MLB Network released its Top 100 players, which included four San Diego Padres, but Chris Paddack was omitted from the list.
The future would appear to be very bright for the San Diego Padres, and MLB Network is validating that notion with their annual rankings of the Top 100 players in the game. Earlier this week, the New Jersey-based television network revealed their list, which featured four players from the Padres.
Fernando Tatis Jr. had the highest ranking, coming in at number 32 overall. The team’s budding superstar was acquired in the James Shields‘ trade in June 2016, and he recently turned 21. His rookie season was cut short by a back injury sustained in mid-August. He had a legitimate shot at National League Rookie of the Year while slashing .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs and 53 RBI.
Manny Machado‘s ranking took a hit and dropped him from number 14 before the 2019 season to number 59 overall on MLB Network’s Top 100. The 27-year-old had a down year – slashing .256/.334/.462 – and recorded his lowest OPS since the 2014 season. Machado was in the first year of a lucrative ten-year, $300 million deal, and I think the expectations helped contribute to his 2019. I would expect a bounceback year from him in 2020.
Although he has yet to register a game in a Padres’ uniform, Tommy Pham‘s plate discipline should have everyone excited, and he came in at number 68. The 31-year-old was acquired in December after spending time in both the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays organizations.
Kirby Yates‘ ranking at 73rd overall was a bit surprising considering how dominant he was in 2019. He led the National League in saves (41) while posting an absurd 1.19 ERA and 15.0 K/9. He earned his first All-Star selection and finished ninth in Cy Young voting. Yates and Padres have yet to discuss an extension, and he’s projected to become a free agent at the end of the 2020 season.
A strong argument can be made that the Padres should have had one more member on this list in Chris Paddack. The former eighth-round pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2015 MLB Draft was on an innings limit last year in his first big league season but managed to post a 3.33 ERA in 26 starts.
Paddack reported to camp looking significantly more muscular with a unique lion tattoo on his left forearm. His journey to the big leagues took a bit longer than expected after he suffered a torn UCL in July 2016 that required Tommy John surgery.
He’s likely to be the Opening Day starter when the Padres welcome in the Colorado Rockies on March 26, and the restraints are off Paddack in 2020:
"“I’m free,” he told MLB.com. “I get to go out there and pitch every five days and show the world who Chris Paddack really is.”"
Fangraphs projects him to finish with a 3.58 ERA in 30 starts with a 9.8 K/9 this season, and those numbers are definitely good enough to propel him into the Top 100 when the 2021 season begins.