Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2013 (14) | 2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29)

2013 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [77-67] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [78-61] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [61-79] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [72-67] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss):  [27-49] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Jedd Gyorko (2B/3B); Robbie Erlin (LHP); Nick Vincent (RHP)

The Run Down
When gauging this Padres farm from a fantasy perspective, the ballpark factor cannot be ignored.  Virtually any arm in contention for regular starts at Petco is an arm that carries great fantasy potential — all of the pitchers here have a chance to outperform their tools thanks to the cavernous confines of their park.  Conversely, the upsides of the hitters in this org are limited for the same reason.  All that said, there are exciting pieces in this San Diego org on both sides of the fantasy game.  This Padres system has plenty of depth, as usual, and there’s some high-end talent sprinkled in too.  Quietly, San Diego has been one of the more impactful organizations with regard to the fantasy game.  That trend should continue into the foreseeable future.

Top Ten Fantasy Prospects
1.  Max Fried, LHP:  Drafted 7th overall in 2012, Fried made his full-season debut in 2013, posting a 3.49 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP, and a K/9 at 7.6 though 23 Midwest League starts.  The 20-year-old southpaw features front-end stuff (FB, CB, CH), and a frame that should hold up well over a big league workload.  He’ll step up to High-A in 2014, where the Padres would like to see improvements in command — if he can make progress in that department, his production should be scary good.  With a strong effort in Lake Elsinore, we could see Fried surface in the upper levels by mid-season.  ETA:  2015

2.  Hunter Renfroe, OF:  The 13th-overall pick last June, Renfroe was viewed as one of the more advanced college bats in last year’s class.  Power is the main attraction, and 30 HR upside seems attainable.  There’s also some speed in the equation, though not a great deal, and that may dwindle as he matures.  Renfroe should get started in 2014 in the hitter-friendly environment of the California League, where I’m anticipating some gaudy numbers out of the 22-year-old.  If all goes well, he should finish his season in the upper levels, on track for MLB arrival sometime next season.  ETA:  2015

3.  Matt Wisler, RHP:  With a line at 2.78/1.03/131 in 136 IP between High-A and Double-A, Wisler was the standout performer from this Padres farm in 2013.  And having spent the bulk of his time last year at the Double-A level, the 21-year-old is already quite advanced developmentally, ready for a big league look as soon as there’s a need.  A solid fastball/slider combo should allow for plenty of whiffs, while Petco pads the rest of the line.  Wisler will likely wait in Triple-A for an opportunity to arise, but as soon as he surfaces he’ll bring plenty of fantasy appeal.  ETA:  2014

4.  Rymer Liriano, OF:  Liriano headlined this list a year ago, but ended up missing the entire season due to Tommy John surgery.  The Padres expect the 22-year-old to be healthy and ready for spring training, and aside from the fact that he’s another year older, not much has changed from my notes on Liriano last year:  “Liriano isn’t the safest prospect in this San Diego system, but his ceiling is the highest, and his fantasy upside is significant.  In 2012, the five-tool outfielder hit .298/.360/.443 in 74 games at High-A, before regressing to .251/.335/.377 down the stretch at Double-A San Antonio.  Liriano is an impressive athlete, but he’s yet to truly translate his raw tools into big time production on the field.  Once things start to click for an athlete as gifted as Liriano, it won’t be long before he’s big league ready.”  ETA:  2015

5.  Casey Kelly, RHP:  Like Liriano, Kelly, too, missed all of 2013 thanks to TJ surgery.  On track to return to action this spring, the 24-year-old will certainly be considered for starts as soon as a need arises.  For now, though, he appears to be a long-shot to earn a rotation gig out of camp.  ETA:  2014

6.  Alex Dickerson, OF:  Dickerson arrived in San Diego via Pittsburgh in an under-the-radar swap this offseason.  The 23-year-old has done nothing but hit since being drafted out of Indiana University in 2011, posting a career line at .295/.352/.475 in three seasons as a pro.  Dickerson has the offensive skill set to knock 20+ homers while helping in AVG and OBP, and he should be ready for a look in the bigs at some point this season.  ETA:  2014

