The Padres are probably the closest thing to your home league’s rosterbater. After trading for Craig Kimbrel last season, they’ve already flipped him to Boston. The latter move netted four good prospects, and while San Diego is still not a finished product, there are pieces that could start gelling together in the next year or two. Manuel Margot was the jewel of the Kimbrel return, and he’s a no-brainer to top this farm now. A butterfly flapped its wings in Panama and the fences were moved in, so San Diego trended towards neutral in 2014 after being considered an extreme “pitcher’s park” for a long time. It’s still no hitter’s haven, but the point being you don’t have to run screaming from their hitting specs.
Tier 1: Specs On The Beach
Potential stars. Consensus T100 prospects with premium fantasy ceilings.
Manuel Margot, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 480 PA, .276/.324/.419, 6 HR, 39 SB, 7% BB, 11% K
Margot is the typical center field profile, with speed and defense being the loudest tools. But he can hit, and has enough pop to get to 15 homers as well. That makes him a potential 5-cat roto stuffer hitting at the top of a major league lineup. Even if the power never maxes out, Margot looks like a solid OF3 with OF2 upside. There wasn’t a clear path to playing time in Boston, but that changes in San Diego and there’s a non-zero chance we see him patrolling center later this summer.
Hunter Renfroe, OF | Age: 23 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 558 PA, .272/.321/.462, 20 HR, 5 SB, 7% BB, 24% K
Renfroe’s biggest fantasy draw is his plus power. It comes packaged with a solid average bat and some speed, which raises his floor and makes him more interesting than your sluggers with no chance to pitch in a steal or two. The 23-year-old got his first taste of Triple-A in 2015, and responded by hitting .333 with six homers in 21 games played. He should get a chance in 2016 and right now the ceiling looks like .280 with ~25 homers and a handful of stolen bases.
Tier 2: Floorboreds
Lacking the “star” upside. They might have some warts, but their ETAs are on the horizon.
Travis Jankowski, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 434 PA, .335/.413/.425, 1 HR, 32 SB, 11% BB, 12% K
It should be obvious from the 2015 stat line, but Jankowski basically has zippo power and relies more on contact skills and double-plus speed. I actually dig this profile in deeper formats, because unlike the boom or bust types, at least you know what you’re getting and he’s shown that he can hit and get on base. The problem is that the Padres have a small army of outfield prospects converging on San Diego and only three everyday spots. Jankowski has plus defense working in his favor if and when that logjam eventually goes down.
Rymer Liriano, OF | Age: 24 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats: 549 PA, .292/.383/.460, 14 HR, 18 SB, 12% BB, 24% K
Liriano has been hinting at joining the Padres outfield for a couple of years now, but his extended big league look in 2014 yielded just a homer and a few steals along with a poor .220 average. He spent the entire 2015 polishing his game in Triple-A, and played well. Like Jankowski, Liriano is now going to have to fight for a spot in the San Diego outfield, and even though there’s 20/20 potential, his fate may be that of a fourth outfielder if he’s not traded.
Colin Rea, RHP | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA/MLB
2015 Stats: 101.2 IP, 1.95 ERA, 2.0 BB/9, 7.1 K/9
Rea was stellar in Double-A in 2015 before earning a promotion to Triple-A and eventually San Diego late in the year. There’s mid-rotation upside and his fastball/cutter/curve arsenal should work well enough to stick in the rotation. Heading into 2016, he’d make a solid late-round flyer to fill out a fantasy rotation and deep leaguers should definitely have him scoped. There was a late-season forearm injury scare but the Pads shut him down and he should be good to go this spring.
Alex Dickerson, OF | Age: 25 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AAA
2015 Stats: 519 PA, .307/.374/.503, 12 HR, 4 SB, 9% BB, 18% K
Dickerson is a former first baseman, and most of his value comes from his ability to hit and hit for power from the left side. Both are average or better tools, and if Dickerson can find a fair share of playing time he’d be a worth a look in deep leagues and only formats. He’s pretty much fully cooked at 25 with a full season of Triple-A under his belt.
Jose Rondon, SS | Age: 21 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 371 PA, .267/.320/.359, 3 HR, 18 SB, 7% BB, 14% K
Floorbored is about the perfect term for players like Rondon. You can safely ignore this cat in shallower leagues – even dynasties – since there’s nothing that stands out as particularly helpful. In deeper formats he makes for a safe, boring option to round out a roster since there is a little bit of everything in the profile and a high enough floor to get an everyday look until the higher ceiling specs start arriving.
