San Diego Padres: 3B prospects
By Cheri Bell
Which third basemen in the San Diego Padres organization are poised to have a fruitful major league career? We break down the top prospects at the hot corner.
When the Padres traded Chase Headley to the Yankees for Yangervis Solarte they acknowledged that their long held goal of making Headley the face of the franchise was not working out. Since that trade 4 seasons ago, Solarte has been a breath of fresh air for the Padres. He is an outspoken spark plug in and out of the clubhouse, something that could never be said for Headley, and has outperformed the former Padre offensively as well.
This season brings a new challenge for Solarte, playing primarily second base while Ryan Schimpf and Cory Spangenberg have shared third since Spangenberg’s call up from the minors. While the major league team has all three options for third base currently, it seems that Schimpf and his poor average will not last long term on any major league roster and Spangenberg is better suited to second base than third.
If the Padres choose to extend Solarte past next season (they have an option for 2019 and 2020) they can rely on him to play a solid third or second base, whichever position is of greater need. But going forward into what is supposed to be a championship team in the future, none of these options will fill the bill.
So who is the Padres third baseman of the future?
There seems no doubt that this is a position of weakness for this organization. If you dismiss Spangenberg and Ruddy Giron from the equation, you are left with three possible prospects for the future.
Carlos Belen: Signed as an international free agent out of the DR in 2012 at the age of 16, Belen has matured slowly and is still in A ball at 21 yrs of age. Playing for Lake Elsinore as a 3B, 1B and DH, he is hitting .170 and has had to make way for hotter prospect Ty France. The scouting report on Belen is that he has plus power but only an average arm on defense and is not considered a long term solution.
Ty France: Drafted in the 34th round of the 2015 draft out of SDSU, France has played all four corners during his climb to Lake Elsinore. He is currently hitting .288 but with no HR and only 19 RBI. His claim to fame is his bat, which is considered above average for on base skills with plus power potential. His defense is considered average. If he continues to progress he could be a good bench piece as a future major leaguer.
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Hudson Potts: Drafted in the 1st round (24th overall) in 2016 as a high school player, Potts has what was considered a fairly strong commitment to Texas A&M but the Padres signed him for $1million. He made is debut last year with the Arizona rookie league and advanced to short season Tri City to finish his debut. The organization started him at Fort Wayne last month and he has been holding his own at the age of 18 while also playing a little shortstop along the way. He is considered the most well rounded of the 3B prospects with a plus defensive mix and a plus bat. Potts is ranked as the #14 prospect in the system by Baseball America and could move quickly as a young player due to his ability to outperform his age.
The Friars can only expect normal development from France and a possible utility role for his future. Potts is the best hope for a homegrown prospect and a trade for a future third baseman is always a possibility. Either way, to expect Solarte to be a cornerstone for a championship team is probably not realistic.
Next: Dinelson Lamet Earns Win in Debut
The organization needs to add more depth to the system as there remains a need for better options for the hot corner for the future.