Padres Prospect Update: Ethan Salas scuffles early, Dylan Lesko's walks, Jay Beshears

How have the Padres top prospects fared so far this season?
San Diego Padres catcher Ethan Salas
San Diego Padres catcher Ethan Salas / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

If you're looking for a shining star among some of the San Diego Padres top prospects, you might be waiting for a little while. While the Friar faithful are oftentimes impressed by the number of talented young players in the farm system, this year's group has not gotten off to a hot start in 2024.

After Jackson Merrill made San Diego's Opening Day roster, all eyes turned to players like Jakob Marsee and Drew Thorpe as the next two Padres prospects who'd likely make it to the big leagues. However, both players were traded earlier this season.

That leaves Pads fans looking for the next big prospect to emerge, with most assuming that will be Ethan Salas. While the potential is certainly there for Salas to be an impact big leaguer, the 17-year-old has come out of the gates slowly in 2024.

Padres Prospect Update: Ethan Salas struggling early

Salas' start to the season has seen the Padres' top prospect slash just .190/.306/.273 with nine extra-base hits this season. After finishing his 2023 campaign at Double-A San Antonio, the Padres rightfully started Salas back at High-A Fort Wayne this season.

The catcher has a good eye for the strike zone, but has lacked that tremendous pop in his bat from his time in the minors last season. Salas posted a .487 slugging percentage at Low-A in 2023 and walloped nine big flies in fewer than 50 games.

Salas is one of the Top 100 prospects in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, but he can't even vote yet. The Padres backstop will turn on 18 years old on June 1, so fans shouldn't be too concerned by his early-season struggles.

Padres Prospect Update: Dylan Lesko is issuing far too many walks

Former first-round pick Dylan Lesko is one of the most exciting young pitching prospects in the Padres' farm system. Lesko has a plus-fastball that can hit the upper-90s, but after missing most of last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Padres' scouts, coaching staff, and fanbase are eager to see how the right-hander performs during his first full season in the pros.

So far, it's been a bit worrisome, to say the least. In seven starts, Lesko has almost as many walks as he does strikeouts. The 20-year-old owns a horrific 23.9% walk rate and is walking over 10 batters per nine innings pitched.

It's not uncommon for pitchers who've missed as much time as Lesko has to struggle on occasion, but the Padres sure hope the right-hander is able to relocate the strike zone sooner rather than later. Having given up so many prospects in trades this past spring, Padres President of Baseball Operations AJ Preller needs a few of these young arms to come through.

Padres Prospect Update: Jay Beshears is raking in the minors

Another Duke alum is finding success in the Padres' system — who'd have thunk it? Graham Pauley, who played college baseball for the Blue Devils, made the Padres Opening Day roster, but the pipeline doesn't stop there.

Jay Beshears was just elevated to High-A this past week. If his latest promotion is any indication of what Padres fans can expect, Beshears might be in the big leagues sooner than most think. After hitting .320/.489/.454 in 28 games at Low-A to begin the season, Beshears hit .389/.500/.611 for the Fort Wayne Tin Caps this past week. He's no doubt an underrated Padres prospect to keep an eye on this season.

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