Padres Prospect Update: Robby Snelling, Graham Pauley, Lamar King Jr., Futures Game

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

Now that the trade deadline rumor mill is in full swing, San Diego Padres fans are extremely curious about the organization's plans. Granted, most of that interest has to do with which players are actually going to be available and if they are a fits for the Padres' needs. However, there is also the matter of who the Padres have to give up in prospective trades.

While San Diego's farm system has taken a hit after trading for Dylan Cease right before the season and then dealing for Luis Arráez back in May, most neutral observers agree that the Pads have the young talent to get at least one more big trade done if they really want to. While that appears likely to be heavily geared towards their interest in Garrett Crochet, what will get a deal to the finish line is San Diego's farmhands playing well to be attractive trade pieces.

So what's the status with some of the Padres' biggest names?

Robby Snelling's time at Double-A is not helping is value

The Padres' No. 2-ranked prospect came into the 2024 season teeming with potential. Not only does he have a mid-90s fastball that he throws for strikes, but his curveball was a legit plus offering. While he didn't make the cut for the big league roster out of spring training, there were many that thought he was going potentially force his way into the picture at some point this season.

Unfortunately, Snelling has taken a big step back in 2024. After pitching his brains out last year with a 1.82 ERA in 22 starts across three levels of the minors, Snelling has a 6.49 ERA in his 13 starts at Double-A this year. His strikeout rate is down significantly and his walk rate has regressed as well. Snelling's struggles have been particularly pronounced over the last month, including a dreadful last start where he failed to get out of the second inning and gave up five runs.

Graham Pauley hasn't been able to build on 2023 success

During spring training, Graham Pauley was getting quite a bit of attention. A relatively unheralded prospect before last year, Pauley's 2023 season saw him mash all the way to Double-A with a .308/.393/.538 line. He became known for his upside at the plate and ability to play all over the field. There was even a point during camp where it looked like Pauley could make the Opening Day roster.

Unfortunately, the minor league season hasn't been as kind to Pauley as it was last year, or even this spring. He has just a .692 OPS in Triple-A thanks largely to hitting .211 this year. Over his last 10 games, he has just seven hits while striking out 21 times. Unfortunately, those hoping that Pauley was going to contribute much in the big leagues this year are probably going to be disappointed.

Lamar King Jr. is turning heads down in rookie ball

Given that the Padres already have a young catcher in Luis Campusano as well as the best catching prospect in baseball in Ethan Salas, guys like Lamar King Jr. can get lost in the shuffle. Just a fourth-round pick out of high school back in 2022, King Jr. hasn't blasted through the minors like Salas, and injuries limited him to just 21 games last year (although he played well when he was on the field).

However, the guy can just flat out hit, and King Jr. is showing that ability to the world this season now that he is healthy. His .759 OPS in rookie ball is already more than reasonable for a catcher, but he has been even better than that lately with a .324/.410/.412 line over his last 10 games. He is a long-term project, but one that could pay big dividends down the line.

And finally, we have news on this year's Futures Game, which will take place July 13. The Padres will be represented by Snelling and top prospect catcher Ethan Salas. Though both are struggling at the moment, they have an opportunity to make an impact on one of the biggest stages in 2024.

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