Below is an analysis of the prospects in the San Diego Padres farm system. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from my own observations. The KATOH statistical projections, probable-outcome graphs, and (further down) Mahalanobis comps have been provided by Chris Mitchell. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of my prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

The KATOH projection system uses minor-league data and Baseball America prospect rankings to forecast future performance in the major leagues. For each player, KATOH produces a WAR forecast for his first six years in the major leagues. There are drawbacks to scouting the stat line, so take these projections with a grain of salt. Due to their purely objective nature, the projections here can be useful in identifying prospects who might be overlooked or overrated. Due to sample-size concerns, only players with at least 200 minor-league plate appearances or batters faced last season have received projections.

Other lists: ARI, SF

Padres Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Anderson Espinoza 18 A RHP 2019 60
2 Manny Margot 22 MLB CF 2017 55
3 Cal Quantrill 21 A RHP 2018 55
4 Hunter Renfroe 24 MLB OF 2016 50
5 Adrian Morejon 18 R LHP 2020 50
6 Fernando Tatis, Jr. 17 A- 3B 2021 50
7 Jacob Nix 20 A RHP 2019 50
8 Chris Paddack 20 A RHP 2020 45
9 Jeisson Rosario 17 R OF 2021 45
10 Logan Allen 19 A LHP 2020 45
11 Carlos Asuaje 24 MLB 2B 2017 45
12 Luis Urias 19 A+ 2B 2018 45
13 Gabriel Arias 16 R SS 2021 45
14 Jorge Ona 19 R OF 2019 45
15 Mason Thompson 18 R RHP 2021 45
16 Reggie Lawson 19 R RHP 2021 45
17 Luis Almanzar 17 R SS 2021 45
18 Eric Lauer 21 A LHP 2019 45
19 Hudson Potts 18 A- 3B 2020 45
20 Jose Rondon 22 MLB SS 2017 45
21 Michael Gettys 21 A+ CF 2019 40
22 Phil Maton 23 AAA RHP 2017 40
23 Michel Miliano 16 R RHP 2022 40
24 Enyel De Los Santos 20 A+ RHP 2020 40
25 Dinelson Lamet 24 AAA RHP 2017 40
26 Josh Naylor 19 A+ 1B 2020 40
27 Buddy Reed 21 R CF 2019 40
28 Nick Torres 23 AAA OF 2018 40
29 Austin Allen 22 A C 2019 40
30 Josh VanMeter 21 AA UTIL 2018 40
31 Hansel Rodriguez 19 A- RHP 2020 40
32 Yimmi Brasoban 22 AA RHP 2018 40

60 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela
Age 19 Height 6’0 Weight 160 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
60/70 50/70 50/70 40/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded just 5.6% walk rate after trade to San Diego.

Scouting Report
Espinoza got a $1.8 million bonus in 2014 despite his diminutive stature because, despite a lack of height, his arm worked incredibly well and he already showed terrific feel for spin. He was unhittable in the GCL when he debuted stateside, allowing just three earned runs in 40 innings there. He wasn’t as dominant in 2016 and reports of his stuff and performance were a little inconsistent, after he was traded to San Diego for Drew Pomeranz, but this was an 18-year-old dealing with severance from the organization that changed his life and his peripherals were good despite inflated ERAs. By the time instructional league arrived, things had come together and Espinoza was arguably the best pitching prospect throwing during instructs in either Arizona or Florida. He was 95-97 with movement in an abbreviated final instructional-league outing and flashed a plus-plus curveball.

Despite lacking prototypical measurables Espinoza has added velocity as his trunk and torso have thickened. I think he’ll be quite stocky and strong at maturity. The delivery is efficient and explosive but rarely out of control, and Espinoza is smooth and athletic enough to project at least average command at maturity. His arm speed allows for a moving fastball in the 92-96 range during extended outings and he’ll reach the upper 90s. His arm action will lengthen a bit when he throws his changeup, but he has tremendous feel for creating movement on the change and it’s routinely plus. Espinoza had issues with curveball consistency this year but it was fathoms deep and dominant this fall and Espinoza has begun burying it to left-handed hitters more frequently.

