PEORIA, Ariz. -- Whether it was the Draft, International signing period or the trade deadline, the Padres acquired a plethora of young talent throughout the year. A large contingent of that talent has now gathered at the team's facilities for instructional league play, and after looking around the room, team
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Whether it was the Draft, International signing period or the trade deadline, the Padres acquired a plethora of young talent throughout the year. A large contingent of that talent has now gathered at the team's facilities for instructional league play, and after looking around the room, team officials are excited for the future.
"The biggest part of [instructs], honestly, is to get this group together, because we are quite confident that it's from this group that we are going to have really, really successful and talented Padres teams of the future," Director of player development Sam Geaney said.
The Padres have 19 of their top 30 prospects in Arizona for instructs, including each of the club's top three pitching prospects -- Anderson Espinoza, Cal Quantrill and Adrian Morejon.
• Padres' Top 30 Prospects list
Espinoza, the Padres' top prospect, was acquired on July 14 in the trade that sent Drew Pomeranz to Boston.
Padres Top 30 Prospects at instructs
The 18-year-old has grown into his frame since the Red Sox signed him in 2014, and the Padres are thrilled to have the 6-foot-1, 160-pound right-hander.
"He's grown a couple inches and he's probably 30 pounds stronger than he was," Geaney said of the No. 14 overall prospect. "Really the thing that kind of jumps out is the overall athleticism in his delivery and how easy his arm works. It's one of the easiest upper-90's fastballs you'll ever run across."
Espinoza threw a career-high 108 1/3 innings during the 2016 season and was admittedly "a little worn down, more mentally than physically," toward the end. However, the Padres are cognizant of the workload, and rather than add more innings to his arm in instructs, Espinoza is simply there to make some minor adjustments.
"The main thing is my mechanics," Espinoza said. "There were some small things in my mechanics that came up last year that I'm trying to fine-tune and work on this year. I'm just continuing to develop the little things."
While Espinoza was the club's big splash at the trade deadline, Morejon was the headliner of their international class.
The Padres shelled out $11 million for the young lefty, and although he hasn't pitched in any official games, the club has been pleased with what they've seen so far.
Morejon, regarded as the Padres' No. 6 prospect and the No. 2 international prospect, boasts three top pitches, including a fastball that has already been clocked in the mid-90's.
"I don't think we had any expectations of what he'd look like," Geaney said. "But for a 17-year-old left-handed pitcher, myself and a lot of us with a scouting background think he rivals any young left-handed pitcher we've seen. From the stuff you see, the way it comes out, the delivery, poise, he pretty much checks all the boxes."
Quantrill adding innings
Quantrill, the Padres' No. 5 prospect, was limited to 12 appearances and 37 innings in his professional debut as the right-hander was working his way back from Tommy John surgery.
"I think that was good to get him some mound time and hopefully prepare him for a healthy, significant season next year," Geaney said.
Now that Quantrill, the Padres' first-round selection in 2016, is back to feeling 100 percent, he wants to get rid of some of the kinks in his delivery.
"I've done a lot of one-on-one work, picked up a couple of things in my delivery," Quantrill said. "When you're so focused on coming back from an injury, you skip over some things. This have been a good chance to work on those things and still try to compete at the same time."
Quantrill grew up around the game. His father, Paul Quantrill, posted a 3.83 ERA across 14 Major League seasons, and although the grind of rehab and life in the Minors can be mentally exhausting, the younger Quantrill is embracing the lifestyle and learning from his father.
"The thing I learned from him mostly is that we get to play a kids' game, so make the most of it -- don't be in such a hurry to become a big leaguer that you're not taking advantage of the experience in the Minor Leagues," Quantrill said. "I'm trying to take that approach and I've enjoyed every second so far."
Inaugural Padres Futures Game
Many of the Friars' top prospects are wrapping up their stint at instructs on a high note with a trip to San Diego to participate in a first-of-its-kind Padres Futures Game at Petco Park, where they'll square off with top Rangers youngsters on Friday night. First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m. PT. The game is open to the public and will be free for season-ticket holders and a $5 donation to the Padres Foundation for other fans.
Nineteen of the Padres' Top 30 Prospects, and six of the top 10, are listed on the roster. Those six are Espinoza (No. 1), first baseman Josh Naylor (No. 4), right-hander Quantrill (No. 5), left-hander Morejon (No. 6), shortstop Javier Guerra (No. 7) and left-hander Eric Lauer (No. 9).
William Boor is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor.