3 non-roster invitees who could steal Opening Day roster spots for the Padres

Will Padres fans see some roster shakeups when the team leaves Arizona?
Cleveland Guardians left fielder Oscar Mercado (35) catches a fly ball
Cleveland Guardians left fielder Oscar Mercado (35) catches a fly ball / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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Jackson Merrill, IF/OF

It seems wild to even suggest that Jackson Merrill could make the Padres Opening Day roster --especially considering that, at least for the moment, Ha-Seong Kim is still on the Padres roster and starting at short. While the Friars' shortstop has been the subject of trade rumors all offseason, there's a way that both Merrill and Kim could break camp with the Padres.

Merrill has been gathering reps on the outfield grass. Though a shortstop by trade, Merrill sees the avenue for a quick path to the big leagues by expanding his repertoire beyond just one position. It's been reported that Merrill has split time at shortstop and second base, as well as both left and center field.

If the Padres' top prospect continues to gain reps in the outfield during spring training and in Cactus League games, there's a tremendous chance that Merrill could leapfrog Triple-A and make his major league debut on Opening Day.

That's quite a jump. Merrill played just 46 games at Double-A last season, but having over 200 at-bats with the San Antonio Missions a year ago certainly gave the Padres' brass a glimpse into raw talent the 20-year-old possesses. In those 46 contests, Merrill hit .273/.338/.444. Merrill makes contact, has a low strikeout rate, and enough speed to be a threat on the base paths.

Without Juan Soto and Trent Grisham, the San Diego Padres need to find some way to add quality at-bats to the roster. If Jackson Merrill shows out during spring training, he may force the Padres' hand and secure a spot on the Opening Day roster.