Top Baseball Prospects for 2013 and Beyond
Now updated for 2013's Top Prospects
Scouting Book's Top Prospects list is a Combined List, a calculated summary of the overall valuations of the entire prospect universe.
Remember: this page is the result of an automatic process that re-sorts and re-ranks players often.
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Top Padres Prospects for 2013
Current Overall SB ranking shown in grid below.
Drafted by the Padres after winning the 2010 Brooks Wallace Award as the best shortstop in NCAA Division I, Jedd Gyorko has always been officially regarded as a third basemen by the organization, despite his smallish stature and better suitability for second. Of course, his bat has been nothing small since joining the Friars: In a season spent mainly in the AAA parking lot, Gyorko smashed a .328/.380/.588 line that included 24 dingers and another 24 doubles, numbers which should translate pretty well to gap-friendly Petco. With numbers like that, the Padres won't mind if they have to fudge his height in the official program. He's ready right now, but the usual contract gerrymandering might delay his MLB debut until June.
Full Scouting Report for Jedd Gyorko
SB 44 BA 71 SC 51 BP 84 SN ES 70 ML 50
A quality lefthander who looks close to MLB ready, San Diego pitcher Max Fried should see Petco sooner rather than later. Fried's fastball doesn't exceed 92mph very often, though he can add a bit more when he really needs it and gets more outs thanks to its sinking nature than its velocity, anyway. His cutter and change are average pitches already, and should be better than average by the time he's anchored into the Padre rotation.
Full Scouting Report for Max Fried
SB 81 BA 46 SC 68 BP 61 SN ES 51 ML 53
The number one catching prospect in the system until Yasmani Grandal came to town, Austin Hedges is still a top prospect with a very high ceiling. Not quite as ready for the majors as Grandal was, Hedges is still barely out of high school. But he's valid: long-seen as a strong-armed defensive catcher, he slashed an unexpectedly-solid .279/.334/.451 in 96 A-level games in 2012, propelling him into the 'complete catcher' category. He's still a couple of years away.
Full Scouting Report for Austin Hedges
SB 117 BA 58 SC BP 19 SN ES 36 ML 73
The Topps Player of the Year for the (A-level) Midwest League in 2011, outfielder Rymer Liriano is a five-tool talent on the fast-track to major league duty in San Diego. His 2012 numbers (.251/.335/.377) might look inferior to his track record, but it was the youngster's first crack at AA, so it's actually pretty impressive. The Dominican native's award-winning minor league career is a tantalizing showcase of speed and power, just the thing the Padres could use at the top of the order. If he lights up AA pitching this spring, he could be in the majors by midseason. If not, he's still a near-lock for the 2014 lineup.
Full Scouting Report for Rymer Liriano
SB 131 BA SC 44 BP 39 SN ES 54 ML 55
Originally drafted by the Rangers, Righthander Joe Wieland is today a premium Padres pitching prospect with his sights set squarely on San Diego. A tall and thin kid with easy gas, Wieland works comfortably at 90-94mph, spiced with a genuine plus curve. Even his change shows above-average flash.
With exceptionally good command and control, he brought all that quality stuff to bear in 2012, making six starts for the Padres and posting a veteran-looking 1.27 WHIP and 24:9 strikeout to walk ratio. A fly-ball/strikeout pitcher, he should improve further in 2013 and fit perfectly into San Diego's style of play, not to mention that ballpark. If he's not in the rotation to open 2013, he will be by the end of the season.
Full Scouting Report for Joe Wieland
SB 139 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A smallish lefty drafted in 2009's third round and traded to San Diego in mid-2011, Robbie Erlin has risen very quickly through the farm system and could even get to the majors as early as 2013. Working through three levels of play in 2011, Erlin did the bulk of his work at AA Frisco after outclassing A hitters in the Carolina League. His 2012 numbers (2.82, 1.25, 80:16), racked up mainly at AA San Antonio, are so good that he might get an opportunity in San Diego this season. If he's among the Texas League's better starters by midseason, which is quite possible, expect to see him in San Diego by the second half.
