Wiry-thin, Aristy is a graceful performer in the field and a definitive work in progress at the dish. His footwork is nifty and his arm has plus potential. Thrown balls have a little loft when his arm drops down, and he will have to learn to make strong, accurate throws each time. At the plate, added muscle is desperately needed. He can put the bat to ball but does not do so with any authority. Aristy's bunting skills need to be refined – as he currently has none, spearing at balls instead of letting the bat do the work.
Fastball command and a plus changeup are his trademarks but he never seemed to overcome an injury that has him beginning the year in extended spring. His pitches were up in the zone and the comfort level and confidence wavered. He won't overpower but will work inside, paint the corners and will generally provide a quality start each time out. This season may have been an aberration.
A gap hitter that comes through in clutch situations, Baum has to increase his power output to be taken seriously at the hot corner. He is an average defender with more of a line drive stroke but has the power to lift balls out of the park. His pitch selection also needs to improve, as he swings at far too many balls outside of the zone.
An enigma – he can dazzle with his power potential and confound by his inability to put good wood on the ball. A strikeout machine that has to continually watch his weight, Carrasco's second half was atrocious after a solid first half. A much better hitter from the left side (and he should abandon his right-handed stroke altogether), Carrasco has to find consistency – especially as the talent pool deepens within the system.
A power hitter that sometimes tries too hard to hit for power, Carter is a steady performer that plays above his tools. Blessed with a cannon arm from the outfield, his bat defines him. He will chase outside of the zone and tries to pull pitches he should be taking the other way. Still, he has enough in the tank to learn to go with pitches to maximize his potential.
A hard-nosed grinder that is more at home with his jersey soiled, Codiroli has the mentality of a leadoff hitter. He takes pitches and will draw plenty of walks while smacking singles. He has decent speed but needs to improve on his base stealing skills. Codiroli is aggressive and will flag down balls in the outfield but has to improve his route running and arm strength.
The same knock that has been on Cooper continues – when will he hit for power and when will he learn to pull the inside pitch. Armed with an inside-out swing, Cooper hits with a higher confidence when he is playing his game and working the gaps. Asking him to add power – and a lot more – has taken away from his natural ability to hit for a high average. A solid athlete and above average defender at first base and the outfield, he is in a premium position that demands he make the adjustments related to power.
Suspension after several fights with teammates has put Contreras on a tremendous slide. With the talent continuing to increase within the system, Contreras needs at-bats to prove he is worthy of the praise. An unorthodox batting stance would seem to sap some of his power potential, but the infielder has tremendous pop and can put bat to ball with electric hands and bat control. He has become more patient and has good speed. His defense needs work and at-bats will be the key to his future.
Better than his college numbers would suggest, Davis has a never die attitude. The right-hander is an intellectual pitcher that works to his strengths and has no fear. Having already overcome a serious injury that threatened his career, Davis has a keen mental approach that keeps him sharp even when his best stuff is missing. He should be even better next year with some much needed rest.
Chalk this up as a learning experience for Davis, who appeared tired through his first professional season. His velocity was down and his location was amiss due to faulty mechanics. His line to the plate was off and his plant leg was not driving towards home but off-center. He has a solid changeup and will benefit from rest and better control of his fastball.
While he doesn't throw extraordinarily hard, DeHoyos mixes his pitches well and offers up some deception that makes his fastball appear harder than its low-90s spin. Add in a plus curveball with its hammer drop and he can confound hitters with different looks. He has a rubber arm and can go several innings and bounce back quickly.
Without seeing him, Denker is a wildcard. He is the frontrunner to earn a major league job and start at second base. He has quick hands that generate bat speed and surprising pop. Denker works the count into his favor and has the ability to drive his pitch. He doesn't have great speed and is an adequate fielder but would do well as a number two hitter where his hit-and-run capabilities can be utilized.
Diaz dropped significantly after not meeting the Padres standards. Blessed with excellent speed, he has started to translate that to stealing bases. What hasn't translated is his propensity to strikeout while not rewarding the team with enough extra base hits. Diaz won't be effective unless he can add power to his game since his strike zone judgment is iffy.
