Padres attempting aggressive development plan with top prospect (not Ethan Salas)

2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training
2024 San Diego Padres Spring Training / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

What a whirlwind start to a professional baseball career for the San Diego Padres top infield prospect Leodalis De Vries. The 17-year-old shortstop put together an impressive showing in camp and spring training games that exceeded everyone’s expectations. De Vries might be the odd man out in the Padres’ infield configuration for 2024, but that is not the case moving forward

The Friars are attempting another aggressive development plan for De Vries, similar to the approach they used with Ethan Salas last season. It won’t take long before the confidence in his baseball skills takes over. If successful, the plan will allow De Vries to slip into the starting lineup seamlessly after learning his trade in the minors.

Padres' Leodalis De Vries: The Prize of the international market

Last January, the Padres signed the prized possession of this year’s international amateur class to a $4.2 million deal. The organization knew De Vries had outstanding baseball skills, but they were surprised at how fast he adapted to the pro baseball lifestyle.

De Vries was outstanding in the field and at the plate in Peoria this spring. In the spring breakout game, he reached base three times. His play in the backfield “B” games earned him a trip to San Diego to close the spring training schedule against the Seattle Mariners. In the exhibition series at Petco Park, De Vries went 1-2 with a run scored.

Watching him in person, you never felt he was intimidated by the pace of play at the major league level. De Vries showed great range at shortstop, and his aggressiveness at the plate was noticeable.

Padres attempting aggressive development plan with top prospect (not Ethan Salas)

Despite all the hype, the Padres front office will need to see more improvement before any thought of De Vries being called up to the majors enters their mind. They plan to have him begin his professional career in extended spring training. The odds are high that he will play in rookie ball when the season starts on May 4. But do not rule out the possibility of De Vries starting at Lake Elsinore after extended spring training breaks camp.

The goal is for him to continue having fun while developing his game at the minor-league level. De Vries knows he can play in the majors, but the aggressive development plan will help him learn how to become an impactful player.

Still, he could have one of the best stretches in baseball history, and that may not be enough to guarantee him to make his major league debut this season. If De Vries’ development continues, he will be in the conversation for a role with the Padres as early as 2025, which is just about as fast as it gets.