Of the 67 players reporting to camp, 27 are non-roster invitees and some of those names will make the Friar Faithful very happy. There will be an opportunity to set eyes on some of the top rated prospects that have been the talk of baseball the last few years.
I anticipate a lot of movement on the field this spring with many players able to play multiple positions and manager Jayce Tingler testing the abilities of those players around the diamond.
Here is the full list of invitees but in the interest of brevity we will highlight those most of us will be watching closely.
RHP Miquel Diaz– Diaz had left knee surgery in 2019 and the spring will determine if and when he will be able to make a run at the roster for 2020. He has a high upside arm that will likely end up pitching for El Paso when he gets back to full strength and he could provide depth to the bullpen as he continues to get back to his previous abilities.
RHP Luis Patino– Patino made a rapid rise through the prospect ranks after being a part of the 2016 international signing bonanza. When signed, at 16 years old, Patino was an undersized pitcher with a quick arm and athleticism.
International Scouting Director Chris Kemp felt there was room for growth and they placed Patino in their Dominican Republic academy for development. He has now shown how time and the proper development can reap rewards from a $130,000 investment.
Now the Padres #3 prospect, Patino is only 20 years old and had a brief exposure to Double-A Amarillo last season. You shouldn’t expect to see him until mid season at the earliest. A lot will depend on how he matures this spring and the early 2020 season. Patino impressed with his 1 & 2/3 inning performance in last years All Star Futures Game, shutting down the opposition and saving the game for his team.
LHP Mackenzie Gore– What can I add to all the hype that has surrounded this young man during his rise through the Padres system?
The #1 overall prospect for the Padres, this lefty has excelled at every opportunity. Although curtailed by blister issues on his throwing hand two years ago, he has rapidly drawn attention to his mid 90’s fastball that plays up and his three other outstanding offerings that also are considered plus or plus plus pitches. As well as his competitiveness and maturity.
An ace in the making, Gore has only to stay healthy and continue his development to become the front of the rotation pitcher the Padres have lacked since trading Jake Peavy.
General Manager AJ Preller has shown his willingness to allow the kids to play with his adding Chris Paddack to the starting rotation breaking camp last spring. I doubt that will be the case this year with Gore, he is still only 20 years old. But a strong early showing to his season could elevate him to the major league squad within a couple of months.
Catcher Luis Campusano– The #5 overall prospect in the Padres system, Campusano is still 1-2 years away from the major league team, best case scenario. Missing part of the ’18 season to concussion issues, the 21 year old is projected to develop into a balanced two way player behind the plate but needs more work. A gun for an arm and a power bat in the making are two tools to build on and it should be interesting to see how he performs this spring.
OF Taylor Trammell– The #2 overall prospect for the Friars was acquired from Cincinnati in the three-way trade that sent Franmil Reyes to the Indians. There has been a recent degrading of Trammell among major league evaluators due to his struggles last season in Double-A.
Time will tell if that was just a blip for this talented and engaging 22-year-old. He has plus tools as a hitter with plus speed and base running skills. An average throwing arm will limit where he is able to play, especially in big parks, but I am hoping for a big turnaround for him this season.
IF Esteban Quiroz– Acquired November 2018 in exchange for right-hander Colton Brewer (Red Sox), Quiroz has turned some heads this past year with his performance. The 27-year-old was originally signed as a free agent out of Mexico and hit .271/.384/.539 with 52 walks against 82 strikeouts and 19 homers in 96 games last year with Triple-A El Paso. He has continued to play well this winter in the Mexico league finishing .258/.364/.438 with 13 walks and 17 strikeouts. He slugged 4 homers and 17 RBI in 89 at bats (25 games).
At 5′ 7″ and 175 lbs and an average or below average arm, Quiroz isn’t suited for anywhere other than second base. But his elite plate discipline and blossoming power makes him an intriguing player to watch as the Padres seek consistency at 2nd.
IF Owen Miller– The Padres have 8 of their top 12 prospects in camp this year. Miller, the #9 prospect, gives them a solid player with an average arm, good speed, good defensive skills at shortstop and solid plate discipline. He has not shown any developing power but could easily stick at short for another team. If his future is with the Padres he will need to play around the infield or develop into a second baseman.