Top Padres prospect Jackson Merrill invited to Fall Stars game

The San Diego Padres placed the success of their farm system over the next few years in the hands of elite shortstop Jackson Merrill. The unique development pipeline has been virtually eliminated thanks to AJ Preller and his exchanges.

Top youngsters like Taylor Trammell, Robert Hassell, CJ Abrams and MacKenzie Gore have been shipped off to greener pastures in deals that have brought names like Juan Soto in San Diego. According to MLB Pipeline, Merrill (No. 83 overall) and rookie right-hander Dylan Lesko (98) are the only top-100 prospects in San Diego.

Merrill, who was picked No. 27 overall in the 2021 MLB Draft, has already received plenty of praise for his sweet left-hand power shot and cannon arm at shortstop. Following in the tradition of so many who came before him in San Diego, Merrill played well in the Arizona Fall League.

Merrill was invited to AFL Fall Stars Exhibition after accumulating a solid .292 average with a dinger to its name. He’s a long way from the majors right now, but he could slip into the minor leagues without too much trouble if he keeps up that production.

The San Diego Padres have a future star in Jackson Merrill.

Merrill Blow .325 with five circuits in just under 200 at bats with the Class-A Lake Elsinore Storm. Expect him to start next season with the San Antonio Double-A missions, where he can play longer against future big leaguers after a year in the lower tiers.

Most of the best prospects San Diego has in its farm system are pitchers, so there has to be another game changer in the Soto/Josh Bell package showing up for Preller to even consider getting rid of Merrill. Once he adds more muscle to his 6-3 frame, the sky is the limit.

Even with the success of the team as it is currently built, San Diego has historically not been the best at developing elite power hitters in their minor league system. Merrill’s hype remains justified due to their success with another 6-3 shortstop hitter in Fernando Tatis Jr.

While it may be difficult for Merrill to make it to the majors as a pure shortstop or third baseman due to Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. clogging things up there, his bat is a tool so enticing that San Diego will come up with all sorts of shenanigans to get that baton in programming.

Kimberly B. Nguyen