Espinoza’s size isn’t an issue for me. Yes, he’s short, but the delivery is easy, he’s athletic and strong and he creates plane and movement on his fastball despite his size. Some are concerned about where the body is going but I consider Espinoza athletic enough to maintain his delivery even if he does get big. He has shown three 70 offerings. If they all mature there, and I think there’s a chance they will, we’re talking about a top-of-the-rotation arm.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 5.0 WAR

anderson-espinoza-likelihood-of-outcomes

55 FV Prospects

2. Manny Margot, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic
Age 22 Height 5’11 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 50/55 30/40 70/70 55/60 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .304/.351/.426 with just 11.3% strikeout rate at Triple-A in 2016. Worth 12 runs above average in 118 Triple-A games in center-field games, per Clay Davenport.

Scouting Report
Margot signed with Boston in 2011 for just $800,000 and coasted through the low minors, tasting High-A as a teenager. He spent time on the disabled list in 2015 with a shoulder injury and was traded to San Diego at the beginning of last offseason as part of a blockbuster package for Craig Kimbrel. He had success on both sides of the ball at Triple-A this year, received a second invite to the Futures Game and made his debut at Petco Park in September.

The defense is big-league ready and projects to plus at maturity. Margot not only has excellent speed but terrific athleticism and feel for his routes and footwork in the outfield. He also has a plus arm. Center fielders across the majors produced a collective .316 wOBA in 2016 and Margot projects to hit better than that, perhaps immediately. He has plus bat speed, his barrel is quick into the zone and he has excellent hand-eye coordination. He projects as a plus hitter. While Margot has average raw power, his in-game swing prioritizes contact and he hits a lot of balls on the ground. It’s possible Margot may learn to elevate the ball more regularly as he matures, and if he does he’ll become a star-level player. But proactive changes to Margot’s hitting approach might backfire and eat away at his ability to make contact. Even if his game power never materializes beyond 8-12 homers per year, this is a plus defender in center field who provides near-leadoff-level contact and on-base ability. Margot is a relatively safe bet to provide above-average daily production.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 13.6 WAR

manny-margot-likelihood-of-outcomes

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Stanford
Age 22 Height 6’3 Weight 195 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
55/60 45/50 55/70 45/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Produced 36.7% strikeout rate at Low-A.

Scouting Report
Quantrill was seen as one of the 2016 draft’s potential 1.1 candidates but he blew out his arm in March of 2015 and had Tommy John surgery late in that month. Quantrill aimed to come back and pitch for Stanford sometime in 2016 (and teams wanted to see him) but it never materialized. This sparked rumors in the industry that a team had already begun talking to him and asked him to shut down to ensure he’d fall to their pick as teams at the top of the draft would have a hard time justifying the selection of a pitcher who hadn’t pitched in a year. Quantrill was drafted at No. 8 overall and, had he pitched for Stanford and looked the way he did in pro ball after signing, there’s a chance he would have been the first overall pick.

Quantril was 92-96 in the Arizona League and through instructional league, with a plus changeup that he throws to both left and right-handed hitters. It’s a potentially dominant pitch, sold as if by a parasitic insurance salesman by terrific arm speed, only to close the deal with diving movement. Quantrill’s third pitch is a mostly vertically breaking slider in the 82-84 mph range. Its depth and bite varies and it’s really only an average pitch right now, capable of missing bats when it’s located off the plate but not consistently within or beneath the zone. A tremendous amount of Quantrill’s projection relies upon the future of his breaking ball. If it can become a third above-average to plus pitch, then we’re talking about a top-of-the-rotation ceiling here. It’s rare to project liberally on breaking balls, especially from college pitchers, but I think Quantrill’s year off from injury and the fact that’s he’s been tinkering with different breaking balls for a while now allows for more than usual.