Hitting in the cage, it is easy to see his potential. The left-handed hitting outfielder has projectable power and a solid frame to continually add muscle. Right now, his swing is a little long, and he is still learning the nuances of the game. He is pull happy at the moment but that could be part of the eager to impress attitude many come in with. He is an intriguing player that should develop over time. At 16, what did you expect?
A plug-and-play prospect, Dowdy doesn't garner the praise but does all the little things right. He plays solid defense and can man six different spots effectively while acting as a sparkplug on offense. He has lightning speed but has never been able to master the art of stealing bases. Dowdy is a valuable commodity with his ability to play multiple positions on a part—time basis and battle in each at-bat.
Coming at hitters with a lower than three-quarters arm angle, Ellis is very effective against right-handed hitters – dropping a dirty slider and two-seamer down in the zone. He generates a lot of ground balls and is a go-to arm with men on base. Ellis needs to improve upon his changeup command to limit the effectiveness of left-handed hitters who generally have a field day off him.
After seeing him pitch in a simulated game just once, it is easy to see the talent level. He has quality pitches across the board, attacks the strike zone and has a fearless attitude. Hernandez works ahead in the count often and has a knack for putting hitters away. The southpaw does not project to add velocity to a 90 mph fastball but has great pitchability and an early understanding of pitch sequencing.
A hard throwing right-hander, Herrera's biggest hurdle is control. Still extremely young at 17, Herrera is learning how to pitch and develop his secondary pitches. He is a max-effort pitcher that overthrows instead of focusing on clean mechanics. When he is in the strike zone, he is very tough to hit but things can snowball quickly, as his confidence quickly wanes when a free pass is issued. It won't surprise to see Herrera leap into the top 60.
A strike thrower that relies upon fastball command a changeup that has become his out pitch, Gonzalez uses some deception that makes his fastball jump on the batter. He also has a slider that needs refinement. Gonzalez works down in the zone and is aggressive in attacking hitters early in the count. He is also not afraid to pound the ball in the dirt to finish them off.
The first call-up to long season ball among the Padres drafted prospects, Gutierrez had a tough time fanning the flames and avoiding the big inning. With a power fastball, Gutierrez found he had to pitch – rather than blowing the ball by more developed hitters. He can be very effective, but it boils down to improving his secondary pitches.
A herky-jerky motion and the lack of fastball command dropped Lara from the rankings. While he still has a fastball that can hit 93-95 and a terrific changeup, both were nullified by his inability to work in the strike zone. When he is working the lower half of the zone, the deception in his delivery makes him very hard to hit. Confidence is a big key with him and the mechanics will always scare those who believe he is an injury (again) waiting to happen.
Seen as a solid defender coming in, he surprised everyone with his bat. A doubles hitter with great plate awareness, Lara waits for his pitch and unloads. His extra base hit potential should rise with time. Lara is a student of the game and very adept at calling games and blocking balls. He has a good arm and solid footwork coming out from behind the plate. Another successful year at a tougher level will put him squarely on the map.
Is there any doubt about his power? He hit four of his homers as a 16-year-old and will continue to get stronger as he matures. The biggest knock on him today is he needs to make more consistent contact. That, too, will come with time. He has future superstar potential. Currently, Liriano simply swings at too many balls outside the zone. Once he learns the strike zone and how to recognize the spin of pitches, look out for this rising prospect.
Had he been re-signed prior to the rankings, Lobaton likely would have made the list. The catcher has a cannon arm but needs to work on his footwork to maximize his potential. A streaky hitter, Lobaton has room to add muscle to a strong frame. He gets into spells where he is looking for an extra base hit and that negatively affects him. He is sometimes too hard on himself in the box but does a solid job of handling the pitching staff.
Not eligible for the rankings as he was a potential free agent, Macias has improved in every year he has played. A terrific defender that can man all three outfield spots, the left-handed hitter really turned the corner with his patience at the dish while showing more consistent power. He has a chance to carve out a solid career with his flexibility, ability to hit the gaps, work the count, and steal a few bases. Add in his stellar defense, and it is hard not to like the kid.
