Padres net four Top 100 prospects in MLB Pipeline rankings
By Jake Misener
For some teams, having prospects mentioned on Top 100 lists that drop this time of year is a sign of promise for the future – a far-off hope that sustains fan bases during rebuilds.
But for the San Diego Padres, it’s something very different. It’s a sign of the organization’s bright long-term outlook, with four Top 100 prospects included on MLB Pipeline’s preseason rankings that dropped on Friday.
MacKenzie Gore, CJ Abrams, Luis Campusano and Robert Hassell earned the honors this year. Here’s what MLB Pipeline had to say about the group:
"After placing an MLB Pipeline-record 10 prospects on the 2019 list, the Padres’ Top 100 prospect contingent has dwindled in each of the past two years as GM A.J. Preller has promoted from within or executed prospect-centered trades to help bolster the big league roster. That being said, they still have plenty of star power up top with two top 10 prospects in former first-rounders Gore (’17) and Abrams (’19), and another Top 100 prospect in Hassell (’20), who could shoot up the list in his first pro season."
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While San Diego isn’t as well-represented as they were just two years ago, they are now legitimate contenders in the National League and have pulled off several impressive trades without touching their key guys (the four on this list, along with left-hander Ryan Weathers).
That’s a remarkable feat for GM AJ Preller, who shored up the pitching staff this winter by adding NL Cy Young finalist Yu Darvish, former AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell and right-hander Joe Musgrove. This group joins holdovers Chris Paddack, who’s looking for a bounceback showing in 2021, and another Cy Young finalist from a year ago in Dinelson Lamet.
Gore will, at some point this year, likely join the big league pitching staff – although, with San Diego’s depth, it’ll be a matter of when he’s ready rather than rushing him before he’s ready. But if he can come up late in the year and lengthen the bullpen, this pitching staff could be a major thorn in the side of opposing lineups come October.
These prospects will drive the Padres for years to come
Abrams is still a year or so away from joining the Padres – but was ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the game. This kid is insanely talented and should form a highlight reel-worthy middle infield along with Fernando Tatis Jr. for years to come.
Preller shored up the team’s catching depth when he brought in switch-hitting backstop Victor Caratini in the Darvish deal. But make no mistake: Campusano is the catcher of the future and if all goes well, we could see him at Petco Park this summer.
Hassell, the team’s first-round pick from last year, is definitely the furthest off of the group. Not expected to hit the Show till 2023, MLB Pipeline ranked him as the ‘best pure hitter’ in last year’s draft class – giving the team something to look forward in the outfield in the not-too-distant future.