Scouts saw fringe command during pro ball but Quantrill lived mostly in and around the zone and was was just barely working back from surgery. I’m comfortable projecting above-average command. He repeats his delivery, which is efficient and well paced. His arm slot creates plane on the fastball and the arm action is actually pretty compact for someone with such long levers. The body looked a little soft during AZL but Quantrill’s frame is good. He’s already been cut open once and the slider is a work in progress so there’s some risk here, but once that slider tightens up it shouldn’t be long before Quantrill’s ready for the upper levels of the minors.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Miss St.
Age 25 Height 6’1 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 70/70 45/60 50/40 50/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .306/.336/.557 at Triple-A El Paso in 2016.

Scouting Report
I’m relatively skeptical about Renfroe’s ability to hit. He has a deep load, late trigger and an undeniable, general stiffness and effort about his swing that looks like it’s going to lead to a good bit of swing and miss. Despite that, he’s shown an ability to move the bat around the zone and is especially adept at punishing balls down and in. On paper, he’s cut his strikeout rate throughout the course of his minor-league career, though his walk rate has also seen a precipitous decline since his first full season. This might be a player who succeeds with the bat while bucking some traditional scouting tropes (at least the one I peddle). If that’s the case,then Renfroe is a potential middle-of-the-order bat, because we’re talking about plus-plus raw power here. Renfroe’s batting-practice displays are impressive. During Futures Game BP, he parked a few balls at the foot of the scoreboard that graces PETCO Park’s upper deck in left field. He hits emphatic home runs and does so often, eclipsing the 20-homer mark in each full pro season in which he’s participated.

Even if Renfroe ends up striking out 20-25% of the time, the quality of the contact he does make is likely to be hard, which — along with his average speed — could make for a robust career BABIP. With the strikeouts and lack of walks, there’s a chance Renfroe only reaches base at a .315-.330 clip but there should be enough power to profile despite that. He has a plus arm and should be an average defender in right field at maturity. This is a traditional power-hitting, right-field profile and one that feels relatively safe given the career-long success Renfroe has had, including the unsustainable but impressive deluge of power he showed in his short big-league stint in 2016.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 2.4 WAR

hunter-renfroe-likelihood-of-outcomes

5. Adrian Morejon, LHP
Video
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba
Age 18 Height 5’11 Weight 165 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command
60/60 50/55 50/60 40/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Didn’t play in any recorded games.

Scouting Report
The best pitcher in the 2016 July 2 crop, Morejon signed for $11 million, essentially costing the Padres $22 million when you factor in the tax they paid on their bonus-pool overage. He made one short start during instructs, sitting 93-96 while flashing a plus change in the low 80s and pitching with an average slider mostly at 77-80 mph. He was shut down due to arm soreness for the rest of instructs but has begun throwing again.

Like Espinoza, Morejon doesn’t have prototypical height but possesses a sturdy, mature frame and a smooth, repeatable delivery (though Morejon’s is less electric). Reports on Morejon as an amateur almost always began with scouts glowing about how advanced he was, both in depth of repertoire and in command of it. We got to see a little of that during his instructional-league appearance, where all three of Morejon’s pitches were as advertised. Without seeing him navigate a lineup several times, though, it’s hard to have an idea where he might start next year and how fast he might move. I think there’s a chance for three above-average pitches and plus command which I think is a No. 2 or 3 type of arm. Risk is inherent in age and occupation.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic
Age 18 Height 6’3 Weight 185 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/60 30/50 45/40 45/60 60/70

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Had .182 ISO and 26.5% strikeout in 50-PA taste of Northwest League at age 17.

