Padres: Joshua Mears, Brayan Medina eyed as ‘breakout’ candidates in 2021

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Projection of future talent is a tricky measure. This past week the Baseball America team compiled a league-wide list of talent who could break out this year (subscription required), and their picks for the San Diego Padres are outfielder Joshua Mears and right-handed pitcher Brayan Medina.

Mears and Medina each fall within the scope of the organization’s top 30, with Mears seen as the higher of the pair. As far as the talent level, it should surprise no one. The Padres ranked as the top farm system in both 2018 and 2019 and second overall last season.

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Both guys came to San Diego in 2019 as Mears was the team’s second-round selection, and Medina signed out of Venezuela, who many considered as the top pitching option from his home country.

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Mears was able to get one professional season under his belt before the shutdown last year. He displayed the power level that had initially caught A.J. Preller’s eye and finished the year ahead of the curve.

In 43 games in rookie ball, Mears hit.253 with seven home runs and a surprising nine stolen bases, considering his size. His 30.3 percent strikeout rate was horrendous on paper, although fans should not see it as too big of a concern. Young hitters typically have myriad problems in this department at this stage.

Meanwhile, Medina has not seen time quite yet. He is set to make his expectant DSL debut sometime in 2021. Regarding his makeup, the 6’1″ righty has a fastball reported to sit between 92 and 95 MPH that can touch 100. Their international scouting is so impressive, it’s become almost routine. Medina also carries a nasty slider with a bite and a nice changeup which gives him that much desired three-pitch arsenal.

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All in all, it’s wheels up, it seems for these two foreseeable big leaguers. If timing lines up, it would not surprise me to see Mears up at some point in 2023 and Medina the following year, in 2024, in a relief role. It, of course, is dependent on progress and process. For now, all Preller and the Padres need to do is to let it ride.