Gabriel Arias (ETA: 2021)
Signed as part of the 2016-2017 international free agent period, Gabriel Arias hadn’t yet lived up to the lucrative $1.9 million signing bonus that the Padres gave him. He got off on the right foot, batting .275 in 37 games for Rookie ball but hit just .240 in 124 games for Single-A Fort Wayne in 2018.
Arias experienced a breakout season last year and tapped into the power that scouts tabbed him with. He hit .302 while smacking 17 home runs and driving in 75 RBI in 120 games for High-A Lake Elsinore. And while he is only 20 years old, it was encouraging to see the Padres’ investment paying off. Especially his production with runners in scoring position, batting .296 with two home runs, and 54 RBI last year.
He was among the first wave of cuts in Spring Training this year, but he was reportedly checking all the boxes that the front office needed to see. Arias must clean up his defense should he wish to stick at shortstop. He committed 30 and 26 errors in the field in 2018 and 2019, respectively. That simply will not hold up.
I’d expect him to begin the year at Double-A Amarillo with the potential for Triple-A and a September call-up next year. If his defense doesn’t improve, look for him to make a position switch to second base.