Things get exciting for any fanbase when their favorite team looks like legitimate World Series contender. That’s certainly the case in San Diego, where fans got their first taste of October since 2006 last fall.
But the Padres aren’t just ready to win at the big league level. They also boast a farm system that’s dripping with high-end talent. Three of their most highly-regarded prospects received recognition in recent weeks, with MacKenzie Gore, Luis Campusano and, now, CJ Abrams, earning high praise from MLB Pipeline.
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We already talked about Gore’s labeling as the best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball. Campusano is clearly the catcher of the future in San Diego and Abrams is universally lauded as one of the premier middle infield talents in the game today – and with good reason.
MLB Pipeline named him the third-best shortstop prospect in the game this month, trailing only Wander Franco of the Rays and Bobby Witt Jr. of the Royals. The list tapped Abrams as having the best run tool of the group, named him the highest riser and tying with Witt jr. as the best fielder.
Here’s what they had to say about his quickly-rising stock:
"He only moved up three spots on the top 10, but evaluators are talking about him in a different way now. The combination of working on his defense last summer and adding strength to make him more of an offensive threat has him reaching the conversation of elite-level prospects."
Abrams headed into last season as the #22 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America. After the Padres drafted him with the sixth overall pick in 2019, the Alpharetta, GA native split the rest of the summer between Rookie and A-ball, slashing a ridiculous .393/.436/.647 line with 15 stolen bases in 34 contests.
With CJ Abrams, other prospects, Padres are loaded for the future
Of course, Fernando Tatis Jr. has shortstop on lockdown for the foreseeable future. At second base, the Padres are set to roll with a combination of an NL Rookie of the Year finalist from a year ago in Jake Cronenworth and international free agent signing Ha-Seong Kim in 2021.
It’s not totally out of the picture that Abrams dethrones that duo in some way. Of course, should the designated hitter come to the National League permanently in the next CBA, that opens up another lineup spot for a guy, as an example, like Manny Machado as he heads into his 30s.
We don’t know what the future will hold or what the Padres roster will look like exactly. But with a young, talented team ready to seriously challenge the Dodgers for the first time in decades and a crop of young prospects waiting in the wings, there are few – if any – teams better positioned for long-term success than San Diego.