As fate intended, the Padres dominated baseball news throughout their week as Razzball’s featured organization, trading SS Luis Urias and LHP Eric Lauer for OF Trent Grisham and RHP Zach Davies before signing LHP Drew Pomeranz. I think it was a pretty great few days for them, cashing out a hyped asset like Urias for a less beloved piece with better floor and topside in Grisham. In doing so, they’ve brought some balance to a righty-heavy lineup and secured an everyday outfielder to lead their island of misfit fly-chasers. They achieved something similar with Pomeranz, adding a burgeoning lefty to a bullpen loaded with the opposite. The move also opens a spot for Ty France, who hit .400 with power and limited strikeouts all season at AAA and has more than earned this opportunity. I even think Davies has sneaky upside in a better park for him. As a bonus, anytime you can move on from a guy named Lauer . . . right?
Anyway, these are not your father’s Padres. Or your older brother’s Padres. Or even last December’s Padres. It’s hard to imagine how last winter’s San Diego fans would have reacted if you showed them today’s depth chart, but I’m guessing they’d be excited. Stay frosty! And stay tuned: there’s likely more moves where these came from!
1. SS C.J. Abrams | 19 | A | 2022
2. LHP MacKenzie Gore | 21 | AA | Mid 2020
In honor of campaign season, I flip-flopped on these two several times. In the end, I realized it’s simple enough just to say I like C.J. Abrams more for a long-term build, but it’s hard to justify ranking him over MacKenzie Gore in a more general sense given that most people would prefer to win now. I also suspect Gore could be cashed out to a wider range of buyers. On the other hand, the runway is shorter for launching a sale like that for Gore than for Abrams. The big league fun balls make fools of us all, and Abrams’ stock is not impacted by the uncertainty in that relatively important area of baseball. I’m not saying Gore isn’t good enough to master the juicy balls—just that it’s hard to wash down the member berries of a rough few months if Gore struggles to adapt, which would probably just mean he’s giving up more home runs than expected.
3. SS Xavier Edwards | 20 | A+ | Late 2021
4. RHP Luis Patiño | 20 | AA | Mid 2020
14th in my Top 25 Prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball, Xavier Edwards appears to lack the ceiling of other names in his stratosphere. His power is theoretical at this point, and his opposite-field-focused approach concedes the fact before his at bats begin. This ranking is okay with that. He probably doesn’t need much power to become a fantasy monster. He can still hit .300 with 40 steals. And he could be more. The cement is still wet here, so to speak. I’d prefer he stay small and focus on speed, but the perfect blend is everyone’s dream, and Weapon X would be truly scary if he started picking spots to sell out for pull power. It’s not about changing a whole approach so much as adding a weapon for the occasional ambush.
Luis Patino is coming up this year if the Padres stay in contention, and whether he’s used in relief or as a starter, I think he’s going to be successful. And I think he’s going to start. And I think it could be early this year. He’s elbowed his way onto my sleeper list for 2020 draft and holds.
5. OF Taylor Trammell | 22 | AA | Early 2021
6. C Luis Campusano | 21 | A+ | 2022
This led to a good discussion in the comments of the Top 75 Prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball.
The crux is I remain skeptical his hit tool will allow the other tools to play in games. Could be a long learning curve with multiple opportunities to buy low if it does come together.
I feel like I have too much to say regarding Luis Campusano. In short, I like him. I also think you should make an offer for Francisco Mejía. He’s gotten better as a receiver and was putting it together at the dish. His price should be low relative to the talent and opportunity. You might want to check in on Tom Murphy, too. Seattle wants to move Narvaez because Murphy was an outstanding pitch-framer last year, on top of the offensive breakthrough.
All that is to say, catchers are tough. Because they have such a Kilimanjaro learning curve in the majors, their offense tends to step back, sometimes for several seasons. I’m not saying Campusano will do that—just that it’s hard to trade catchers for much in dynasty leagues, which puts a pretty hard cap on their value. If a prospect doesn’t have a good path to becoming currency, I tend to avoid.
7. LHP Joey Cantillo | 20 | A+ | Early 2021
8. SS Gabriel Arias | 20 | A+ | 2022
9. 2B Owen Miller | 23 | AA | Late 2020
97th in my Top 100 prospects for 2020 Fantasy Baseball, Joey Cantillo “is a personal favorite after posting a 0.87 WHIP in 98 innings as a 19 year old in the Midwest League. He’s a 6’4” lefty with a high arm slot and a high-spin fastball that’s still adding velocity. I think he’ll outperform the scouting profile all the way along, even as the scouts keep tweaking their grades to keep up with his outcomes.”
Gabriel Arias will be a Sod Poodle at 20. Might spend all year there. Might rake and make AAA by fall. The offensive tools haven’t been loud, but great defenders can take quick leaps with the bat, and Arias might be mid-leap right now.
I think Owen Miller is connected to this recent Urias trade. He’s a sum-of-the-parts, hit-and-glove guy, and those have been outperforming their profile these past few years and especially in juicy-ball world. Perhaps the Pads will sign someone, but I think they’ll try Ty France at 2B for half the year. If France isn’t hitting and Miller is, they’ll make the switch
10. LHP Adrian Morejon | 21 | MLB | Early 2020
I’m not a big fan of Morejon and tried to find someone good enough to bump him, but lefties his age-to-level with solid stuff that plays up in short bursts don’t grow on trees, so I had to keep Morejon in the loop even if I think he’s more likely a reliever than an innings eater.
- SS Yeison Santana | 19 | R | 2024
Is that a 150 wRC+ in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
Wait, that’s my pocket.
Yeison Santana is a smooth-swinger with time on his side, patience at the plate, and a great season at his back. Helium awaits if he finds his rhythm in the Midwest League.