In the shadow of injuries and inconsistencies, Jorge Ona is the latest prospect to punch his ticket to the big leagues for the Padres.
Across Major League Baseball, this season, it has been the year of the prospect, literally. Each day it seems another young talent earns their shot, and, as we’ve entered into the final month of the strangest season on record, it makes sense for teams to see those prospects compete at the highest level.
Before yesterday’s ten-game homestand kicked off versus division rival Colorado, the Padres made a series of corresponding moves, the main being the call-up of outfielder Jorge Ona. Highly touted prospect Luis Patino was optioned to the alternate training site after struggles in his first go-around. Luis Campusano, who made his debut a few days ago in Oakland, hit the injured list with a left wrist sprain after just one game.
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More bad news struck after first baseman Eric Hosmer was injured on a bunt attempt in the first inning following a hit-by-pitch. Manager Jayce Tingler reported Hosmer is expected to miss anywhere between two to six weeks. In what has been a fun season of Padres baseball, holding postseason aspirations, everything seemed to come crashing down.
In what could become a ‘next man up’ mentality, Oña is the guy. After signing with San Diego as part of their international free agent class in 2016, for a whopping $7 million, the 23-year-old spent his first professional season in Class-A Fort Wayne. He slashed .277/.351/.405 as a 20-year-old and held his own against the competition.
The following season Oña was promoted to Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore, where he struggled against the increased talent. He slashed .239/.312/.380 in 100 games seeing a dip in his numbers across the board. However, it was a good enough season as the Padres wanted to see what Oña could do at Double-A, and, after another promotion, Oña did not disappoint.
He hit .348 and posted an impressive .957 OPS, both far-and-away career-highs. In his 89 at-bats at Amarillo, Oña hit five home runs and drove in 18 runs. As he has not been considered a top 100 prospect, he does find himself on multiple top 30 team lists across the board.
A boon to the Padres lineup is Oña’s plus power. However, he will need to shorten his swing and learn to adjust to major league pitching if he will make an impact. Oña is still 23 years old and in a loaded Padres farm system provides a nice addition. In his debut on Monday, he finished 0-2 and a walk.