Full Scouting Report for Robbie Erlin
SB 151 BA SC BP SN ES ML
With one of the fastest home-to-first sprints since Ichiro and an OBP over .400 in his first season of pro ball, Padres prospect Cory Spangenberg is already looking very capable of sitting atop a San Diego batting order very soon. The versatile infielder played third base in college but will almost certainly be a second baseman in San Diego. He's still a bit rough around the edges, so give him a year to push his way into AA ball before you start expecting him to crack the Padres' everyday roster.
Full Scouting Report for Cory Spangenberg
SB 156 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Casey Kelly is big, strong pitcher who came to San Diego from Boston in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Young Kelly is already 6-3 and 200lbs, with more size and strength to come as he fills out.
He took an uncomfortable step backwards with the Red Sox back in 2010, which probably precipitated their sudden willingness to part with the once-untouchable asset, but his stuff is still there, just waiting for his ability to catch up: Kelly's fastball was rated the best heatuh in the Red Sox system in 2010. And so was his curve. And so was his changeup. Put all that together with his plus control, and it seems pretty clear we're looking at a possible Padres success story. Like any pitching prospect, he needs luck on his side to stay healthy, and if he gets that, he'll be a solid number two or three starter, and maybe even a future ace.
Full Scouting Report for Casey Kelly
SB 180 BA 45 SC 75 BP 77 SN ES 60 ML
A tall, thin pitcher being developed in the Padres system, Ohio native Matt Wisler looks every bit a future rotation anchor. In 23 A-ball starts last season, Wisler struck out almost exactly one batter per inning while walking barely more than one per game. That's exactly the sort of performance that the control-obsessed Padres love to see, and it should grant Wisler a promotion for 2013.
Wisler works a couple of different low-90's fastballs with accuracy to both sides of the plate, but it's his slow curve that turns heads and misses bats most often. How he'll perform against better opponents is an open question, but if he continues his careful, clever approach while trusting his stuff, he should succeed. Give him another couple of years to build up some confidence, and he could be pitching in MLB.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Wisler
SB 190 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A tall and thin righthander from Oakland, Joe Ross was the 25th overall draft selection in 2011, taken by the San Diego Padres. Reports on Ross are uniform in noting that his fastball and curve project to be major league average (that's good) while his change needs a great deal of work (that's bad, but not unusual for a youngster like Ross). Given the good pitching climate and coaching staff in the Padre system, Ross ranks a bit higher than he would elsewhere.
Full Scouting Report for Joe Ross
SB 191 BA SC BP SN ES 88 ML
A big-bodied righthander from Orlando, Padres pitching prospect Walker (sic) Weickel was the 55th player selected overall in the 2012 draft. The 94mph he's already reaching with his fastball will increase as he fills out, and the good cut and sink he can add make him look ready to be a dominant reliever very soon. Of course, he's durable-looking and armed with a quality curveball, too, so he'll be given every possible opportunity to succeed as a starter long before it comes to that, especially given the wealth of hot relief arms in the Padre system.
Full Scouting Report for Walker Weickel
SB 263 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Adys (or, sometimes, Adis) Portillo is a hard-throwing right-hander who shows more polish than most Venezuelan prospects. Portillo exhibits a dominating mound presence and great composure, featuring a moving fastball that tops out at about 94mph. It's the raw stuff he wields with three possible plus pitches, though, that puts him into the upper ranks of pitching prodigies.
Full Scouting Report for Adys Portillo
SB 287 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A Padre prospect with the nastiest sinker-slider combo in the minors, righthander Donn Roach can also toss a borderline curve just often enough to infuriate free swingers. Jumping across two levels of play in 2012, Roach combined for a ground-ball heavy 1.88 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 105 innings of work as a starter. He looks like an innings-eating ground ball machine who should be ready in mid-2014, though the team could use him sooner than that. He'll idle and polish his third pitch in AA this season.