Scouting Report
The primary return from Chicago in exchange for James Shields early this season, Tatis was already an intriguing prospect late in the spring but continued to improve as the summer went on and now looks like a potential star. He has shortstop actions and a future 70 arm, but he’ll almost certainly need to move to third base eventually as his large frame fills in and he slows down. The combination of the arm, athleticism, hands and actions could lead to plus-plus defense at third base, though, and with more mass will come more power. Tatis has good bat speed and some natural leverage in his swing and could have plus raw power at maturity. He may never tap into it, though. The swing is noisy, with lots of independently moving parts and Tatis’ contact issues are exacerbated by the length of his limbs and his propensity to be way out in front of offspeed stuff. I have a future 50 on the bat, which is pretty aggressive considering where Tatis is at right now, but he’s still just 17 and has done nothing but exceed the expectations placed upon him as an amateur since arriving. If all the tools actualize, he’s a star. Of course, at just 17 and with hefty swing-and-miss issues, he’s also quite a risk.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.9 WAR

fernando-tatis

7. Jacob Nix, RHP
Video
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from IMG
Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 220 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/60 50/60 45/50 45/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Cut walk rate from 7.7% in 2015 to 4.5% in 2016.

Scouting Report
Nix looks like he might end up having the best career of the three pitchers whom Houston selected but then failed to sign back in 2014. To review: top overall pick Brady Aiken failed his physical, negotiations with the team became strained and he didn’t sign, resulting in the loss not only of Aiken but also the bonus-pool allotment associated with Aiken’s pick, which Houston needed to sign Nix and current San Francisco pitching prospect Mac Marshall to the overslot bonus amounts to which they’d agreed. (Aiken agreed to underslot money before his physical.) Doesn’t baseball’s draft sound fun? Nix, who was committed to UCLA, was locked out of his scholarship there after he filed a grievance with the backing of the player’s union, so he diverted his career to IMG Academy in Florida. He was drafted in the third round by San Diego in 2015.

Nix had a tremendous 2016 both on paper and between the chalk lines, where he improved his repertoire top to bottom. Nix’s fastball sits 92-94 and will touch 96 with average movement and plane. His fastball command took a step forward this year and, while not yet surgical, he can at least dictate east and west right now and throw a high percentage of strikes. He also has mature command of his upper-70s curveball, a consistently average offering that flashes plus. It’s often a true 12-6 curveball, though Nix will also tilt it away from righties. He can throw it for strikes early in counts and bury it beneath the zone when he’s ahead. It could be a plus pitch at maturity. His changeup, which leans more heavily on good arm speed and velocity separation than it does movement, will flash above average. Some scouts prefer the changeup’s projection to the curveball’s.

He’s just 20 but Nix has already grown into his body quite considerably and comps physically to Jon Lieber. He repeats a very simple, direct delivery and has a good arm action. He looks like an inning-eating, mid-rotation horse who has a chance to be a true No. 3 starter if both secondaries reach their potential peaks. Of note: Nix was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis when he was 11 and spent a few years away from baseball as an adolescent. It was corrected with surgery.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 0.8 WAR

jacob-nix-likelihood-of-outcomes

45 FV Prospects

8. Chris Paddack, RHP
Drafted: 8th Round, 2015 from Cedar Park HS (TX)
Age 21 Height 6’4 Weight 195 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/60 45/50 60/70 50/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 42.1 innings, 5 walks, 71 strikeouts, and 1 Tommy John procedure.

Scouting Report
Paddack went straight from Marlins extended spring training all the way to Low-A in May and was untouchable as soon as he set foot in Greensboro. He strung 15 hitless innings together in late June before he was traded to San Diego for Fernando Rodney. He promptly broke and had Tommy John in August. Pre-injury Paddack feasted on Low-A hitters with a Bugs Bunny changeup, polished command and a low-90s fastball that played up due to plane and extension. Paddack was old for his draft class (he was 19 and a half at the time of the draft) which was probably part of why he fell so far, but he remains physically projectable at a broad shouldered 6-foot-4. There’s a chance he adds to his 90-94 mph fastball as he ages. Paddack’s projection is limited by a lack of a truly dominant breaking ball. Though Paddack has improved the depth of his breaking ball, it lacks consistent bite and shape and really only projects to average. He has the same mid-rotation projection he did mid-year, but is one surgery riskier than he was at that time.

