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Tatis atop Padres' prospect-heavy NRI list

No. 2 overall prospect homered in Cactus League debut last spring
January 24, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- A loaded group of prospects will report to Padres camp next month, and MLB Pipeline's top-rated shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr., is the headliner once again.San Diego announced a list of 21 non-roster invites to big league Spring Training on Thursday morning. It's overflowing with highly regarded young

SAN DIEGO -- A loaded group of prospects will report to Padres camp next month, and MLB Pipeline's top-rated shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr., is the headliner once again.
San Diego announced a list of 21 non-roster invites to big league Spring Training on Thursday morning. It's overflowing with highly regarded young talent. Lefty Logan Allen, righty Cal Quantrill, center fielder Buddy Reed, third baseman Hudson Potts and first baseman Josh Naylor all joined Tatis in earning invites.
Eight more of the team's top 30 prospects are already part of the 40-man roster. In fact, Padres camp will feature five of MLB Pipeline's top 100 prospects overall -- Tatis (No. 2), Francisco Mejia (No. 26), Luis Urias (No. 27), Chris Paddack (No. 35) and Allen (No. 76).
No doubt, the 20-year-old Tatis will garner the bulk of the fanfare (as he did a season ago, when he swatted an opposite-field homer in his first Cactus League at-bat).
He's presumed to be the Padres' shortstop of the future, and he batted .286/.355/.507 at Double-A last season before missing the final two months with a broken bone in his left thumb. Clearly, Tatis has regained full health, as he helped lead Estrellas de Oriente to a Dominican Winter League crown this week.
It remains unlikely that Tatis will crack the Opening Day roster. He's only played a few months in Double-A, and there are service-time concerns surrounding an early-season debut. But he's practically a lock to be promoted to the big league club in the first half of the season, barring injury.

Here's the full list of non-roster invites, with a breakdown at each position:
Pitchers: Allen, David Bednar, Ryan Bollinger, Dietrich Enns, Tyler Higgins, Jerry Keel, Kazuhisa Makita, Nick Margevicius, Kyle McGrath, Quantrill, Jesse Scholtens, Eric Stout, Carlos Torres, T.J. Weir, Eric Yardley
In each of the past two seasons a non-roster reliever has cracked the Opening Day roster and instantly become a pivotal late-innings option. Craig Stammen did so in 2017, and Adam Cimber followed suit in '18. The Padres' current big league bullpen is already deep. But McGrath and Weir posted impressive numbers at the upper levels of the Minors last season. Torres, a 36-year-old right-hander, is a nine-year veteran looking for a bounce-back season after struggling for Washington last year.
Catchers:Chris Stewart, Webster Rivas
The Padres still might add another depth piece behind the plate. Stewart brings a wealth of experience, having split 12 big league seasons among eight teams. But he struggled mightily in the Braves' system last year, posting a .576 OPS at Triple-A, before a brief September stint in Arizona. With Austin Hedges, Mejia and Austin Allen already in camp, it's hard to envision any non-roster catchers making a case for playing time.
Infielders:Allen Craig, Seth Mejias-Brean, Naylor, Potts, Jesus Quiroz, Aderlin Rodriguez, Tatis, Jason Vosler
If there's one spot where a non-roster player is most likely to break camp with the big league club, it's in the infield. Eric Hosmer, Ian Kinsler and (probably) Urias all have roster spots. After that, it's wide open. Keep an eye on Quiroz, whom the Padres acquired in a deal for righty reliever Colten Brewer this offseason. Quiroz spent seven seasons in the Mexican League before joining the Red Sox organization last year. He's played second, third and short, and he's reached base at an elite clip everywhere he's played -- a trait the Padres sorely lack.
Outfielders:Alex Dickerson, Boog Powell, Reed, Jacob Scavuzzo
Along with Naylor, Reed is among the most interesting prospects in camp, mostly because the club is eager to see how they fare against big league opposition. Still, they're both destined to open the season in the Minors. The Padres have a six-man logjam at the Major League level, and it's hard to envision any of these invites supplanting them for playing time. Still, the front office was happy to retain Dickerson, who broke out in 2016, but missed the '17 and '18 seasons after elbow and back surgeries.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.