SAN DIEGO -- For the second consecutive season, Fernando Tatis Jr. has earned recognition as the Padres' top prospect. Suffice it to say, there's little chance of a three-peat.Tatis, the No. 2 prospect in baseball, was touted as the organization's best hitting prospect by MLB Pipeline, while right-hander Chris Paddack
SAN DIEGO -- For the second consecutive season, Fernando Tatis Jr. has earned recognition as the Padres' top prospect. Suffice it to say, there's little chance of a three-peat.
Tatis, the No. 2 prospect in baseball, was touted as the organization's best hitting prospect by MLB Pipeline, while right-hander Chris Paddack -- in his return season from Tommy John surgery -- took home the honor as the top pitcher.
Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLB Pipeline staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors and appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list.
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Tatis missed the final month-and-a-half of the Minor League season with a broken bone in his left thumb. He sustained the injury while sliding into second base. It didn't dampen his accomplishments in 2018.
After a bit of a slow start at Double-A San Antonio, Tatis bounced back in a big way. In 88 games, he finished with a .286/.355/.507 slash line with 16 homers.
"He was one of the youngest players in the league," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said following the injury. "We challenged him, and I think he responded to the challenge. In baseball you have to respond to failure. He's shown he can be given a challenge, then come through with flying colors. ... He was able to take his game to a different level."
The Padres viewed Tatis' injury as merely a blip. He's going to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic, and he's going to be in big league camp next spring, when he'll compete for a roster spot. It's doubtful he cracks the Opening Day squad, but he's almost certainly going to arrive in the big leagues during the first half of next season.
As for Paddack, he's eyeing a 2019 arrival as well, after a brilliant '18 campaign between San Antonio and Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. Paddack, who missed the entire '17 season following Tommy John surgery, posted a 2.10 ERA in 90 innings. He recorded an obscene 120 strikeouts to just eight walks.
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Paddack, who came to the Padres for Fernando Rodney at the 2016 Deadline, is expected to be invited to big league camp. It's doubtful he earns a rotation spot, but if he continues his rapid ascension, he isn't too far from a promotion to the big league club.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.