9. Jeisson Rosario, OF
Video
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic
Age 17 Height 5’11 Weight 170 Bat/Throw L/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/60 40/50 30/50 55/55 40/50 55/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None. Only saw stateside game time during instructional league.

Scouting Report
While some of the other hitters whom San Diego signed on July 2 arguably have more upside, Rosario’s performance on the back fields this Fall was the most impressive and I think he has a chance for five average-or-better tools. Rosario got $1.85 million in July and was viewed as a bat-first corner outfielder who’d probably hit enough to make up for a lack of physical/power projection. Here in Arizona he not only looked likely to remain in center field but he could also be an excellent defender there, with the requisite range and feel for the position complemented by a 6 arm.

At the plate, Rosario’s approach was frustratingly patient for those of us trying to get as much video as possible of his swing, but his selectivity was impressive. Despite some issues with timing, Rosario’s bat speed, feel for the barrel, wrist strength and hand-eye were all as advertised, and I do think he’ll be a plus hitter one day. The frame has more projection than I anticipated and I think he’s going to hit for average game power at maturity, cranking out 18-22 home runs annually. That kind of power output from a player who also makes lots of contact and plays center field creates the makings of a potential star. If Rosario fills out, slows down more than I anticipate, and has to move to a corner, his bat will still profile there and that would probably mean he’s grown into more power than I’m currently projecting. He’s at least an average everyday player and potentially much more. Rosario just turned 17 in October and is obviously a risky commodity because of his age and lack of proximity to the majors. I have him ahead of Luis Almanzar, Gabby Arias and other J2 kids because of my confidence in Rosario’s bat, a much bigger question mark for the other teenagers in the org.

10. Logan Allen, LHP
Video
Drafted: 8th Round, 2015 from IMG
Age 20 Height 6’3 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
55/60 45/55 45/55 40/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Has allowed just two home runs in 86.2 pro innings.

Scouting Report
Allen missed time in 2016 with elbow soreness but was good when he threw, sitting 91-93 with plane and movement that plays in the zone and touching the mid-90s on occasion. He has a thick, sturdy frame that has matured rather quickly since he was drafted, and Allen is likely carrying more than his listed weight. He has maintained his relatively simple and direct delivery as he’s added the weight, and while his arm action can get a little long and heavy, his command projects to average. Other than his elbow injury this year, all signs point toward an inning-eating, mid-rotation starter here. The body and delivery both look pretty good, the fastball’s effectiveness will outplay its raw velocity because of its movement, and Allen’s curveball and changeup both project as above-average pitches. His mid-70s curveball has solid-average depth and bite and Allen’s ability to both throw it for strikes and bury it underneath bats has progressed. The low-80s changeup’s effectiveness is predicated on movement more than deceptive arm speed, but he’s made significant strides with the pitch since signing. It’s a solid all-around package, with a future plus fastball (that might actually play better than that because of the movement) potential plus curveball, above-average changeup and plenty of strikes. I don’t anticipate Allen will develop surgical command.

Allen was an eighth-rounder in 2015, falling that far due to signability concerns. The Red Sox bought him away from South Carolina for $725,000 and traded him to San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel deal.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.1 WAR

logan-allen-likelihood-of-outcomes

11. Carlos Asuaje, 2B
Drafted: 11th Round, 2013 from Nova Southeastern
Age 25 Height 5’9 Weight 160 Bat/Throw L/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 30/30 40/30 50/50 45/50 40/40

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .321/.378.473 at Triple-A in 2016.

