Perhaps no other farm system was struck by the injury bug more often than the Padres in the last year plus, losing Rymer Liriano and Casey Kelly to Tommy John surgery in 2013 and arm issues pushed Max Fried and Burch Smith to the DL for the opening months of the season. It remains to be seen if Trea Turner will hit enough in pro ball.
For a look at the club’s Top 10 Prospects heading into the year click HERE
1. Matt Wisler, RHP, Age: 21
Wisler, with the discreetness of a church mouse, has shot through the Padres’ system, all along the way tiptoeing his way up the prospect charts. Heading into the season I named the 21-year-old right-hander as the tenth best pitching prospect (and 19th overall). He’s struggled through his first go round in Class AAA this year, posting the lowest strikeout rate with the worst control of his career. Front-of-the-rotation-type material, nonetheless.
2. Austin Hedges, C, Age: 21
Widely lauded as one of the top – if not the top – defensive backstop in the minor leagues, Hedges has thrown out a career best 37% of would-be base stealers this season, along with allowing just three passed balls. Offensively, he’s been a bit overmatched at the plate (.242/.287/.368).
3. Max Fried, LHP, Age: 20
Finally back after a wonky elbow forced him to miss the first couple months of the season, I had Fried pegged as one of the breakout prospects in my book, The 2014 Prospect Digest Annual. On the positive side, at least it wasn’t Tommy John surgery.
4. Hunter Renfroe, OF, Age: 22
A popup guy during his junior season, Renfroe has been placed on an expedited development path by the organization. He basically bypassed low Class A, spent 69 games in high Class A and is already nearing 50 plate appearances with San Antonio.
5. Trea Turner, SS, Age: 21
I wasn’t as optimistic as many others about Turner’s professional ceiling, ranking him as the 24th player on my Collegiate Big Board. I still question how the bat plays. Hopefully, it’s better than his initial showing thus far (.205/.313/.265).
6. Rymer Liriano, RF, Age: 22
Back from the Tommy John heap, Liriano is hitting .255/.322/.436 with a career best 13 homeruns. His total production, per Weighted Runs Created Plus, is 18%better than the league average production.
7. Burch Smith, RHP, Age: 24
Smith made a brief 36.1-inning stint in San Diego last season, flashing a low 90s fastball, curveball and changeup. The 24-year-old former 14th round pick headed back to Class AAA this season after a forearm issue forced him to miss the first couple months.
8. Dutin Peterson, 3B, Age: 19
The brother of Mariners’ 2013 top pick D.J. Peterson, Dustin is holding his own in low Class A this year, hitting .269/.320/.423 with 24 doubles, three triples, and eight homeruns. His total production has topped the league average by 9% — a solid showing for a 19-year-old.
9. Casey Kelly, RHP, Age: 24
Finally back after Tommy John surgery, Kelly, the 30th overall pick in 2008, made a quick stop in high Class A and is currently pitching in Class AA. Prior to the surgery, the production never matched the hype. Back of the rotation arm.
10. Michael Gettys, OF, Age: 18
The 51st pick this June, Gettys is an all-around athlete, flashing enough tools to get picked near the front of the draft as a position player as well as a mid- to low-90s fastball on the mound. He’s currently hitting .298/.382/.368 in rookie ball.