Madden had a bounce-back season and regained the confidence that once had him rising quickly within the system. Madden has a biting slider and good movement on his fastball that he is able to locate down in the zone. When his release point is stable from a low three-quarters delivery, his pitches are tough to hit into the air and he induces ground balls. As his motion wavers, pitches flatten out and can be lifted.
A plus defender behind the dish that pitchers say frames the ball well and calls a good game, Martinez needs refinement with his hitting skills. He is strong, but his swing is more conducive to sending balls into the gaps. He has patience, but, at times, will let good pitches go by and put himself into bad hitting counts. The backstop has good mechanics with blocking the ball and throwing out runners but will be measured by the improvement with his bat.
A left-hander that can throw in the low-90s today with room for growth. It is a combination that is easy to like. He also had a good curveball and the feel for a changeup. Cleaning up his mechanics and concentrating on working in the zone with all of his pitches is primary on the agenda. Fastball command will determine his ultimate fate, but he is an exciting prospect that could generate a lot of buzz – and soon.
Making tremendous strides from when the Padres first saw him, Minyeti has quickly become a more complete hitter that takes instruction into live games. A gap hitter with uncanny patience for his age, Minyeti can be a catalyst offensively. He has solid bat control and is a good bunter. If he can refine his speed and use it more effectively, Minyeti can be a solid leadoff hitter that sees pitches and does some damage.
Physically maturing in the last year has benefited Ojeda. He velocity on his fastball has gone up, his confidence has improved and his overall grasp of the game has gotten better. There is still room for more. Ojeda is a contact pitcher who still works behind in too many counts and has not figured out how to put a hitter away. His effectiveness is tied to being down in the zone.
He doesn't have a fastball that can blow hitters away but what he does do well is get his off-speed pitches over for strikes. At the lower levels, that is deadly to hitters who are looking dead red. His fastball command needs to improve, and he has pitched up in the zone too often for stateside pitching. Oramas seems to bear down with men on base and needs to take the same approach with the bases empty.
As valuable as the come, Parrino's ability to play multiple positions and hit anywhere in the lineup are traits that make a manager fall in love. He is a solid defender at second base and shortstop while holding his own at third. He made tremendous strides in seeing more pitches but still swings and misses too much for a guy who won't wow with his power. His tireless work ethic should continue to smooth that out and he is a better hitter from the left side than the right.
There was a temptation to rank Portillo in the top five after seeing him pitch just once, but we will reserve judgment for a second showing. The kid is physically imposing at 16 and has room to grow. He looks and acts like someone much older. Mature beyond his years, Portillo has a fastball that will be a plus pitch and two or three other offerings that have potential to be above average. First-pitch strikes will be a vital component of his success, but expect positive returns to come quick. He has front-line starter potential.
A flamethrowing right-hander, Poynter's biggest question revolved around his ability to consistently throw strikes. He began the year as a max-effort pitcher but improved tenfold in the Instructional League, taking home Most Improved Pitcher honors for his ability to work at 90 percent and increase his efficiency while not sacrificing on the stuff.
Since entering the system, Ramos has been hyped because of his stuff – solid offerings across the board – but he hasn't truly justified the rankings. The common complaint is he does not pitch to his stuff and falls behind in too many counts. That is a recipe for disaster in any league but remains correctable. The Padres thought as much, adding him to the 40-man roster.
A solid fastball and tilting slider is a solid recipe for a reliever. Coming stateside for the first time, Veras was out of his element and intimidated. His fastball caught way too much of the plate and he could never get to his secondary pitches. He got some valuable innings as a starter but would be better used as a reliever where he can utilize his 91-94 mph fastball to set the tone.
There is no doubt Weems is smooth defensively. He glides across the diamond with ease, has tremendous footwork and excellent range. His bat, however, is a question mark at this point. He has shown the ability to hit the ball with authority but not with consistency. He has bad habits with rapping the bat and leaking out over his front foot – putting him off-balance.
A classic catcher's build, Zornes has a thick base that allows him to give a pitcher a hittable target. He blocks balls well but will need to improve his footwork in coming out of his stance, despite a laser arm. Zornes has the power to do some damage but missed a lot of time and was trying to find his rhythm at the dish during live action. He may never hit for a high average but could be potent in driving in runs.
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