Padres Prospects Rising to the Challenge

Promising stable of young players is performing like the Friars hoped they would

In Spring Training I talked to long-time Padres coach Glenn Hoffman about all the kids he was walking around in the clubhouse. The Padres youth movement was in full swing and SuperAgent Scott Boras was talking about San Diego’s “Hot Talent Lava.”

But for coaches young players mean a lot more work. No matter how talented a teenager is there is still a lot of teaching to be done to get him to the point of becoming a good Major League ballplayer.

Hoffman seemed energized by the mountain of effort looming.

“This is awesome,” said San Diego’s 3rd base coach. “The effort that the minor leagues have done, you’re seeing the players more polished coming up here. There are bigger droves of them, too. Usually it’s just one or two a year but this year seems like everybody in this clubhouse is ran through the Padres system.”

That means the days of the 6th-year free agents who are just trying to hang on, guys that used to dominate the Padres Peoria clubhouse, were gone (at least for now). If the mid-season showcase games are any indication the Padres are on the track to success that we thought they’d be.

The Double-A Texas League All-Star team was announced recently and the San Antonio Missions have a league-leading nine players on the list.

It is, of course, led by top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. The shortstop got off to a slow start but since the start of May has hit .326 with eight home runs and 26 extra-base hits. His OPS over that time is .973 … and he’s 19 years old.

Joining Tatis are:

C Austin Allen (leads the league in slugging percentage)
1B Josh Naylor
IF River Stevens
IF Ty France (former San Diego State Aztec)
LHP Logan Allen
RHP Cal Quantrill
LHP Brad Wieck
RHP Rowan Wick

That’s just for starters.

The Lake Elsinore Storm are sending a magnificent seven to the California League All-Star Game, including a no-brainer in outfielder Buddy Reed. The former 2nd round pick who is not even listed on’s list of the Padres Top-30 prospects leads the league in batting average. He’ll head out to Lancaster with:

OF Edward Olivares
INF Hudson Potts
RHP Chris Paddack (70 strikeouts with just 3 walks)
RHP Elliot Ashbeck
RHP Reggie Lawson
LHP Adrian Morejon

One level below the Storm, the Fort Wayne TinCaps have four Midwest League All-Stars:

LHP Nick Margevicious
LHP Travis Radke
LHP Aaron Leasher
C Luis Campusano

You’d have to figure that list would include one more lefty is super prospect MacKenzie Gore had not lost most of the first half of the season dealing with blisters on his pitching hand. Since coming off the disabled list Gore has thrown 5.0 shutout innings, allowing one hit with one walk and eight strikeouts.

All-in-all that’s 20 minor league All-Stars for the Padres over just three levels. When the AAA Pacific Coast League All-Stars are revealed you’d have to figure another uber-prospect, infielder Luis Urias, will be added to the list. That would make six of their top eight prospects in All-Star games and the two missing out … RHP Anderson Espinoza and RHP Michel Baez … are probably doing so because of injury.

Espinoza is recovering from Tommy John surgery and Baez got to Lake Elsinore late because he was dealing with a back issue and needed a little longer at Spring Training. If we had enough innings to qualify he’d be among the California League leaders in ERA and strikeouts.

For just a little bit of perspective, in 2014 (the last round of Midsummer Classics before A.J. Preller took over at Padres General Manager) the Padres had five Texas League All-Stars, four California League All-Stars, and three Midwest League All-Stars. The only guys who panned out were then-Missions catcher Austin Hedges and then-Storm outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Of those two only Hedges ever cracked the top-35 on’s top-100 prospects list when he reached #24. Right now the Padres have five guys in the top 35.

The future does, in fact, seem to be awfully bright for the Padres.

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