Full Scouting Report for Donn Roach
SB 323 BA SC BP SN ES ML
By most measures, he's the least of the three prospects the Padres landed for Mat Latos, but USC righthander Brad Boxberger is still no slouch. The 43rd player selected in the 2009 draft is a strong, stout pitcher who projects as a middle-of-rotation arm for the Padres in the near future, thanks to his pro-level collection of above-average pitches and his ability to survive under pressure. He works with a 92-94mph fastball that he'll work in on hitters quite fearlessly, and he complements it with a decent-and-improving curve. Most interestingly, though, he features a nifty sinking change that could be a real strikeout pitch for him once he learns to command it a bit more consistently.
Full Scouting Report for Brad Boxberger
SB 340 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A big righthander drafted in 2009's fourth round, San Diego's Keyvius Sampson looked pretty darn fine in his first season of A-ball back in 2011, going 12-3, 2.90, 1.10 across 24 starts. He struck out 143 batters, three times as many as he walked, with a K/9 rate near 11. He slid somewhat in 2012, though to be fair, a lot of pitchers find humility in their first trip to the Texas League. Sampson's control still needs work, but there's not much else to complain about here: he has guile, mound presence, confidence and calm when dealing his 94mph fastball (with movement), hammerish curve and even his newest pitch: a fading change with plenty of sink. Issues with recurring elbow soreness seem to be in his past, but note:
seem to be.
Full Scouting Report for Keyvius Sampson
SB 346 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A prep pitcher who some expected to go in the first round after improving his stuff immensely in 2011, Floridian righthander Zach Eflin almost did just that, winding up as the second pick of the compensation round in 2012. Eflin's fastball is a 95mph dart with late life that he throws from a high arm slot for maximum effect, while his curve looks remarkably well-developed for such a young player. His change, as with so many young pitchers, is still a work in progress, but scouts rave about Eflin's work ethic and commitment to improve, two things we love to see here at Scouting Book.
Full Scouting Report for Zach Eflin
SB 412 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A smallish closer candidate in the Padres minor league system, U Missouri alum Matt Stites ran his high-90's fastball right through the Midwest League in 2012, posting this insane performance line that contains no typographical errors: 50 innings, 0.74 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, 60 strikeouts and (wait for it) 3 walks.
Stites complements his heat with a 'changeup' that still clocks in the high 80's and a breaking ball that's either a 12-7 slider or a hard curve, depending on your school of thought. Either way, it's devastating when it comes in unannounced. Despite his smallish stature, Stites has all the confidence and swagger you expect from a quality relief pitcher. He's shown no fear of any hitter, at least not yet. As the top relief prospect in the Padres system, and with all due respect to the outstanding Huston Street, it wouldn't be a shock to see Stites closing games by the end of 2014.
Full Scouting Report for Matt Stites
SB 497 BA SC BP SN ES ML
The number one son of Moss Bluff, Louisiana, San Diego's Jace Petersen is one of the organization's most promising middle-infielders. A raw, often unpolished prospect, Jace the Face nonetheless looks like a natural ballplayer. Peterson carries his athletic ability with natural grace, looking like nothing as much as a bundle of potential. His plus bat speed and first-step hustle look awfully good on film, and he looked very good handling A-ball pitching last year. Of course, AA is the real test for most prospects. Peterson should get there by the end of the year.
Full Scouting Report for Jace Peterson
SB 516 BA SC BP SN ES ML
A top third base / outfield prospect in the Padres system, James (JD) Darnell is a well-rounded hitter who has more than just corner pop. Darnell also boasts real doubles hustle and good baserunning skills, despite raw speed that's only average. His fielding is a work in progress for now, and it's possible that his training may be cut short with a move across the diamond to first base in the future, but at present he looks like a good long-term value for the Padres, and his work in the minors will continue to focus on fielding drills and defense while he competes for an MLB job that he's almost qualified for already.
Full Scouting Report for James Darnell
SB 628 BA SC BP SN ES ML
Speed and defense play well in Petco, and Padre prospect Travis Jankowski seems pretty much built to succeed there. A patient and smart hitter with good line drive stroke to all fields, he's also extremely adept at using his fringe-plus speed on the bases, where he shows advanced instincts and smarts. He looks like a leadoff hitter in pretty much every way teams usually covey, though he could also excel in the two hole.
Full Scouting Report for Travis Jankowski
SB 635 BA SC BP SN ES ML