San Diego Padres: Big Opportunity For Key Prospects In Arizona Fall League
A number of exciting San Diego Padres prospects will continue their seasons in the high-profile Arizona Fall League.
For those of you who love elite prospects who will one day litter the rosters of major league ballclubs, the Arizona Fall League is a lot like waking up on Christmas morning, over and over again from October 9th to November 17th. This year’s group representing the San Diego Padres will be in need of an opportunity to make a statement.
As of Thursday evening, the Padres will send Austin Allen, Hudson Potts, Buddy Reed, and Hansel Rodriguez to play for the Peoria Javelinas. San Diego will be allowed to add two more starting pitchers to the roster but will wait to decide on who they send.
The Peoria team features prospects from the Padres, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, and Tampa Bay Rays. Two big names on this year’s preliminary roster (non-Padres players) are Cristian Pache (55th ranked prospect) of the Braves and Keston Hiura (26th ranked prospect) of the Brewers.
The minor league schedule isn’t fully complete yet, however, here’s where each of the Padres’ AFL prospects has performed this season, thus far.
Catcher Austin Allen
Allen erupted to start the 2018 MiLB season, leading many writers to look at the possibility of an Allen/Austin Hedges platoon in the near future. Unfortunately for Allen, the Padres traded for top catching prospect, Francisco Mejia, at this year’s trade deadline. That didn’t stop Allen from putting up an impressive 2018 campaign.
Playing all season with the AA San Antonio Missions, Allen hit .289 with a .352 OBP and an .860 OPS. He collected 30 doubles (giving him 93 for his career) and matched his career-high in home runs with 22. Allen put up better numbers in nearly every statistical category after making the jump from High-A to Double-A in 2018, even improving his defensive skills behind the plate.
Allen is Rule-5 eligible, meaning this AFL experience could be a make-or-break opportunity for Allen and his future with the San Diego Padres.
Third baseman Hudson Potts
The Padres have been aggressive with their 2016 first-round draft pick. After hitting .281 with a .350 on-base percentage, 17 home runs, and 35 doubles for the High-A Lake Elsinore Storm, Potts was promoted to the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League. He’s just 19 years old.
Potts has struggled in his 60 at-bats with the Missions, however, let me repeat, he’s 19 years old. He may be striking out in more than 35% of his at-bats but Potts is drawing a walk in nearly 13% of his plate appearances and has two home runs, already.
Third base seems to be the one position that fans immediately look at as a position of need. Wil Myers moving to the hot corner may alleviate that need (if he sticks) but fans shouldn’t be sleeping on Hudson Potts. He will get his opportunity to stand above the rest, going up against some of the best pitching prospects in the game of baseball, down in Arizona.
The biggest thing to watch for this fall will be his strikeout rate. This isn’t a do-or-die situation for Potts, he has plenty of time to sit back and develop, however, putting up a respectable strikeout rate against elite talent will tell us a lot about Potts and his bat.