he elected free agency and pitched for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League, where he showed good enough stuff that the Padres signed him to a minor league deal, and he looked good enough the following spring to break camp with their big league club as a long reliever. Honeywell is sitting about 95 mph and is still mixing in a traditional changeup with the slower screwball that made him famous. So long as he’s healthy, he’ll be a core part of the Padres bullpen, providing a four-to-six out bridge to the late-inning crew.

20. Ryan Bergert, SIRP

Drafted: 6th Round, 2021 from West Virginia (SDP)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 40/45 50/55 89-92 / 94

Bergert missed his draft year recovering from Tommy John surgery but was back for a few innings after the 2021 draft. He has pitched as a starter at High-A Fort Wayne for each of the last two seasons, working almost exclusively with his low-90s fastball and slider. A below-average on-mound athlete, Bergert projects as a reliever with a vertical fastball/breaking ball attack, especially if he experiences a velo spike with this projected shift in role. His feel for locating his fastball in the upper third of the zone is quite consistent, so even though he’s a tad walk-prone for an A-ball starter right now, he should have the command to be an on-roster middle reliever.

21. Tom Cosgrove, SIRP

Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from Manhattan (SDP)
Age 26.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/60 60/60 90-93 / 94

Cosgrove is a pretty standard low-slot lefty reliever with an upshot angle fastball and slider. He’s generating a plus swinging strike rate on his slider thus far in the big leagues, and his heater is getting grounders at a 72% rate even though it has upward angle. He’s stuff is consistent with a typical bullpen’s second-best lefty.

22. Alek Jacob, SIRP

Drafted: 16th Round, 2021 from Gonzaga (SDP)
Age 25.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 60/60 50/50 55/55 84-87 / 89

Jacob continues to thrive as a submarining long reliever, striking out no fewer than 27% of opposing hitters all the way through the minors. He only sits 85-86 mph, but he has a funky, low slot similar to Tim Hill and Tyler Rogers. He’ll show you three sweeping and tailing pitches, including a ton of right-on-right changeups. If Jacob can develop more precise command, he can carve out an integral middle-inning role like a Brad Ziegler.

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Mexico (SDP)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
30/40 40/50 40/50 40/50 25/55 90-93 / 95

Lizarraga is one of only a few dozen teenage pitchers currently at High-A and he’s holding his own there, limiting his walks to 7%, his second straight season of plus strike-throwing. Though he’s still a teenager, Lizarraga isn’t especially projectable. He has a big frame that is close to maxed out, and his lower half has filled out especially fast. He’s currently sitting 90-93 and mixing in all three of his secondary stuff pretty evenly, garnering most of his whiffs via his slider. Even though we’re talking about a very young pitcher, his prospectdom is more about stability than upside. Lizarraga is forecast as a low-variance fifth starter.

35+ FV Prospects

24. Juan Zabala, C

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Colombia (LAD)
Age 24.0 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/45 30/40 40/40 40/45 45

Zabala is a twitchy little catcher with above-average bat speed that requires a lot of effort to get to. This has resulted in a pretty considerable A-ball strikeout rate. Zabala is an excellent receiver and framer, presenting borderline pitches to umpires with quiet precision. You would think a smaller, quick-twitch catcher like Zabala would have a lightning-fast exchange, but he often double clutches and takes forever to get rid of the baseball. His raw arm strength is fine, but he needs to be quicker and more consistent out of his crouch. The bat speed, overall athleticism, and some of the defensive components here are exciting enough to value Zabala like a future 40-man catcher.

