San Diego Padres: Grading the development of the top five prospects

MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 13: A San Diego Padres hat sits in the dugout during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on May 13, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - MAY 13: A San Diego Padres hat sits in the dugout during the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on May 13, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Tracking the development of the top five prospects in the San Diego Padres organization by grading each player’s development in the minors this season.

It has been quite the season for the developing Padres. There are two stages, so to the rebuilding process. The team is experiencing the first wave of young talent entering the majors in the form of Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Austin Hedges, Dinelson Lamet, and we could go on.

But there’s another wave of talent still to come, and it will feature players who are currently defined as “prospects”. This, of course, is because they are still in the minor leagues, and are a couple years of development away from setting foot on the field at Petco Park.

A lot can happen between now and when the organization’s top prospects debut in the majors. If the Padres are truly going to turn their fortunes around, they will need their prospects to develop.

It can be difficult for the average fan to track the development of the organization’s top prospects, as the media focuses the vast majority of their coverage on the major leagues, and understandably so. Thankfully, we at Friars don’t ignore the minors, since they provide the hope for our beloved Padres future.

So, here are our grades for the top five prospects according to as we track their development this season in the minors.

Anderson Espinoza: D

It’s not exactly fair to fail Anderson Espinoza for this season, since he has been sidelined for the majority of it. Still, his injuries sure don’t help his development, and the 19-year-old must get healthy if he wants to progress at a sufficient rate to have a prosperous major league career. On a positive note, it is quite impressive that the right-hander remains the organization’s top prospect.

Cal Quantrill: A

It has been another extremely productive season in the minors for right-hander Cal Quantrill. Quantrill, at 22 years of age, has a 3.75 ERA in two starts at double-A San Antonio. Previously, he started 14 games at High-A Lake Elsinore, and performed well enough to earn his promotion. Last season, the Canadian elevated from rookie ball to high-A. This season, he has continued his ascension, and has done so productively and efficiently. At this rate, Quantrill could be in the majors sooner than expected.

Adrian Morejon: C

Adrian Morejon is the organization’s third ranked prospect, but he’s easily multiple seasons away from the majors. This season, the southpaw has started six games at Tri-City, and hasn’t been all that impressive with a 4.30 ERA in 29 and 1/3 innings. Morejon is critical to the Padres, as he is one of the few talented left-handed pitchers in the system. But San Diego shouldn’t rush his development in any way, and must remain patient to get the most out of him as possible.

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Luis Urias: B

As important as pitching is to organizational depth, it is refreshing to have a shortstop prospect like Luis Urias. Urias has excelled in double-A San Antonio this season, hitting .318. Last season, he ranged from high-A to triple-A, and this season he has remained in San Antonio. While a promotion would be nice to see, the Padres can’t rush their versatile infield prospect which Erick Aybar currently playing short in the majors. They have time, and options, and should wait to see how the exciting 20-year-old pans out.

Next: Prospects provide glimmer of hope for Padres

Fernando Tatis Jr.: B

Like Urias, Fernando Tatis is a versatile infield prospect who can play second, third, or short. Tatis, however, is behind Urias in his development. This season, he is playing at single-A Fort Wayne. Last season, he ascended from rookie league to Tri-City. Overall, Tatis is moving through the system at an adequate rate. The 18-year-old is 3-5 years away, but if he fully develops it will be worth the wait.