We keep hearing the Padres have a top-notch, championship-caliber farm system. If minor league accolades are any indication that’s very true.
MLB Pipeline, the organization that sets Major League Baseball’s Top Prospect lists, has four Padres farmhands on their 2019 Prospect Team of the Year. That ties the Friars with the Diamondbacks as the only two teams with four representatives.
On top of the list is the guy who was also named the Pipeline Pitcher of the Year. MacKenzie Gore, the left-hander ranked as the #3 prospect in the game, was an easy choice for the award.
Gore threw 101 innings between Single-A and Double-A, racking up 135 strikeouts and a miniscule 1.69 ERA before he was shut down due to innings limits in August. After taking a month off Gore was allowed to return for one more start. He walked the first batter he faced … then struck out the next five in a row before reaching his pitch count.
Gore’s future batterymate could be Luis Campusano. The 20-year-old catcher had a breakout season at Lake Elsinore, winning the California League’s Co-MVP Award. Campusano hit .325 with 15 home runs, 81 RBI and a .905 OPS to help lead the Storm to the California League Finals (they start the championship series on Tuesday against Visalia).
The other two guys have already found their way to Petco Park. Infielder Ty France was hitting .399 with 27 homers and an absurd 1.247 OPS with the El Paso Chihuahuas when he got his permanent recall to the Padres. France, a 34th round draft pick in 2015 out of San Diego State, has earned regular playing time at 3rd base and 2nd base.
The final Friar on the list is right next to France in San Diego. Infielder Luis Urias landed on the team. His Triple-A numbers were fantastic with a .315 average, 19 HR and a .998 OPS. The 22-year-old native of Mexico got off to a terribly slow start offensively with the Padres but has shown signs that he might be able to replicate that success in the big leagues.
If he and all the rest of the heralded youngsters in the Padres system perform in The Show at the level they do on the farm then the Friars should be as good as we’ve all been hoping they can be for the last few years.