It was another disappointing season for the San Diego Padres in 2016, but they will probably be fine with the big-league results knowing what is on the horizon. They aren’t going to be competitive next season, but they will soon have an outfield of Manny Margot, Hunter Renfroe and Travis Jankowski with guys like Wil Myers at first and Ryan Schimpf at second.
Some other prospects like Anderson Espinoza will take some more time before reaching San Diego, but they are certainly going to be fun to watch once they arrive. Sure Padres’ fans are going to have to deal with Jered Weaver in 2017, but all they have to do is remind themselves that the rebuild may be close to an end.
By the way, if you are interested in more MLB prospects columns, head on over to our 2017 fantasy baseball rankings dashboard. Throughout the offseason, you will find the rest of our team prospect breakdowns, fantasy baseball prospect rankings, tiered positional rankings, keeper values articles, and more - all in one easy place.
San Diego Padres Top Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Today I am continuing my list of prospect systems in the NL West. I have already covered the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers. Later, I will delve into the San Francisco Giants. To read more about my prospect coverage, click here.
Top Overall Talent: Manny Margot
Top Prospect to Debut in 2017: Manny Margot
Margot is just a really fun player to watch. He is not the most extraordinary prospect in baseball, but he is extremely fast and has demonstrated an ability to drive the ball to all fields. Scouts love his ability to control the strike zone and many believe he is the leadoff hitter of the future for the Padres. He does not have much power right now, and while some believe he may develop at least 15 home run pop, it is important to remember Petco Park will suppress his power. Regardless, his speed, potential to hit over .300 and chance to lead off for San Diego as early as this season makes him a prospect worth owning in all dynasty leagues.
Top Prospect who won’t debut in 2017: Anderson Espinoza
The upside with Espinoza is just so tantalizing. Scouts who watch him pitch say the undersized right-hander has the explosive stuff and solid command to become the next Pedro Martinez. While I won’t put that kind of insane pressure on him, I will say it looks like a very solid bet that he will be a future ace. Last season between Class-A with Boston and later San Diego, he posted FIP numbers of 2.99 and 3.17, respectively. Oh, and did I mention he was only 18 years old? He requires more time to develop, but he will only be 19 in 2017 and has a chance to reach the big leagues by 2018 if he can continue his rapid ascension through the minors.
Biggest Boom or Bust: Luis Almanzar
Almanzar is a 17-year-old shortstop in the Padres’ system who was recently signed to a professional contract. He still has yet to play a single inning of professional baseball. So you can see why he has risk. Without any experience and several years of development ahead of him, there is no telling what kind of player he will turn out to be. But if the scouts are right about him, the Padres are in for a treat.
The 6-foot, 180 lb shortstop is a strong kid who has demonstrated a ton of raw power for someone his age. He generates a lot of pop in his swing and many believe he could eventually be a 20-homer threat with a .280+ average. He is also pretty fast, though he will need to work on getting better reads if he is going to reach his full potential as a 20-stolen base kind of guy. Almanzar could be an offensive force up the middle for San Diego if everything works out well. His upside is likely worth investing in for large dynasty leagues, but there is no guarantee he won’t bust.
Biggest Sleeper: Chris Paddack
Traded from Miami to San Diego in the Fernando Rodney deal, Paddack was in the midst of a dominant stretch in the minors before he was set down with Tommy John surgery. Paddack pitched to a sterling 0.85 ERA and amazing 1.25 FIP in 42.1 innings of work. On top of that, he struck out 46.4 percent of opposing batters while walking only 3.3 percent. Now you may be thinking that his numbers were put together in a low level of the minors and who cares, but everything else about him screams high upside. He is a 6-foot-4 right-hander weighing in at 195 pounds. So he’s got size, how about stuff?
Scouts who’ve seen him pitch say he has a fastball in the mid-90s and a solid curveball. But his best pitch is his changeup which most rate as one of the better right-handed changeups in the minors. They also give praise to his command, citing it as advanced for someone of his age. He will need to return from Tommy John surgery, but he has the potential upside to be a No. 2 or 3 starter in the big leagues.
Top Prospect Hitters
Best Power Hitter: Hunter Renfroe
If there is one guy who can hit 30+ home runs in Petco Park, it is probably Renfroe. The 25-year-old outfielder absolutely crushed Triple-A last season to the tune of a .306/.336/.557 slash line with 30 home runs in only 133 games of work. He was later promoted to the big leagues and blasted four home runs in only 11 games while throwing in an outstanding .371 average.
