San Diego Padres: Preseason Top 30 Prospects going into 2020

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MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - MARCH 24: Mackenzie Gore of San Diego Padres pitches in the 4th inning during the friendly game between San Diego Padres and Diablos Rojos at Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - MARCH 24: Mackenzie Gore of San Diego Padres pitches in the 4th inning during the friendly game between San Diego Padres and Diablos Rojos at Alfredo Harp Helu Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
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GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – MARCH 18: An overview of Goodyear Ballpark prior to a spring training game between the Cleveland Indians and the San Diego Padres at Goodyear Ballpark on March 18, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – MARCH 18: An overview of Goodyear Ballpark prior to a spring training game between the Cleveland Indians and the San Diego Padres at Goodyear Ballpark on March 18, 2019 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

San Diego Padres Prospects # 30-21

30) Reginald Preciado, SS, AZL Rookie Padres, 2024. (NR)

The best prospect out of Panama in this year’s class, Preciado, is a lean and athletic shortstop with a large frame and a projectable body. He has the types of tools that can make an impact on both sides of the ball and tons of upside. The 16-year-old signed with the Padres for $1.3 million at the outset of the July 2 signing period after he ranked as the No. 22 prospect on MLB Pipeline list of the Top 30 international prospects.

29) Ismael Mena, OF, AZL Rookie Padres, 2024. (NR)

Big, athletic, wiry, and full of potential, Mena has drawn comparisons to young Gregory Polanco. That combination of tools and ceiling earned Mena a spot as the No. 15 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s list of the Top 30 international prospects, not to mention a $2.2 million bonus from the Padres at the outset of the July 2 signing period. Mena is all projection right now, but scouts agree that the 16-year-old outfielder has the ingredients needed to become a special player.

28) Joshua Mears, OF, Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps, 2023. (NR)

Mears was a relatively unknown high school player from the Pacific Northwest until he showed off some outstanding tools at the Area Code Games in California last summer. That performance put him firmly on the Draft radar of all 30 teams, and the Padres swooped with their second-round selection, No. 48 overall. Mears would later sign for $1 million, slightly below his slot’s value, and he put forth a strong display in Rookie ball, batting .253/.354/.440 with seven home runs.

27) Ethan Elliott, LHP, Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps, 2023. (NR)

A tenth round pick in the 2019 draft, Elliott had an outstanding pro debut with the short-season Tri-City Dust Devils. In an abbreviated 35.2 innings, Elliott had an ERA of 1.77 in twelve starts to go along with 38 Strikeouts and a whip of 0.87 while allowing a batting average of just .205. He might not have the name recognition of others on this list, but the kid can flat out pitch. He reminds of others who have come from nowhere to dominate a la Joey Cantillo and Omar Cruz, to name a few.

26) Hudson Head, OF, Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps, 2023. (NR)

Head wasn’t on many scouts’ radars because he wasn’t a regular on the summer showcase circuit and didn’t stand out at the World Wood Bat Association World Championship in the fall. Seeing an opportunity to add an ultra-athletic, five-tool player to an already loaded system, the Padres went all-in in their pursuit of Head, taking him in the third round and then signing him for $3 million, a record bonus for a third-round pick. Look for him to move fast through this loaded system.

25) Efrain Contreras, RHP, High-A Lake Elsinore Storm, 2022. (29)

A part of the 2017 International class, Contreras is showing that despite his age, he knows how to pitch. Just 20 years old, he shows good command and poise for someone so young. Even though there are pitchers with a higher pedigree on his team, he’s showing how deep the pitching in this farm system is. Will be apart of a very talented pitching staff in Lake Elsinore this season. He went 6-6 with an ERA of 3.61 in 22 starts and had 121 strikeouts in 109.2 innings pitched.

24) Omar Cruz, LHP, Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps, 2022-23. (NR)

Another pitcher from the same international class in 2017 as Contreras, all Cruz has done since turning pro is dominated. He should be the “Ace” on a TinCaps pitching staff that will have some young but serious talent this season. If the 12 starts in the Midwest League last season is any indication of why he could be the number one on that staff this year, 2-3 2.73 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 50 IP, we should see even better numbers in his second stint in the league.

23) Aaron Leasher, LHP, Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles, 2021. (NR)

In 19 starts in the hitter-friendly California League last year Leasher had a better than average season. He compiled a 10-7 record to go along with an ERA of 3.15 with 113 strikeouts in 120 IP.  Although not flashy or overpowering and perhaps does not possess the highest of ceilings in comparison to others on this list, he knows how to get hitters out with what he does have in his arsenal. Leasher will be at the back end of one of the most potent rotations in all of the minor leagues this year.

22) Osvaldo Hernandez, LHP, High-A Lake Elsinore Storm, 2022. (19)

Hernandez started his 2019 season late due to an injury. He was excellent in 2018 pitching for Fort Wayne, but the lack of playing time this past season keeps him in the lower half of the prospect list. When healthy, however, he does have one of the more intriguing upsides. In 2018 he nearly won the ERA title at Fort Wayne with a 1.81 in the Midwest League. Similar to Leasher, in that he doesn’t overpower you, he changes speeds and arm angles to create deception.

21) Reggie Lawson, RHP, Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles, 2021. (NR)

Lawson endeared himself to scouts with his lightning-quick arm, and even though he endured a side injury during his senior season, the Padres gambled on his upside. They gave the right-hander $1.9 million, more than twice slot value, after selecting him with the 71st overall pick in the 2016 Draft. In his two full Minor League seasons, Lawson has yet to find any measure of consistency, with an ERA hovering around 5. But all the while, he’s continued to flash promising stuff and a high ceiling. Looked like he might have turned the corner with a dominant performance in the Arizona Fall League.

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