Scouting Report
Another part of San Diego’s return from Boston for Craig Kimbrel, Asuaje was in the middle of Fall League play in 2015 when he was traded to the Padres and ended up playing against his new Padre teammates at times because it was too late in the season for him to change AFL teams. He raked all Fall and continued to do so in 2016, as well, when he earned a late-year callup.

Asuaje has great bat-to-ball skills thanks to great hand-eye coordination, a compact stroke with good bat control and the ability to hit the ball to all fields. He’s at least a future plus hitter. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot here about which scouts are excited. Asuaje is an average runner and an unspectacular defender at second base, only projecting to average there, as well. He lacks game power and should hit a half-dozen home runs or so at peak, which is well-below the standard at second right now, especially if this year’s power spike at the position is for real. I’m willing to bet heavily on the bat and project Asuaje as a low-end regular but he has very little margin for error.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.9 WAR

carlos-asuaje-likelihood-of-outcomes

12. Luis Urias, 2B
Video
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Mexico
Age 20 Height 5’9 Weight 160 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/70 30/40 20/30 50/40 40/50 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Produced .330/.397/.440 slash line and just 6.8% strikeout rate in Cal League at age 19. Was 3.4 years younger than the mean player in that league.

Scouting Report
Essentially a tools clone of Asuaje, at least offensively, Urias has a precocious feel to hit that leads to authoritative and picturesque all-fields contact. He has a slow, well-balanced leg kick that aids in timing as well as weight transfer. The bat is quick and direct to the baseball with a plane geared for line drives and ground balls much more than it is for airborne contact, and it’s hard to project more than 30 game power despite such terrific contact skills. The body lacks projection, so there isn’t much power coming from physical development, either. The rest of the package projects to around average. Urias isn’t a burner and will probably slow down a bit as his squat frame fills out. He’s limited to either second or third base defensively and probably just the former because he lacks big arm strength. He should be average at second, though some scouts think enough of his athleticism and body control to project on the glove a little more aggressively than that.

There’s very little margin for error here because Urias has very little power and projects to play a defensive position that, increasingly, requires it. But his bat-to-ball skills are superlative and teams find ways for guys like this to get at-bats at the big-league level. He projects as a fringe-average regular for me and a low-risk one at that because his track record of hitting is so freakishly impressive.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 5.4 WAR

luis-urias-likelihood-of-outcomes

13. Gabriel Arias, SS
Video
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela
Age 16 Height 6’1 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/55 30/40 20/40 50/55 45/55 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Nope, he’s 16.

Scouting Report
Arias looks like a lock for shortstop and has a chance to become plus there at maturity if everything comes together. His arm is plus and the body has more projection than I anticipated based on what I heard from international scouts before he signed. He swung the bat well during instructional league, showing average bat speed that I think will tick up as he gets stronger. He was able to make strong contact while keeping his body and swing under control while other prospects his age tend to overswing. I like his chances to hit and potentially rope out 8-12 homers a year while also making plenty of contact and playing a fine shortstop. That’s an above-average everyday player at the very least.

14. Jorge Ona, OF
Video
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba
Age 19 Height 6’1 Weight 200 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 55/60 40/55 45/40 45/50 50/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None.

Scouting Report
Ona looked a little bigger and stiffer than was expected when he came to the U.S. but still showed solid power and feel for contact during instructional league. Barring a complete physical transformation (which I suppose isn’t impossible considering how volatile Cuban bodies have been in recent years), he’s destined for left field, which means he’s going to have to hit and hit for some power. He’s short to the ball, his wrists are pretty strong through contact and I think we’ll see plus raw power at maturity. The primary thing for which I’ll be looking from Ona next spring is more flexibility in his lower half, which I think will allow him to make better contact in general but especially on balls down in the zone. If that happens (or he makes some other adjustment that allows for better contact), then I think Ona will be an average everyday player with a chance to be a tick better if the power really plays in games. He’s a rather volatile prospect, especially for a 20-year-old, but the physical tools for success are already here; it’s just a matter of showing them consistently, which Ona hasn’t been able to do, as he’s had very little game action even dating back to his days in Cuba. The Padres gave him a $7 million bonus in July.