He has legit power and can be a force in the middle of the Padres lineup. He is extremely aggressive which has seen him post very low walk rates, but he balances it out by making more consistent contact. He can improve his average by simply demonstrating patience, but even if he doesn't improve his discipline, he is probably still a guy who could hit at least .250 with 30 home runs.
Most Likely to Hit over .300: Manny Margot
Best Burner on the Bases: Manny Margot
If you had to create the perfect leadoff hitter, chances are the end product would look something like Manuel Margot. He has enough power to punish the occasional mistake pitch in the middle of the zone, but more important than that, he looks like a future .300+ hitter who will steal 30+ bases per season. Throughout his MiLB career, Margot has shown that while he is not keen on taking the free pass, he is great at avoiding the punchout and is capable of spraying line drives to all fields. Owners should be awfully excited about this guy, especially considering they may get a chance to reap the reward of Margot as early as this season.
Top Prospect Pitchers
Strikeout Machine: Anderson Espinoza
Best Command: Anderson Espinoza
Ask scouts and they will tell you there is not a bad pitch in his arsenal. He has a mid-upper-90s fastball, a wicked curveball and a changeup that has become a legit weapon for him. And to this point in his professional career, that lights-out stuff has helped him consistently maintain strikeout rates north of 22 percent with the exception of the 32.1 innings at the Padres Class-A affiliate. And if those strikeout numbers weren’t enough to get you stoked for his future, just look at his walk rates which have only gone above 8.4 percent once . . . and that was in a single outing that lasted 3.1 innings. He is a special pitching prospect with insane upside and looks poised to be the next true ace of the San Diego Padres.
Top 10 Dynasty Prospects for the San Diego Padres
1. Manny Margot (OF, MLB)
Your prototypical leadoff hitter, Margot looks a perennial threat to hit .300, steal 30 or more bases and score 100 runs. He may get a chance to start for the big league club right out of Spring Training.
2. Anderson Espinoza (SP, A)
Future ace has elite strikeout stuff and sharp command at age 18 and scouts believe there is still more to come. He could be one of the best pitchers in baseball in a few years.
3. Hunter Renfroe (OF, MLB)
Renfroe has explosive power that should translate even to pitcher-friendly Petco Park. If he can improve his patience at the plate, he could be a .270 hitter with 30+ home runs in the big leagues.
4. Cal Quantrill (SP, A)
Quantrill received Tommy John surgery before the 2016 season, but his stuff is legit and scouts still view him as a future frontline starting pitcher.
5. Michael Gettys (OF, A+)
Gettys has always been regarded as a speedy outfielder, but in 2016, he started to hit. He has the potential to be a 30+ stolen base threat with an average around .260.
6. Josh Naylor (1B, A+)
A power bat at first base, Naylor has the potential to hit 30 homers in Petco Park, but he will need to start taking more walks and focusing on making hard contact consistently.
7. Luis Urias (2B, A+)
Urias doesn’t have an explosive skillset, but he has demonstrated outstanding plate discipline and could still be a 10/10 second baseman with a high batting average.
8. Adrian Morejon (SP, NA)
Young southpaw does not have a single bad pitch in his repertoire, but he will need to prove he can effectively use his stuff in professional baseball.
9. Luis Almanzar (SS, NA)
Young shortstop has the potential to be a 20/20 threat in the big leagues if he can develop his raw tools into in-game production.
10. Jorge Ona (OF, NA)
Ona possesses easy power and is very advanced for someone of his age and lack of professional experience. He will still need to spend a few years in the minors to develop his game a little more.
The Padres built up their farm system almost single-handedly because of the Boston Red Sox. They acquired Margot, Carlos Asuaje, Javier Guerra and Logan Allen in exchange for Craig Kimbrel and they got Anderson Espinoza in exchange for Drew Pomeranz. But regardless of how they acquired their top prospects, the Padres have built up one of the best systems in baseball.
They have an outstanding top three prospects and some remarkable depth of low-risk/low-reward middle-infield prospects like Asuaje and Urias, some high-risk/high-reward guys like Ona and Almanzar and a ton of pitchers like Dinelson Lamet and Logan Allen. They are a very deep system and one that dynasty owners should study up on to get an edge in their dynasty leagues.