With four shortstops in the minor leagues, the San Diego Padres are excited about the future of the position. However, who will end up being the long term solution is still unknown.
As bleak as 2017 looks, the good news for the San Diego Padres is that they have a lot of promise when it comes to many positions. The shortstop position is one which seems to be the most flexible in the future, which is encouraging given the team’s recent history of shortstop play.
But with the excitement of all of these options comes a responsibility to make the most of them. The Padres organization will be heavily scrutinized if they make a mistake in the development of their young shortstops. Projecting which is in line to become the most productive major league player is the first step.
Four minor league players have potential to be productive big league middle infielders within the next several seasons for the big league club. Carlos Asuaje, Javier Guerra, Jose Rondon, and Luis Urias fall into this category.
Asuaje seems to be the most big league ready, already playing seven games at the tail end of 2016. However, he is more of a natural second baseman, and the Padres could be looking at playing him every day there as early as 2018.
The other three all have potential at short, but their development will undoubtedly be impacted by the fact that there are three of them. Without a “franchise player” evident, the team will have to weigh their options and closely watch the continued development of their prospects.
Rondon actually played in eight games in the majors in 2016, but struggled mightily and is more than likely to be back in El Paso to begin 2017.
Which leaves Urias and Guerra, two players who could easily become elite shortstops. Urias, at just 19, was promoted to AAA at the end of 2016. This is where he should start in 2017, and his quick development will hopefully continue.
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Guerra is another exciting young shortstop with potential. Unlike Urias though, the 21-year-old’s rise through the minor league system has been anything but smooth. After struggling in 2016 at High-A Lake Elsinore, the natural shortstop may be on the team’s radar, but won’t be seeing Petco Park anytime soon.
This year, barring a late offseason addition, it appears that Luis Sardinas will have the every day shortstop without any legitimate competition in the spring. This means that 2017’s results for the big league club will not reflect the development of their young shortstops.
Still, this is something for fans to pay close attention to. It appears that Urias has the upper hand to become the shortstop of the future, but a lot still has to happen for him to be major league ready. Fortunately, the pressure is off, since the Padres have a lot of options at the position for the future.