25. Isaiah Lowe, SP

Drafted: 11th Round, 2022 from Combine Academy (SC) (SDP)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/60 30/45 35/50 91-94 / 96

A $400,000 over-slot signee from 2022, Lowe is a stocky 20-year-old righty with a catcherly build and a riding low-to-mid-90s fastball. His arm stroke is super short and he hides the ball forever, plus the line on Lowe’s fastball is very hard to get on top of. In addition to his sneaky heater, Lowe has a good looking slider that plays best as a strike-stealer at the top of the zone. Aside from his stature, he’s a pretty typical high school draftee and a nice developmental starter prospect.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Mexico (SDP)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 55/55 40/40 45/45 40/40 50

Ornelas’ swing has undergone several changes in an effort to help him get to his power in games, and while that’s never quite happened, he’s still a lefty stick who is hitting the ball hard and often. He’s a Billy McKinney type.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2021 from UC Santa Barbara (SDP)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 45/50 30/50 30/30 30/40 40

Castañon had a huge chunk of his sophomore and fourth-year junior years knocked out due to injury and had his junior season disrupted by the pandemic in between. He raked when healthy, though, and Castañon has mostly continued to do so in pro ball, as he hit 23 bombs in 2022 and is on pace to have close to another 20 at Fort Wayne in 2023. Castañon has an athletic cut that gets a lot out of his compact frame. His big leg kick is sometimes tough to time, and he can go through periods of habitual lateness because his front foot isn’t down in time. He has enough power to be dangerous to all fields and enough feel to hit to get to that power in games. His underlying data is quite strong — 75% contact rate, 45% hard-hit rate — and Castañon checks a lot of visual boxes as a hitter. He does, however, have a very stiff lower half (some of his college injury woes were hamstring-related), and this impacts him on both sides of the ball. He struggles to elevate low pitches and he isn’t a very rangy defender. He was a below-average defensive second baseman at UC Santa Barbara and has moved to third base, where he is also below average. He’s a step slow a lot of the time but has enough arm for third. Ideally there’s another position in his bag at some point so Castañon can be the righty part of a multi-player platoon.

28. Rosman Verdugo, SS

Signed: International Signing Period, 2022 from Mexico (SDP)
Age 18.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 40/45 30/30 50/50 45/60 50

A $700,000 signee in 2022, Verdugo hasn’t taken off with the bat yet in pro ball, but he can play shortstop and is already branching out to the other infield positions on defense. Verdugo is a polished defender who occasionally makes some acrobatic plays via his effort and baseball instincts rather than athleticism. He lacks feel for the barrel, but swings pretty hard especially for his age, and he should end up with enough offense to be a solid bench infielder.

29. Jakob Marsee, CF

Drafted: 6th Round, 2022 from Central Michigan (SDP)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 40/40 30/35 55/55 30/40 40

Marsee has performed at a 130 wRC+ level since entering pro ball, and he has some barrel feel and knows how to take a walk. I don’t consider him a lock to stay in center field and think his athletic look would be atypical for a big leaguer at that position. I have him evaluated as a soft skills corner outfielder who lines up toward the bottom of a club’s 40-man.

30. Cole Paplham, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2022 (SDP)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/60 20/30 96-98 / 99

Paplham has emerged as one of the better 2022 undrafted free agent signings. He’s sitting in the upper-90s and bending in a plus-flashing sweeper at Lake Elsinore. Paplham’s drop-and-drive, somewhat cross-bodied delivery is very explosive and hard for him to maintain. He scatters his fastball all over the place. Hitters don’t seem flummoxed by his breaking ball a lot of the time, but it does have nice shape. There’s a long developmental road ahead, but Paplham comfortably has big league bullpen stuff.

31. Kevin Hacen, 3B

Signed: International Signing Period, 2023 from Dominican Republic (SDP)
Age 17.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/60 25/55 40/40 30/50 50

You wouldn’t expect a team to be able to use so much of its bonus pool space on one player and still come away from an international signing period with other good prospects, but even though Ethan Salas is the only Padres player who signed for more than $100,000 in January, a few players have emerged from this class. One is Hacen, who signed for $20,000. The 6-foot-2 third baseman is very projectable and already has sizable power. He’s playing a mix of third and first base in the DSL right now, and generating big measureable power while also looking like he has room on his frame for a few grades more. Power-over-hit guys are notorious overperformers in the DSL, which makes Hacen a high-priority target if he comes to the US for instructs in the fall.

