The Padres hosted a free game for fans on Friday night as part of the Arizona Instructional League featuring some of San Diego’s top prospects.
Top prospects from both the San Diego Padres and Texas Rangers organizations met on Friday night at Petco Park for an Arizona Instructional League matchup. Titled the Padres Futures Game, San Diego prospects defeated some of the Rangers’ top future players by a final of 5-1.
Highlighting the exhibition was baseball’s 88th ranked prospect Josh Naylor, who homered and doubled. Also making an appearance was each of the Padres’ top three pitching prospects, Anderson Espinoza, Cal Quantrill, and Adrian Morejon. Espinoza especially opened eyes, introducing himself to Padre fans who may not have been aware of the top overall proespect. The 18-year-old was acquired via a deadline deal with the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Drew Pomeranz.
In total, nineteen of San Diego’s top thirty prospects were on display at the event. This included three young, exciting shortstops, Javier Guerra, Gabriel Arias, and Ruddy Giron. San Diego fans who may not have been aware of the wealth of talent at the position were pleasantly surprised at the infield play in general, as the minor league system has encouraged the team about the future of this group.
For a major league team who struggles most in the pitching department, having a minor league system who can hold the exciting Rangers’ prospects to one run in a game is encouraging. It is a small sample size of course, but the performances and depth of each of their top pitchers made this game a more credible sample.
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Other than Espinoza, Morejon, the sixth ranked prospect in the system, showed incredible poise and balance for a player of his age. To compete effectively against fellow top prospects makes Morejon, at just seventeen years old, a very compelling player to follow. It is also beneficial that this top prospect internationally is left-handed, an area in which the Padres could use assistance as soon as possible at the major league level.
In the end, it was most exciting to have baseball again at Petco Park. It has been a long, grueling, and disappointing season for fans. To get a glimpse of the future was a breath of fresh air for fans, and was fun for players as well.
The benefits of this opportunity were wide ranging. Of course, when prospects compete against each other in a true game-like setting, experience is gained, proving to be valuable in the future. But possibly even more importantly, the experience of playing in a major league stadium is an unforgettable moment of these players’ young careers. Finally, for the fans, hosting a game like this and making the admission free is great for an organization relying on future prospects to turn their fortunes around. For fans to be able to catch a glimpse of what they could be seeing in the future is reassuring and exciting for them.