15. Mason Thompson, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Round Rock HS (TX)
Age 19 Height 6’6 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/60 40/55 50/60 40/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Recorded 12 strikeouts in 12 Arizona League innings.

Scouting Report
Thompson’s selection in the 2016 draft’s third round completed an odd trinity for San Diego, who used three of their top five picks on injured, high-upside pitchers. Thompson would have almost certainly been a first-round pick had he not missed his senior year (except for a short appearance in a playoff game) recovering from Tommy John surgery. Thompson was up to 94 before his injury, with a projectable body and feel for both a breaking ball and changeup. The Padres gave him $1.7 million to sign, about $1 million above slot. Based on how he looked in the AZL and during instructional league, they may have found themselves a gem. He was 88-91 in his first pro appearance but he’s added velo over the last few weeks and was up to 94 with movement toward the end of instructional league. His changeup will flash plus. Thompson mimics his fastball’s arm speed when he throws it and can generate spectacular movement as well. He’s already throwing to both left- and right-handed hitters. The breaking ball has depth but its bite is inconsistent and it might only be average at maturity.

At times, Thompson struggles to stay on top of the baseball, which eats away at the plane on his fastball and changeup and generally results in errant pitch location. He has below-average command right now, but the looks pro scouts had were all at a pitcher fresh off a surgery, and I think it’s unfair to have expected much more than that. This is a quintessential prep pitching body and delivery. Thompson has a good arm action, extending and generally repeating his delivery. I think he’ll have starter-worthy command at maturity. It’s important to consider the context in which Thompson was seen late this summer and fall before drawing any conclusion. I think it’s prudent to be skeptical about Thompson’s 92-94 mph velocity holding deep into games and deep into a season, neither of which has been asked of him yet. His position on this list could change dramatically next summer but early indicators are excellent.

16. Reggie Lawson, RHP
Video
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Victor Valley HS (CA)
Age 19 Height 6’4 Weight 205 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command
50/55 45/60 40/50 35/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
A .387 BABIP inflated his Arizona League ERA.

Scouting Report
As a rising senior on the summer showcase circuit, Lawson looked like a potential top-15 pick in the next year’s draft. He was loose, athletic, projectable, had a low-90s fastball that was ticking up as the summer went along and had great feel for a big, deep curveball in the 69-72 mph range that was likely to get harder and retain its shape as Lawson matured. He also showed some feel for a slider and changeup. The next spring, Lawson’s delivery went backwards, his stuff ticked down and then he stopped throwing due to an injury. His high-school coach wouldn’t elaborate as to the type of injury, leading to speculation about both (a) the existence of a severe injury or (b) the total absence of an injury at all. This ambiguity did more to hurt Lawson than help. There was talk of an oblique injury as well as a lat injury, and it looked like Lawson might end up at Arizona State if teams were too scared to pay him. The robust nature of San Diego’s draft bonus pool, combined with their underslot agreement with Hudson Potts, allowed for an overslot deal with Lawson, who ended up getting $1.9 million, a full million above slot.

In pro ball, Lawson’s velocity was mostly 92-94 and dropping down into the 88-90 range deeper in starts, his delivery was still less direct to the plate than it was during his showcase summer, and he had some issues repeating it and throwing strikes. His breaking ball is now up in the 74-77 mph range and has more two-plane tilt to it than it did before, although its depth is less consistent. Lawson’s feel for locating it is raw and his arm action can get a little long when he throws it.

Things have certainly gone backwards for Lawson overall in the last year or so, but if you care do dream as I do, he still has a chance to be a No. 3 starter. You just have to squint a little harder to see it, and the health issues from the spring make him especially risky.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic
Age 17 Height 6’0 Weight 175 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 45/60 20/50 50/40 40/50 60/60

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
None.