7.  Austin Hedges, C:  Hedges is a stellar real life prospect, but his fantasy appeal isn’t wonderful, which is why I highlighted him in my future fantasy schmohawks post.  From that same post:  “Hedges is a brilliant defender with arm and instincts and wonderful receiving ability.  That skill set will put him in the top-30 on most prospect lists this of-season.  His arrival in San Diego (2015-ish) will come with loads of hype, but for fantasy purposes, it’s important to differentiate catching prospects like Hedges from ones like Travis d’Arnaud.  Hedges swings an okay stick, and has the upside to max out around a .275 AVG and 15 homers, which could certainly be useful, but that’s years down the road.  He’ll be a decent NL-Only option upon arrival, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be relevant in mixed leagues for quite a while.  Still, Padres fans should be thrilled.”  ETA:  2015

8.  Joe Ross, RHP:  After struggling down the stretch in 2012, Ross repeated Low-A in 2013 with much better results:  3.75/1.34/79 in 122 IP.  His fastball/slider combo projects as an effective weapon, but at this stage of development, it hasn’t drawn the volume of whiffs necessary to garner attention in the fantasy world.  Patience will be key with Ross, and I’m confident the bat-missing stuff will take form over the next couple seasons.  The 20-year-old is a candidate to rank much higher on this list next year.  ETA:  2016

9.  Jace Peterson, SS:  After a great full season debut in 2012, Peterson was yet again impressive in 2013, batting .303/.382/.454 with 7 HR and 42 SB in 496 PA at High-A Lake Elsinore.  The 23-year-old’s production on the stat sheet has constantly surpassed his tools profile, so it’s reasonable to project some regression as he moves into the upper levels.  If, however, he continues reaching base and stealing bags at the same clip in Double-A, it might be time to reconsider his fairly average MLB outlook.  ETA:  2015

10.  Keyvius Sampson, RHP:  The buzz on Sampson is that the Padres will pursue a relief role for the 23-year-old — a transition that began during Arizona Fall League play, and one that is not particularly welcome from a fantasy perspective.  Iffy command of quality stuff has seemingly pushed the 23-year-old into the bullpen, but there remains hope that his days of starting ballgames aren’t over just yet.  How San Diego treats Sampson in spring training will go a long way in determining his fantasy outlook.  ETA:  2014

For a retrospective look at the Padres farm, take a look at my 2013 MiLB preview.

  1. Jay

    Jay says:

    Best list of all time.

    • @Jay: Oh, I forgot this one has a special pace in your heart. Thoughts on my T10 from a fan’s perspective?

  2. Eric W says:

    Is that the same Casey Kelly that was one of the Redsox top farm hands a few years back? Probably got moved in the Adrian Gonzalez deal the more I think about it.

    Anyways thanks for the read and the heads up on Wisler!

    • @Eric W: Yep, same Kelly… still has some upside too.

  3. Mike

    Mike says:

    Nice post Scott…I was interested in your take on Liriano and glad to see you still value him. Non Padres question sorry – of Meadows and Frazier, who do you prefer for fantasy? I’m leaning Frazier, but I keep seeing more and more glowing reports on Meadows, even though both are just starting out. I’m gonna have to choose between the two in this year’s MiLB draft.

    • @Mike: The upside with Frazier is as good as it gets… I like Meadows plenty, but between he & Frazier, it’s an easy call — Frazier all day.

      • Mike

        Mike says:

        @Scott Evans: thanks Scott I appreciate your takes on these guys.

  4. English says:

    I have stashed quite a few Padres in dynasty leagues. Really do like their farm.

    I’ve heard the feeling in Pittsburgh on Dickerson was that he had no defensive home and that’s why they moved him? He certainly looks like he can hit but if he can’t get playing time due to his defense sucking its going to hit his value pretty hard.

    • @English: Great system to load up on … and yeah, lots of truth to that statement re: dickerson — he probably ends up at 1b, which limits potential impact…

  5. Yeshcheese says:

    Great work good sir. Where do you feel Joe Wieland fits in the post-TJ prospect club?

    • @Yeshcheese: So many TJ guys on this club, it’s kinda frightening… Wieland isn’t as gifted an arm as Kelly or Luebke, so I put him third or fourth in line for starts, provided he’s fully healthy…

  6. Bream Dream says:

    Is Buxton #1 overall? Who is the best major league comparison? Past or present.

