An Updated Look at the San Diego Padres Farm System Rankings
Earlier today, MLB pipeline updated their top 30 prospect lists for each organization, adding draft picks and all recent international signees.
After trading an abundance of young talent at the trade deadline for Josh Hader, Juan Soto, Josh Bell and Brandon Drury, the Padres’ once-vaunted prospect pool is depleted. The brothers’ farm system ranks near the bottom of the league, which is obviously what you’d expect given the sheer number of players they’ve dropped.
Before we dive deeper, it’s important to note that leads are just that – leads. Farm system rankings aren’t the end of the world when your big league team is competing for a championship. Despite being young and controllable, prospects are completely insecure and tapping into this pool for proven, quality talent is something all competitive teams do.
Additionally, to find the full list of top 30 provided by MLB Pipeline, click HERE.
That being said, the Padres have only two prospects in the top 100. Jackson Merrill, who was their first-round pick in last year’s draft, stands out as this organization’s new top prospect, while Luis Campusano, 23, climbs a few places to finish second.
Merrill signed for an underslot last year, appearing late in the draft cycle and allowing the Padres to sign James Wood, who was a key part of the Juan Soto trade deal. Merrill has had plenty of success at the lower levels so far, slashing .352/.401/.503 with 14 extra hits on 145 at-bats this year. A left-handed infielder who stands at a highly throwable 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Merrill has plenty of room for extra strength to go along with an advanced striking tool. He has a chance to be a top 50 prospect down the road, certainly playing his way into that conversation in the next update.
— Lake Elsinore Storm Baseball (@Storm_Baseball) August 10, 2022
Campusano has been a known prospect in this farming system for quite some time, as most thought he would now be contributing as a daily support to Petco Park. He’s had his ups and downs throughout his professional career, especially behind home plate, but he’s still extremely young and continues to show flashes of impact-type production at home plate. Over the past two seasons, and 587 at-bats, at the Triple-A level, Campusano has reduced .300/.367/.513 with 27 homers and 36 doubles.
Don’t hook a breakable ball on Luis Campusano.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 18, 2022
Outside of those two, the Padres added four players in the recent MLB draft who are personally in their own top 10, all of whom are pitchers. Their first-round selection was Georgia prep Dylan Lesko, who some have touted as one of the best high school pitching prospects in recent memory. Lesko underwent Tommy John surgery this spring, which dropped him straight into the lap of the No. 15 Padres and signed for just under $3.9 million.
Regardless of the injury, Lesko’s talent is undeniable and it shouldn’t take long for him to rise to the top of this list once he’s fully healthy. He features a low-to-mid-90s fastball that has already hit the upper 90s, pumping it around the area with room to maintain speed as a 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame fills out . Lesko’s bread-and-butter pitch is a true swing and miss change, with a quick drop into the low 80s that projects as a plus, if not a double plus, on the road. He also improved the ability to spin his breaking ball, producing high raw spin and occasional raw spin at speeds over 70. Once all is said and done, the Padres may have finally gotten the one of the best values of the entire draft with Lesko.
The @Padres the fam system looks VERY different after the trade deadline
Discover the updated ranking
(which include 15th draft pick Dylan Lesko) pic.twitter.com/SstYZum5kP
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) August 15, 2022
Their second pick in the July draft sits under Lesko at fourth-round left-handed pitcher Robby Snelling. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound southpaw was a dual-sport star at the high school level and his commitment to NCAA powerhouse LSU drove up his asking price, forcing Preller and company to pay a $3 million bonus. dollars for inking.
Snelling’s advantage on the mound is undeniable, especially since he has never focused solely on any sport with soccer in the mix. He’s already driven his fastball in the upper 90s and he’s also spinning an upper 70s breaking ball that plans to miss bats at a high rate in the future. Control and feel on its own on the mound is a work in progress, but southpaws with that kind of arm talent who can also spin at a high level don’t push trees.
Snelling hits from 10 to 4.0, using his FB/SL mix sitting at 90-92 mph with a sweep slider he controls in the area exiting an aircraft similar to his FB #Being seen@NathanRode | @PBR_DraftHQ pic.twitter.com/Eq4CP1lmMc
— Brett Harrison (@B_HarrisonPBR) April 12, 2022
Adam Mazur (7th) and Henry Williams (9th) had first-round buzz ahead of this draft round last year, falling in the draft for different reasons and ending up in the Padres’ organization. Mazur is definitely a more polished type of arm, with a mid-to-high 90s fastball with a firm slider and an 80s pair change. He’s had trouble walking in the past, but lowered his BB / 9 to 2.9 last season, showing improvements in this regard. If he continues to make progress from a strike throwing perspective, Mazur is going to be a steal and exceed his second round value.
Iowa RHP Adam Mazur has been a revelation this season. Was 91-95 on the Cape. He’s been 93-96 this year, touching 97. Slider is in the mid-80s with a sharp sweep and more command. Flashes a big CB + a CH. Running a 42% puff right now on 69.2% strikes.
13.2 IP, 18K, 2BB, 4H, 1ER.
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) February 28, 2022
As for Williams, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound right-hander made six starts for Duke in 2021, hitting 45 batters in 37 innings for a 3.65 ERA. He had Tommy John surgery in December, and the Padres signed him for $800,000 in the third round. A hitting pitcher, Williams’ fastball previously played in the ’90s, colliding on occasion in the mid-’90s. His secondaries, a slider and a switch, have blistering potential, but they develop pitches that need more consistency to be effective against professional pitchers. The Padres’ player development will play a big part in what Williams becomes once he returns from injury, but there’s certainly some clay to mold with the former Blue Devil.
Here are a few more leads nuggets in this system:
+ Samuel Zavala: The prized San Diego international signing in 2021 has signed a deal with the Brotherhood for $1.2 million. Currently 18, Zavala made his United States debut last season with Lake Elsinore, cutting .245/.361/.449 on five extra hits on 49 at-bats. He is a 6-foot-1, 175-pound left-handed hitter.
+ Eguy Rosario: Signed by the Dominican Republic Padres in 2015, Rosario has been playing professional baseball since 2016 and he’s just 22, having his most productive season yet at Triple-A this year. He’s batting .295/.380/.519 with 19 home runs and 72 RBIs. An average defenseman who has proven he can hit, Rosario can be a bench player that will contribute to the Padres next year.
Eguy Rosario says game!
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) August 5, 2022
+ Jay Groome: A first-round pick in 2016 and a once highly touted pitching prospect, Groome has crumbled since joining the pro ranks for both on and off the field issues. He came to the Padres in Eric Hosmer’s trade with Boston, and despite having been in the minors for five seasons now, Groome is still just 23 years old. He will likely be a deep reliever if he stays with the organization on the road.
+ Jagger Haynes: An upside-down southpaw San Diego took with its final pick of the 2020 COVID Shortcut Draft, Haynes is likely flying under the radar on prospect lists. A small-town North Carolina kid, Haynes has yet to throw a professional ball due to an injury that has kept him on the 60-day injured list since August of last year. He’s ready to pop once back on the mound, though, and may be the “prized” dormant prospect in this organization.
There’s no denying that the Padres’ agricultural system is weak right now, but luckily San Diego has the right person at the helm to rebuild it. President of Baseball Operations AJ Preller is widely regarded in the league as one of the best pure scouts in baseball and he’s built that prospect pipeline once before.
After milking the farm in his first season at the helm, Preller has developed one of the deepest farm systems of all time, allowing him to ride the wave of moves he’s made in recent years. . He’ll have the resources to do it again, through the draft and the international market, and with him running the show, San Diego’s prospect pool is likely to improve sooner rather than later.