Fernando Perez, 2B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+
2015 Stats: 492 PA, .224/.291/.352, 10 HR, 1 SB, 8% BB, 23% K
Perez is similar to Rondon in that he doesn’t necessarily stand out in any one area, except he hits for more power and has worse plate discipline. He could be a stopgap at second base for the Pads but more likely ends up as a utility guy long term. He’s had experience at third base as well.
Gabriel Quintana, 3B | Age: 23 | ETA: 2017 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 523 PA, .250/.274/.420, 16 HR, 1 SB, 3% BB, 23% K
Even though there’s a large gap between the walk and strikeout rates, Quintana is a decent enough hitter to get to some of his raw power in games and could give you 15 homers at the hot corner if he reaches his potential. He got a real quick look in Double-A in 2015, where he hit four dingers but also struck out in 33% of his plate appearances. He’ll most likely head back to that level to start this season where he can hopefully make the necessary adjustments against some tougher arms.
Casey Kelly, RHP | Age: 26 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: AA/AAA
2015 Stats: 97.2 IP, 5.16 ERA, 3.6 BB/9, 6.8 K/9
Both Rea and Kelly have a chance at a starting rotation gig in 2016. Kelly just skirted under the eligibility requirements for innings pitched, even though he actually made his big league debut back in 2012. He could also start the year in Triple-A and should be on the radar in deeper formats if the Padres need an arm. He’s kind of a wild card as 2015 was really his first full year back from Tommy John in 2013.
Tier 3: Long Shot Lolitas
Sexy ceilings, but these youngsters also come with risks and distant ETAs.
Ruddy Giron, SS | Age: 18 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 419 PA, .285/.335/.407, 9 HR, 15 SB, 7% BB, 16% K
Giron broke out this season as an 18-year-old shortstop hitting the snot out of the ball in May and June. He cooled off in the second half though, and while it’s fun to hop on board with breakout specs like him, it’s also important to remember that he’s in A-ball and still has a lot of risk attached. If everything clicks, there’s 15/20 potential at short, but it’s a long way off.
Javier Guerra, SS | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 477 PA, .279/.329/.449, 15 HR, 7 SB, 6% BB, 23% K
Guerra was the other “big” piece to come over with Margot in the Kimbrel deal. Given his position and potential, Guerra could be considered just as sexy as Margot. He can hit and also has enough pop to get to 15 dingers…all while easily sticking at shortstop thanks to double-plus defense at the position. His approach will be tested in Double-A, but Guerra is a good spec to put on your watch list. I’d be wary of how highly he ranks on traditional lists, if only because I think a lot of it would come from his defense.
Michael Gettys, OF | Age: 20 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 529 PA, .231/.271/.346, 6 HR, 20 SB, 5% BB, 31% K
Gettys is a good example of the boom or bust type with a huge ceiling to go along with a hole in his bat. The fantasy appeal is easy to spot and he was a sexy dynasty pick in first-year player drafts last year thanks to his power and speed upside. He’ll have to calm down the approach (especially as he reaches the upper levels) and he’s still a few years away.
Austin Smith, RHP | Age: 19 | ETA: 2019 | 2015 Level: Rk
2015 Stats: 17 IP, 7.94 ERA, 4.8 BB/9, 5.8 K/9
The Padres landed Smith at pick 51 in the 2015 draft, making him their first selection. He’s a tall, projectable righty with two above-average pitches in his fastball and curve. The rest of the arsenal will need time to develop, and with only a few innings of pro ball on his resume this isn’t somebody you really need to worry about yet in most leagues.
Franchy Cordero, OF | Age: 21 | ETA: 2018 | 2015 Level: A
2015 Stats: 524 PA, .243/.293/.306, 5 HR, 22 SB, 6% BB, 23% K
Cordero reminds me a little of Dorssys Paulino in Cleveland’s system. He couldn’t really cut it on the dirt, but there’s pop and speed in the profile and a move to left field could allow more of the offensive tools to surface. Cordero is still just 21, so there’s time to figure out where he fits. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t mess with him unless your league rosters a boatload of specs.