    • @Bream Dream: Yeah, he’s #1… tools profile similar to a player like Mike Trout… doesn’t mean he’ll come anywhere close to sniffing Trout’s #’s though…

      • Bream Dream says:

        @Scott Evans:
        Got it. Thanks. I tried to come up with a Padre question….then. I fell asleep.

          • Bream Dream says:

            @Scott Evans:
            Yeah but……they are still only Padres. Maybe it’s the drab colors. If Trout were a Padre, he would be ranked 5th overall.

  7. centerfield ballhawk says:

    What happened to Corey Spangenberg? He’s a local kid from Northeast, PA. Top pick of the Friars in 2011. Played well over two stops last year. He shifted to second base last season after reaching AA.

    • @centerfield ballhawk: not far from the top 10… slap-hitting MI with modest speed… probably surfaces in san diego this season, but frankly, he kinda looks like a busted #1 pick at this point… ceiling of a league-average 2b

  8. TheNewGuy says:

    There was me refreshing the other page looking for a response to my comment and I realise theres another post up! Anyway here it is pasted, cos im lazy:

    Hi Scott, cant wait for your rankings to be released. Luckily neither of my keepers have started our minor league drafts yet.

    Couple questions though:

    1. Asked Grey is if rather keep Pence @$16 or H Bailey @8$ next year for my final keeper slot in one league. Grey said Homer but due to lack of offense around these days might it be wiser to keep Pence at that price?

    2. Slight rule change in our league where we have to promote any prospects before our upcoming prospect draft (not during anymore). That means I have to decide if B Hamilton, M Adams and C-Mart are worth promoting very soon. Adams and I think Hamilton are definates, would you hold C-Mart down another year though? All depends if he’ll be used in a more valuable role (starting/closing) next year.

    • @TheNewGuy: Ahh, sorry man… I lose track of the comments from time to time… I’ll try to stay on top of them going forward…

      1. I agree with Grey… Bailey’s value seems better at $8

      2. Sounds like a good plan to keep C-Mart down & bring up the others… Martinez’s role is unclear, while roles are pretty much defined w/ Hamilton & Adams (although, I can see things going south with Hamilton in a hurry if he doesn’t get off to a good start)

  9. Thorbs says:

    Great piece as always…Thoughts on Burch Smith?

    • English says:

      I know I’m not Scott but I absolutely love Burch Smith. He could be a K machine in Petco. Stashed him in 2 leagues already.

    • @Thorbs: Barely missed the list… RP profile, with a chance to start games, so you gotta give him a look… ultimately, though, I left him off due to a pretty low ceiling (although the floor is pretty high) & a likelihood that he’ll be pitching in short stints out of the ‘pen… really was neck&neck w/ Sampson…

  10. goodfold2 says:

    guy just came at me for his mazzoni P NYM (good stats last year, but high strand rate)/guyer OF TB/keppinger (garbage MLB player)/yarbrough MI LAA for my r j alvarez P LAA/lee MI NYY. i’d really rather even have a 3rd round pick next year than keppinger, but are any of those 3 prospects worth trading any of my 2 prospects for? Or really worth much at all? guyer appears to be a 27 year old career AAA guy (with good stats sometimes there), yarbrough appears to hit pretty well for MI but doesn’t appear to have any kind of playing time lock. Lee at least will get steals when he finally gets job and is very good defensively.

      • goodfold2 says:

        @Scott Evans: i’m not, since r j alvarez could very well be high leverage guy or even starter, and lee is almost certainly starter, with steals. but also wondering if any of those opp’s 3 guys are worth trading lesser pieces for. Or could trade one of my guys for 2 of his, if they have decent upside. Don’t know much about long term value of his three guys.

  11. Matt says:

    When Wisler gets called up after JJ gets hurt this summer, what level does he pitch at? top 100? Smyly esque?


    • @Matt: Smyly is a good comp — FB/SL guy, but from the left side… Could see production out of Wisler similar to what Smyly did in ’12… perhaps better considering the ballpark…

  12. Matt says:

    When Wisler gets called up after JJ gets hurt this summer, what level does he pitch at? top 100? Smyly esque?


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