1. Javier Guerra, SS. 2. Manuel Margot, OF. 3. Hunter Renfroe, OF. 4. Ruddy Giron, SS. 5. Jose Rondon, SS. 6. Travis Jankowski, OF. 7. Colin Rea, RHP. 8. Logan Allen, LHP 9. Austin Smith, RHP 10. Michael Gettys, OF.
At first glance, a few names stick out. Most pundits have newly acquired outfielder Manuel Margot as the top prospect in the San Diego chain, but Baseball America went with Javier Guerra. Ruddy Giron’s remarkable season puts him firmly in the top-5, while 18-year-old Logan Allen, also acquired in the Kimbrel deal ranks all the way at #8.
For a full analysis, we spoke to Vince Lara-Cinisomo of Baseball America, who wrote the list. Vince gave us his insight to his rankings, and why the Padres system could continue to improve and you can also find more information on his list in the chat he did for Baseball America.
At first glance, what stood out to me is the fact that Javier Guerra tops the list. Why did you rank him #1 in front of Margot?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: His position plays a lot into it. Guerra can play short, but should also stay at short. He is an above-average fielder and he displayed good power last season. Margot is a really good player, but I am not sure his celling is above Guerra’s. That is why I made Guerra #1.
Logan Allen’s inclusion in top-ten was a little surprising. What do you like about him?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: Allen would have probably ranked as high as #12 in the Red Sox system and that organization is much deeper than San Diego’s. If Allen is good enough to rank that high in Boston, there is no doubt he’d crack the top-ten in the Padres system.
Allen is young, but he was considered a “safe” high school pick. Many scouts believe he is very likely to reach his ceiling and many have compared him to Jon Lester. He is in the same category as Jacob Nix, although Nix pitched a year at the ING Academy. He has a chance to feature three above-average pitches and should be able to hit the mid 90’s with his fastball.
Outfielder Michael Gettys is a guy we like a lot. While he struggles to make contact, you can see the talent is there. Could Gettys be the #1 prospect next season?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: Yeah, if Gettys makes an adjustment at the plate, his talent could make him the top guy in this system. He is the best athlete in the San Diego organization. He is already a plus-plus defender and has an elite arm. He has shown some pop, but again, the struggles to make contact are a huge concern. I can see him returning to Fort Wayne in 2016 and if he can prove that he has refined his approach at the plate, he should move up to Lake Elsinore. His offensive statistics should improve automatically in the California League because of all the hitter-friendly environments.
Ruddy Giron came out of nowhere last season to have a really nice year. What are your thoughts on his potential?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: Giron has a nice bat and could potentially stay at short, although it will be interesting to see what the Padres do with him. It seems apparent that Javier Guerra will be the shortstop in Lake Elsinore, so Giron might stay behind in Fort Wayne. The team could conceivably play Giron at second although they’d still need to find a place for Luis Urias to play. Giron will be 19 next season, so there isn’t really a need to rush him. I expect to start in the Midwest League. The Padres want both Guerra and Giron to play shortstop.
Jose Rondon ranks high on your list. He really struggled last year in Double-A. What do you like about him?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: He did struggle in San Antonio, but the Padres really like him. He isn’t a flashy guy, but he does a lot of things well. He can stay at short and aside from not being very strong, he does everything well. He should be a guy that is steady defensively and he can hit for a decent average with 15-20 stolen bases a season. He probably won’t be in the mix in 2016 for the shortstop job, but he could make to San Diego if there any injuries.
You ranked Austin Smith ahead of Jacob Nix. Both pitchers seem to be pretty comparable. What do you like about Smith?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: He is a big kid with a good fastball and changeup, but he does need to improve his command. Assuming he gets better with his command, I can see his ceiling as a #3 starter. The Padres will probably play it safe next season and leave him in extended spring training to work on a few things. He will probably pitch for Tri-City next season. The organization limited his innings last year and he is still just a year removed from high school.
The Padres chose not to protect Justin Hancock and Rafael De Paula in the Rule V Draft. What are their chances of being selected by another organization?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: There’s a chance that they could get snatched up, however, I really think reliever Jimmy Brosoban is more likely to be picked up. He had a great year for Fort Wayne last season and has a really good slider. He is the type of guy the Padres really would like to keep in their organization. I think he could be a guy who gets selected.
Rymer Liriano is not in your top-ten. What does his future look like in San Diego?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: The Padres have had a long leash with him. He has appeared on prospect lists for nearly eight years – which is a long time to have not been given an opportunity. He is a prototypical right fielder and had a nice year in El Paso. I think the Padres end up moving him – either in a trade or designating him off the roster. I really don’t think he gets an opportunity in San Diego.
Are there any guys outside of the top-ten that you really like?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: I really like outfielder Nick Torres. He worked a lot with (Lake Elsinore Storm hitting coach) Xavier Nady on driving the ball and it seemed to have paid off. He hit 44 doubles and got better as the season progressed. In terms of makeup, which scouts say is the sixth-tool, he scores off-the-charts. I have him in the middle teens.
With all of the recent moves, where do you have the Padres’ system ranked?
Vince Lara-Cinisomo: Prior to the Kimbrel deal, I had them at 29th; just ahead of the Marlins. After acquiring some of the guys that they have, I have in the bottom third, maybe as high as 21st. I believe that they will trade Tyson Ross and that package will get them closer to 15th or so.