San Diego Padres prospects: Ethan Salas' Double-A promotion has him on the big league fast track

He's only 17, but Padres' top prospect Ethan Salas is about to get a taste of Double-A as his rapid ascent continues.
Chicago White Sox v San Diego Padres
Chicago White Sox v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

The average Double-A position player is about 24 years old, according to Baseball America, which makes San Diego Padres' top prospect Ethan Salas anything but average.

In fact, this kid is downright special.

Salas, 17 (!), is on his way to Double-A San Antonio, where he'll spend the rest of the 2023 season after already splitting time between Single-A Lake Elsinore and High-A Fort Wayne. That will make San Antonio the third stop on Salas' tour de force through the Padres' minor league system just in this year alone. A remarkable feat for a player as young as he is, and his rapid ascent is a big reason why he's absolutely untouchable within the organization.

San Diego Padres: Top prospect Ethan Salas' meteoric rise continues at Double-A

Double-A is where things start to get real, though, as the caliber of talent starts to approach MLB levels. Therefore, this promotion will be a big test for Salas. But we're thinking bigger than Double-A: Could Salas make his big league debut in 2024?

In case you forgot, Salas already has experience catching big league pitchers including Yu Darvish, who threw a bullpen to the youngster in spring training. That's certainly notable, if not a strong indicator of Salas' potential. All of a sudden, Salas making his big league debut in 2024 doesn't seem so far-fetched anymore, does it?

Of course, we don't want to jump the gun too much, as Salas will need to prove himself against the higher level competition he'll face in Double-A. And he didn't exactly light up High-A, with a meager .472 OPS in just 35 at-bats.

Nevertheless, it seems the Padres are weighing other factors more heavily in the decision to aggressively promote the 17-year-old catcher, who already receives high marks for his presence and communication behind the plate. Those are the tools that will likely get him to the Padres sooner rather than later. As San Diego's Assistant Farm Director Mike Daly told The San Diego Union-Tribune...

"Part of the way we've done it with the Padres is we want to push the gifted."

Mike Daly

If that's the case, the big league door at Petco Park is at least slightly ajar for Salas to crash through like the Kool-Aid Man next season.