Welcome back to this annual series that first began in 2008. While taking a look back at the 2019 minor league season, it will also help you prepare for the 2020 fantasy season and beyond. We began the series recently with the Arizona Diamondbacks, followed by the Colorado Rockies. Today, we continue on with the San Diego Padres, an organization brimming with good, young talent.
Best Move of the Season:
It wasn’t anywhere near the steal of Fernando Tatis Jr. from the White Sox but the addition of center-fielder Taylor Trammell in a three-way trade with Cleveland and Cincinnati was a very underrated move. Yes, the Padres gave up three players but southpaw Logan Allen is overrated, outfielder Franmil Reyes is a very one-dimensional player, and the third player, Victor Nova, is a raw lottery ticket. Trammell, meanwhile, was already considered a Top 100 prospect despite his struggles with the bat in 2019. He’s ultra-athletic with plus speed and the raw power to hit 20 or more home runs. Despite his struggles in 2019 and issues making consistent contact, Trammell walked 65 times in 123 games (13% walk rate). Acquiring him was a worthwhile gamble considering what was given up in exchange.
The Org Depth:
The Padres graduated Luis Urias in 2019 but there is still an incredible amount of middle-infield depth on the way.
C.J. Abrams: Abrams was one of the most talented and most athletic players in the 2019 draft but no one expected his bat to be quite as advanced as it was. He laid waste to the Arizona rookie league with a 1.104 OPS and .401 batting average in 32 games. Abrams also showed more pop in the bat with 23 of his 57 hits in Rookie ball going for extra bases. The speedy infielder also added 14 steals on his way to an early August promotion to Low-A ball — a nearly unprecedented move for an 18-year-old.
Xavier Edwards: The Padres’ second pick in the 2018 draft at 38th overall, Edwards is another player who has done nothing but hit since reaching pro ball. The fleet-of-foot infielder hit .336 with 20 steals and a BB-K of 30-35 in Low-A ball before being pushed up to High-A ball where he hit .298 with another 14 steals in 45 games. Edwards is a spray-hitter who doesn’t possess much power but he can really hit, understands his game, and can wreak havoc on the base paths.
Owen Miller: Miller was taken 46 picks after Edwards in the 2018 draft and has also been more effective as a pro than expected. The college product skipped High-A ball entirely and spent the 2019 season in Double-A where he held his own with a .780 OPS. He gets on base at a good clip and has some pop as witnessed by his 28 doubles and 12 home runs.
Tucupita Marcano: Marcano is raw but shows advanced contact abilities with the bat. He also has an all-fields approach that will serve him well if he fails to add the necessary muscle/weight to his slender frame. Just 19, he hit .270 in full-season ball with a BB-K of 35-45. He has good speed but is still learning to nuances of base running.
The 2019 Breakout:
Luis Patino, RHP: This young hurler started to show his massive potential in 2018 but really broke out this past season and landed on most publications’ Top 100 prospects lists. Just 19, Patino spent the majority of the year in High-A ball before earning a two-start look in Double-A at the end of the season. Overall, he struck out 123 batters in 94.2 innings. The biggest knock on the athletic hurler is his lack of size at just six feet. His control can be inconsistent, as well, but when all is said and done, he has a chance to have three above-average offerings and a fastball that can touch the upper 90s.
Be Skeptical Of:
Adrian Morejon, LHP: I’m not sure the Padres know exactly what they have with Morejon yet, even though the 20-year-old was pushed up to the Majors in 2019 — likely to showcase him for a potential trade deadline deal that never came. He has the potential for three above-average offerings but he’s struggled with his command and gives up more hits than he should. With that said, he has also shown the ability to rack up the strikeouts at times. Injuries have kept Morejon from really letting looses and his career high in innings is just 65.1 despite being a starter until he reached the Majors.
2020 Impact Arrivals:
Mackenzie Gore, LHP: Gore is one of the Top 3 pitching prospects in all of baseball, if not No. 1. Just 20, the southpaw overpowered High-A ball hitters to the tune of 110 strikeouts in 79.1 innings. He posted a 1.02 ERA in 15 starts before earning a promotion to Double-A, which presented more of a challenge. In five starts, Gore posted a 4.15 ERA with a K-BB of 25-8 in 21.2 innings. He increased his innings total year-over-year from 60.2 to 101, which should put him in line for about 140 in 2020. If all goes well, he should spend a month or two in Double-A before moving up to Triple-A and then, perhaps, the Majors.
Edward Olivares, OF: Acquired from Toronto in an under-the-radar deal back in the winter of 2017, Olivarez has had two productive seasons in the Padres system and was added onto the 40-man roster last fall. He posted an .806 OPS in Double-A in 2019 while also showcasing his above-average speed with 35 steals. Oliveras is still growing into his lanky frame but slugged 18 home runs. The Padres club has cycled through a lot of outfielders in recent years but this young hitter could be a key long-term contributor.
Long Term Projects:
Ryan Weathers, LHP: This young southpaw was the first pick the Padres made in what is already shaping up to be a very product draft. Selected seventh overall, Weathers hasn’t been quite as dominant as the Padres would probably like but he held his own in full-season ball in 2019. Just 19, he showed his excellent control with just 18 walks in 96 innings. Unfortunately, his command still needs work and he threw too many good strikes and allowed 101 hits. Weathers has a chance to reach the Majors with three above-average pitches, including a low-90s fastball, but will need to watch his conditioning.
Keep an Eye On:
Ronald Bolanos, RHP: A big, strong pitcher out of Cuba, Bolanos split the 2019 season between High-A and Double-A while collecting a K-BB of 142-53 in 130 innings. If he stays in the starting rotation, he has the makings of an innings-eating No. 4 starter but he might be better suited to relief where his stuff could play up even more in shorter stints and he can focus on just two offerings. His fastball can touch 95-96 mph as a starter but his breaking ball is just average. He received a surprise late-season promotion to the Majors.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.