32. Pedro Avila, SP

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (WAS)
Age 26.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/45 55/55 45/45 91-95 / 96

Perhaps no prospect at or close to the major league level has been as volatile as Avila, who has been getting bombed at El Paso this year, then came up to work three innings at the big league level a few days before list publication and was throwing three ticks harder than he did last season. Avila typically sits 92-94 and can either cut or sink his fastball. He appears to have scrapped his slider and is now a fastball/changeup/curveball spot starter on the roster fringe.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Mexico (SDP)
Age 23.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 45/45 50/55 50/50 40/40 92-94 / 96

Contreras showed a huge velocity boost during 2020 instructs, where he was up to 97 mph and sitting 93-95 during early innings before settling in the 92-94 range deep into outings. Unfortunately he blew out and needed Tommy John; he would miss all of 2021. The Padres added him to their 40-man to prevent other teams from picking him in the Rule 5 (though we didn’t end up having one) and stashed him on the IL while he finished rehab. Contreras re-entered affiliated ball in early May of 2022 and was non-tendered after the season and then re-signed on a minor league deal. Since returning from surgery, his fastball has been sitting 92-94. He has struggled to throw starter-quality strikes (he’s walked about a batter every other inning the last two seasons), but he still has a deep enough repertoire to consider him a spot-starting prospect. He needs to keep his frame in check and might even develop better command if his conditioning improves.

34. Ray Kerr, SIRP

Undrafted Free Agent, 2017 (SEA)
Age 28.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/50 40/40 40/40 94-96 / 98

Kerr was an athletic developmental pitching prospect signed as an undrafted free agent by the Mariners in 2017. He had a huge velo spike in 2019 as he moved into the bullpen, but he struggled with strike-throwing and secondary consistency. He sat 95-99 mph in 2021 and was traded to San Diego as part of the Adam Frazier deal, then came out in 2022 with a little less arm strength, sitting more 94-96 and peaking at 98, which is also where he’s been in 2023. Kerr’s approach to pitching is to pepper the zone with his secondary stuff early in counts and then blow the fastball past hitters to finish the plate appearance. Kerr’s low-80s curveball has come to the forefront after his split/change seemed most promising upon his initial entry into pro ball. His velo and command have been consistently inconsistent, enough to consider inconsistency an aspect of Kerr’s profile. He is ready for an up/down relief role.

35. Jay Groome, SP

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Barnegat HS (NJ) (BOS)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 262 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/40 40/45 55/55 45/50 40/50 90-92 / 94

Groome has turned into a kitchen sink lefty with five pitches (if you count his four- and two-seam fastballs as two different offerings) who mixes in his secondary stuff pretty evenly. His changeup has actually garnered the highest rate of swing and miss at El Paso so far this year. It looked like Groome had a shot to compete for a backend rotation spot during spring training, but instead he’s spending his final option year having a walk-prone Triple-A campaign. If he can reclaim the strike-throwing ability he’s shown in prior years, he could be a suitable spot starter, but the days of hoping he’d have two dominant breaking balls and a mid-90s heater are gone.

36. Luis German, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 40/50 30/40 97-99 / 100

German has been very walk-prone so far on the complex, but he’s sitting 97-99 with riding life in my looks. His changeup quality comes and goes. He’s a sushi-raw arm strength flier.

37. Bradgley Rodriguez, SIRP

Signed: International Signing Period, 2021 from Venezuela (SDP)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 45/50 20/40 96-98 / 100

I saw Rodriguez a couple of times during extended spring training and he was sitting 96-98 and peaking at 100 while mixing in a short, 86-87 mph slider. His softer build and violent delivery are clear bullpen indicators, and Rodriguez hasn’t thrown in an affiliated game in two years now, but he’s a hard-throwing young sleeper toward the bottom of this system.