Scouting Report
Everything that made Almanzar the No. 4 prospect on my J2 board from the summer is still present. The bat speed, bat path, weight transfer and high finish that afforded Almanzar perhaps the most enticing power projection in this year’s J2 crop is all still there, wrapped in a physical package that looks like it’s built to play baseball. Almanzar is likely to move off of shortstop and over to third base, where his actions and arm strength will be assets. He could be plus there at maturity. Almanzar has the physical tools to hit and hit for enough power to profile at third base (and just about anywhere else, for that matter), but without a truly premium defensive home on which to fall back if he comes up short on performance, Almanzar becomes riskier than Arias and thus is ranked beneath him.

18. Eric Lauer, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Kent State
Age 22 Height 6’3 Weight 210 Bat/Throw R/L
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command
50/55 55/55 40/45 45/50 45/50

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Led Cape Cod League in strikeouts (50 in 39.2 IP) in 2015. Recorded 125 strikeouts in 103 innings this past year as junior at Kent State. Added 37 more in 31 pro innings across three levels.

Scouting Report
If certainty and stability appeal to you as an evaluator, then Lauer would be much higher on your list, as he’s been as reliable as German automobile since his sophomore year at Kent State. He has an effortless delivery that produces a low-90s fastball. It lacks movement but Lauer still has some room for mass on his frame and might add a bit more velocity into his mid-20s. While it lacks life, Lauer works the bottom of the strike zone with his fastball consistently and garners plenty of ground balls when he’s not carving hitters up with a robust array of secondary pitches. Included in the Eric Lauer Variety Pack is an average mid-70s curveball with slurvy two-plane movement, a sharper, horizontal slider in the mid-80s and mid-80s changeup. The slider is the best of those and the only one that projects as an above-average offering at peak, while the changeup is fringe-average but is usually kept down in the zone and is difficult to punish despite its mediocrity. Lauer’s low walk rates are a bit misleading as, while he has above-average control, his command is a bit behind that. When he misses it’s usually down beneath where he can get hurt, but he doesn’t yet have dictatorial control over his repertoire. Without a great changeup or great command it’s hard to see a clear path for success against right-handed hitters, but I think Lauer really only needs one of those two traits to progress to be a complete pitcher. He projects as a No. 4 or 5 starter for me.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Southlake Carroll (TX)
Age 18 Height 6’2 Weight 180 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 40/50 30/50 50/45 40/50 50/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Slashed .295/.333/.399 in AZL.

Scouting Report
I became enamored of Potts (then called Hudson Sanchez) at the 2015 Area Code Games, where he looked good defensively at third and short (though the body obviously projected to the former) and hit a 420-foot homer later in the week. Even I didn’t expect him to go in the first round of June’s draft, however, but certain high-profile dominoes fell (or didn’t fall) in such a way that San Diego opted to pop him in the first round and sign him to an underslot deal to facilitate deals with Lawson and Thompson later in the draft.

Potts looked solid during AZL and instructional-league play. He began showing some opposite-field power during intructs, though it was more of the doubles variety than over-the-fence raw. I still think he has a chance to be an impact defender at third base, though he was unspectacular there in pro ball and some scouts think he may move to an outfield corner at some point. Regardless of his future defensive home, Potts will need to hit, and I anticipate future average hit and game power tools.

KATOH+ Projection for first six years: 1.5 WAR

hudson-potts-likelihood-of-outcomes

20. Jose Rondon, SS
Video
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2010 from Venezuela
Age 23 Height 6’1 Weight 160 Bat/Throw R/R
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 40/40 30/30 55/55 50/55 55/55

Relevant/Interesting Metrics
Produced average exit velocity of just 83.6 mph in small major-league sample. League average was 89.

Scouting Report
Rondon plays a dynamite shortstop with above-average ra