San Diego Padres Top 5 Prospects Post-Trade Deadlineby John Lepore August 29, 2021 2 comments
The San Diego Padres have made a plethora of trades since A.J. Preller took over as General Manager a little over seven years ago. He came in guns blazing and revamped the team in the hopes of contending immediately acquiring players like Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Craig Kimbrel before the 2015 season. It didn’t work quite as planned and by the trade deadline that year Preller was selling.
Preller made his defining trade in 2016 when he moved James Shields to the Chicago White Sox for a 17-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. San Diego later traded for younger stars such as Blake Snell, Jake Cronenworth, and Trent Grisham. Of course, many of these deals cost the Padres some good prospects such as Xavier Edwards, Luis Patino, and Hudson Head. They still have a few guys in their system that could make a mark with the big club. Let’s take a look at those players.
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CJ Abrams SS
Abrams was the sixth overall pick in 2019. He made an immediate impression winning the Arizona League MVP while batting .401 with 14 stolen bases and 21 extra-base hits in just 32 games. After working at the Padres’ alternate site last year, Abrams was off to a great start beginning the season with Double-A San Antonio. The Georgia native was slashing .296/.363/.420 with a couple of homers and 13 steals before his season was abruptly ended in June after a collision at second base. Abrams fractured his tibia and sprained his MCL but is hoping to be back to participate in the Arizona Fall League.
The 20-year-old’s main attribute is his speed which is elite. With his exceptional wheels, Abrams not only puts pressure on infielders to rush throws, but he also has excellent range at shortstop. Although he has played a little second base in the minors, San Diego believes he will stick at short. Abrams barrels the ball well and has very good pitch recognition striking out less than 20 percent of the time at Double-A this season. Although his power has not shown up in games yet, the Padres believe he will be above average in that department once he fills out his 6-foot-2 frame a bit more.
Another Georgia native, Campusano was the first catcher selected in the 2017 draft (39th overall). He has hit at every stop in the minors even winning co-MVP honors in the California League in 2019. He came up for one game in September last year and blasted his first MLB HR. Unfortunately, Campusano suffered a wrist injury that ended his season. This year he started the year with the Padres, but he went 3-for-34 and was sent to Triple-A El Paso after just 11 games. He has hit well there slashing .290/.363/.517 with 13 homers and has kept his strikeout rate acceptable at 25 percent.
Campusano generates good power to all fields with his natural physical strength along with good leverage at the plate. While solid plate discipline and the ability to make hard contact are his bread and butter, the 22-year-old is also a good defender behind the plate. He has a strong, accurate arm to go along with improvements at blocking and receiving. He has a catcher’s physique at 5-foot-11 and 230 pounds, which allows him to be more agile than most. There’s no question that Campusano is the Padres’ catcher of the future.
Hassell has been one of San Diego’s best minor league players this season. He was drafted eighth overall last year and was the first High School player selected. The centerfielder recently turned 20 and is currently slashing .323/.415/.482 with 31 doubles and 31 steals at Lake Elsinore. While scouts believed in his bat initially, there were questions about his speed, power, and ability to stick in centerfield.
Hassell is answering those questions emphatically. While he isn’t a flat-out burner like some other prospects, he is a smart runner and a plus runner once he gets his 6-foot-2 body moving. He is aggressive on the bases and can also track down balls in the gap when manning centerfield. Also blessed with an excellent arm – he was throwing 93 off the mound in High School – Hassell can be an above-average defender up the middle and a potential Gold Glove winner at a corner spot. This kid will be a five-tool player if he can get to his power in-game and keep the strikeouts to a minimum.
MacKenzie Gore LHP
Gore has dominated in the lower levels of the minors since being drafted in 2017 third overall. His stops in Double-A and Triple-A haven’t been quite as good. His repertoire is very good as all four of his pitches grade as at least above average. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been consistent overall with his command. While he still gets plenty of swings and misses, Gore has struggled with walks and home runs at the upper levels.
His stuff is still excellent starting with a mid-90s fastball that seems to have a little giddyup when it approaches the strike zone. He throws a biting slider that keeps righties from looking out over the plate. Gore also has a very good changeup with some sink to it and a curveball that has lagged behind his other offerings but is still a different look for hitters. If he can trust his stuff and learn how to tunnel and sequence better, Gore has the potential of a top-of-the-rotation arm in the big leagues.
James Wood OF
Wood was selected in the second round this year out of IMG Academy. The 6-foot-7 outfielder certainly has the physical gifts to become a star. He has power, speed, and an excellent arm. So far this season in his first taste of pro ball, Wood has played well. While his power hasn’t shown up in games yet with only one homer in 19 games, he has slashed .323/.417/.419. The big left-handed slugger is a work in progress. He will need to cut down on his strikeouts and develop his pitch recognition to succeed at the higher levels. If he does that, he could certainly move up the ranks quickly. Check out our complete draft profile here.
What Does the Future Hold?
The Padres are in win-now mode as they should be. They have a ton of talent on the major league roster and they are young enough to compete for the NL West for years to come. There is a lot of potential with their prospects but a few are very high-ceiling, low-floor players. An outfielder in their system to keep an eye on is Joshua Mears. He has 17 homers and 10 steals in 67 games at Lake Elsinore this season. Just 20 years old, Mears has played well but needs to clean up the swing-and-miss in his game as he has struck out 103 times in 275 plate appearances.
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