Padres: Canceled minor league season detrimental for these players

The Minor League Baseball season was canceled on Tuesday. These Padres prospects will be most impacted.

As if 2020 couldn’t look any more ominous, on Tuesday, word came down on the Minor League Baseball season. Canceled. The news was expected, given where we are in the calendar year, but it was still difficult to stomach as many of the Padres prospects will sit idle for the remainder of the season.

As for the big-league club, they will, hopefully, embark on a 60-game season beginning at the end of the month. Under the league’s return-to-play proposal, each team can carry up to 60 players with 30 of them being active at the start of the year.

We learned earlier this week that the Padres will carry at least 52 names in their player pool, including all 13 of their top prospects as well as 2020 first-round pick, Robert Hassell. They signed third-round pick Cole Wilcox on Tuesday, and he’s expected to be added to the player pool along with newly-acquired Jorge Mateo.

As for the minor leaguers that won’t be part of the player pool, the cancellation of the season will impact these three the most, from a developmental perspective.

1. Hudson Potts

Taken in the first round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Potts had a strong 2018 campaign in a 106-game sample size for High-A Lake Elsinore. There, he posted a .281/.350/.498 line with 17 home runs and 58 RBI. Potts followed that with a disappointing 2019 season, hitting just .240 for Double-A Amarillo. He’s hit .216 in 129 games at the AA level thus far.

2020 was an important year for the 21-year-old, especially since he had a 25.8 percent strikeout rate in the minors. Along with his offense, Potts’ defense at third base remains a work in progress, as he’s committed 17 errors at the position over the last two seasons. He figured to start the year at Amarillo with a promotion to Triple-A El Paso if things progressed in a positive direction.

2. Jeisson Rosario

Signed as part of the international free agent period in July 2016, Rosario has been consistently revered for his on-base skills. He’s still just 20 years of age, but his plate discipline looks that of a seasoned veteran. Similar to Potts, Rosario had an impressive 2018 season in which he hit .271 to go along with a .368 OBP. However, he batted .242 last year, despite posting a .372 OBP for High-A Lake Elsinore.

He would have been a candidate to start the year at High-A with a promotion to Amarillo not long after. I was looking forward to seeing if Rosario would start tapping into his raw power in 2020, as he had hit a career-high three long balls in both 2018 and 2019.

3. Jorge Ona

There still could be an outside chance that Ona is added to the 60-man player pool. He joined Rosario as part of the international free agent class in July 2016, and the 23-year-old was off to a red-hot start for Double-A last year before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. In a 25-game sample, Ona batted .348 with five home runs and 18 RBI, which put him on pace for a 25 HR, 90 RBI season.

Again, he could get added to the player pool, and the Padres did protect him from the Rule 5 draft, so they are obviously still interested in what he can offer. However, he’s unlikely to garner any live-game action but would have benefited from practicing alongside those who will see regular playing time.

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