38. Kevin Kopps, SIRP

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2021 from Arkansas (SDP)
Age 26.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
30/30 60/60 55/55 92-94 / 96

Kopps was so dominant as a multi-inning fireman at Arkansas (he had a 0.89 ERA in 2021, working about 90 innings across 33 relief appearances) that he was a Golden Spikes finalist. He signed for $300,000 in the third round and projected as a quick-moving low-leverage reliever. After a 2022 speed bump, Kopps is back on that track. He’s sitting 93 (up three ticks from last year) and missing bats at Double-A San Antonio. Kopps has two different breaking balls, but his upper-80s slider is easily his best pitch and he leans on it heavily. His slider quality and execution will enable him to be a viable middle reliever. His 40-man evaluation year isn’t until 2024, so he’ll likely spend next season as upper-level depth that isn’t occupying a roster spot.

39. Garrett Hawkins, SP

Drafted: 9th Round, 2021 from University of British Columbia (SDP)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 40/45 45/55 30/50 91-93 / 96

Hawkins was the first NAIA player drafted in 2021 even though he was difficult to scout in British Columbia due to border restrictions throughout 2020 and 2021. He was instead mostly seen during the 2021 MLB Draft League, during which Hawkins pitched for Trenton. He had a great post-draft summer on the complex and actually generated offseason trade interest. He had a little uptick in velocity in 2022, working 91-93 mph and touching 95-96 at peak, though Hawkins’ fastball carry is what drives his heater’s effectiveness. His arm strength had backed up in 2023 and he was only averaging 91 mph before he was shut down with a lat strain in May. His delivery is similar to Ubaldo Jiménez’s, with a vertical arm slot created in part due to his big, open stride. Hawkins still finds a way to create tumble on his changeup from this slot and his slider has vertical action; both are about average. Hawkins has only thrown anything resembling a full slate of innings once since 2019, but he has lots of background traits (cold weather, small program, fewer reps due to the pandemic) that indicate he may just be scratching the surface.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Catching Depth
Oswaldo Linares, C
Lamar King Jr., C
Juan Fernandez, C
Yoiber Ocopio, C
Oliver Carrillo, C

Linares, 20, was a two-year DSL guy who was sent to Lake Elsinore not long after the Complex League season started. He looked very good during extended spring training, showing feel for the barrel and a passable look behind the dish. He has 40-grade bat speed but is otherwise a pretty well-rounded young catcher. King, whose dad played defensive end for the Seahawks, was a $500,000 high school signee in 2022. He’s extremely physical and has gotten much better on defense during the last year, but he is still a long-term dev project in basically every way. Fernandez, 24, is a multi-positional player with a long bat-to-ball track record. He’s not great at any of the positions he plays (C/1B/3B, a bit of second base last year). Ocopio is a big-framed DSL catcher with a strong early-career bat-to-ball performance. Carrillo is a more mature catcher who is crushing the DSL right now and needs to be sent to Arizona to be tested.

FanGraphs’ Flavor
Alain Camou, 2B
Ismael Javier, MIF
Emil Turbi, MIF
Luis De Leon, MIF

This entire group is comprised of undersized middle infielders, many of whom switch-hit, and all of whom have advanced feel for contact. They are also all quite small. Camou is on the complex in Arizona while the rest are in the DSL.

You Might Be Interested in Knowing About…
Nerwilian Cedeño, 2B
Yendry Rojas, SS
Daniel Montesino, LF
Joshua Mears, LF

Especially if you already care about Padres prospects, you might be wondering about some of the names from this group. Cedeño is a little infielder with sneaky pop for his size. I fear he’s a second base-only defender without enough hit tool to profile as an everyday guy. Unless they can play another position, guys like this tend to end up on Domingo Leyba’s path. The same is largely true of Rojas, who signed for $1.3 million in 2022. I’m not sure he is going to stay on the dirt. For him, Montesino and Mears, the offensive bar they’ll need to clear is quite high.

