The World Series isn’t over yet, but that isn’t stopping us from looking ahead to the 2019 San Diego Padres minor league season.
The 2018 San Diego Padres season may not have answered very many questions at the major league level, however, a number of important questions were answered down in the minor leagues. Chris Paddack is a serious contender to be in the starting rotation for years to come, Luis Urias can overcome a slump, and Luis Patino is easily one of the most entertaining prospects in baseball. Oh yeah, he’s also a really good pitcher at just 19 years of age.
So, looking ahead to 2019, who are you most excited to see? This post isn’t ranking any prospects or attempting to say one prospect is better than another. In fact, you won’t see any of the top prospects mentioned here. With such a deep farm system in place, which prospects outside the top 20 are you anxious to see perform well in 2019? There are no wrong answers here, just a lot of young, exciting prospects.
Initially, no top 30 prospects were going to appear on this list, but there’s one name at the very end of MLB Pipeline’s list that sits at the very top of this particular list, shortstop Owen Miller.
All the scouting reports on Miller said his bat was good, but did we think it was this good? After the Padres selected him in the third round of this year’s draft, Miller quickly worked his way up to Double-A San Antonio, appearing on their playoff roster just months after finishing his college career at Illinois State. That speaks volumes about how the Padres view the young infielder.
With Tri-City and Fort Wayne in the regular season, Miller hit .336 with an .846 OPS, four home runs, 19 doubles, and three triples. He kept his strikeout rate below 15% at both stops and posted a wRC+ of 135 and 145.
Whether he starts the year with Lake Elsinore or Amarillo is the first intriguing question surrounding Miller. The next is how does he perform in his first full season as a professional. If he comes close to repeating last year’s performance, the Padres will have themselves six legitimate middle infield prospects.
How about a pitching prospect?
Padres left-handed pitching prospects cover the Top 100 list and there are plenty more intriguing LHP names outside of MacKenzie Gore, Logan Allen, and the rest of the crew. Deep down on the farm resides another teenage left-handed pitcher, Osvaldo Hernandez.
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Originally signed out Cuba, Hernandez had a decent rookie season with the Padres, pitching in the Arizona League, the Northwest League, and the Midwest League. He spent all of 2018 with the Fort Wayne TinCaps, winning 11 games and recording an eye-popping 1.81 ERA. Across 109 innings, Hernandez limited hitters to a .254 average and posted a K/BB ratio of 94/27. Best of all, he allowed just three home runs.
Doubling his career-high for innings pitched in a season seemed to have no effect on Hernandez as he ended the season in dominant fashion. Across his last 10 starts (53 innings), Hernandez struck out 44, walked 10, and went 7-1 with a 1.34 ERA.
He may not bring the high velocity, but scouting reports across the board agree that his well-developed secondaries (for a teenager) and ability to keep hitters off-balance with his four-pitch mix combine well with his advanced understanding of pitching.
What about you, Padres fans? Outside of the top 30, who are you looking forward to seeing have a standout 2019 season, down on the farm?