Inventory Arms
Bodi Rascon, LHP
Jose Espada, RHP
Matt Waldron, RHP
Kobe Robinson, RHP
Carter Loewen, RHP

Rascon is a 6-foot-5 lefty with a low-90s fastball, an average slider, and a changeup that flashes. He could be a durable spot starter. A 2019 minor league rule 5 pick by Boston (from Toronto), Espada was signed as a minor league free agent in the offseason. He has a vertical fastball/curveball split and some of his breakers are really nasty. His changeup can miss a bat, too. None of his pitches have consistent finish, which makes Espada’s fastball especially vulnerable at 40-grade velo. Waldron is a knuckleballing depth arm who made his big league debut recently. Robinson is a low-slot righty sitting 94. Loewen is sitting 95 and has an 87 mph slider; he was promoted to Fort Wayne at the end of June. He’s a potential reliever who’s a great distance from Petco.

System Overview

The Padres system is extremely top heavy, with a four-player tier of potential stars up top and then a sizable drop off soon after. The Padres’ deadline posture as big time buyers each of the last several years has definitely cost them good prospects as they’ve aggressively pursued a ring, which is as good a reason to have a slightly depleted farm system as any. The Padres have tended to keep their system flush with enough premium prospects to sustain this approach. They aren’t perfect, but they tend to pick and sign really good players. Last year, I wrote that their system was down compared to prior years and they were still able to trade for Juan Soto. At times, the Padres are a little over-aggressive on the trade market and it ends up costing them the occasional Matt Brash or Emmanuel Clase type of player in a smaller deal. The sheer number of graduated big leaguers in other orgs who were originally signed by the Padres proves both points. There are currently 15 prospects in other systems who were originally signed by San Diego. On average since 2020, seven players originally signed by the Padres have played enough big league baseball to lose rookie status, including Brash, Clase, Jack Suwinski, Andrés Muñoz, and David Bednar.

San Diego is happy to draft pitchers who fall solely due to injury, with Dylan Lesko and Henry Williams the most recent examples; Cal Quantrill and Mason Thompson can be described this way too. As always, on-mound demeanor and worn-on-the-sleeve competitiveness seem to be separators for the Padres, though no amount of chest-pounding will help some of these guys’ fastballs play. On the position player side, a little pod of compact, hitterish infielders has popped up at San Diego’s lowest levels. This is a prospect phylum I tend to associate more with teams that take an analytically-oriented approach in the international market, like Cleveland and Milwaukee. I don’t think I’d call this a trend yet, and it may just be the sort of player they pivoted to in order to fill out a signing class behind Ethan Salas.

The Padres pro department still deploys multiple scouts at the complex level even though the team was expected to contend this season and be buyers at the deadline. This is not true of all contenders, some of which take a more dynamic approach and throttle down complex coverage when they’re less likely to trade for prospects. The Braves are a good example of this. In the event they fail to get rolling in July and decide to make some sellers’ deals, the Padres are in position to take players from the lower minors.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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9 months ago

The Padre’s trade deadline should be interesting whether they restock and sell off Soto (almost unthinkable but also, why not?) or buy and go for WC slot instead.

9 months ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

There is no way they are trading Soto. Once the market has been set with Ohtani they’re going to offer him 85% of what he gets to keep him in San Diego forever. This is the Peter Seidler way.

I am less certain about Snell, Wacha, and Martinez, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they keep them too under the same principle.

9 months ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Why can’t they trade him and still sign him back? That seems like the best play.

Barney Coolio
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

Soto’s contract runs through the 2024 season.

9 months ago
Reply to  Barney Coolio

Is he really? Why? Didn’t he sign a 1 year deal for 23 mil for just this season to end arbitration?

Cool Lester Smoothmember
9 months ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

and he’ll go through arbitration again next season.

9 months ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

One more year of arbitration. So, more accurately, he’s under team control for 2024.

9 months ago
Reply to  Kevbot034

Just half-baked speculation, but if the Angels can justify trading Ohtani to their fans, maybe it can only be for getting someone like Soto in return. And vice versa. If you’re not resigning Soto, and you want to sign Ohtani, . . .