SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' farm system has been the toast of Minor League Baseball for nearly two years now. Believe it or not, that system might actually be getting better.
MLB Pipeline released its preseason ranking of the Top 100 prospects on Saturday night, and the list again skews heavily toward San Diego. The Padres became the first team in the history of the rankings to place 10 prospects on the preseason list.
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Top shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. leads the way at No. 2 overall, with MacKenzie Gore, Luis Urias, Francisco Mejia and Chris Paddack all among the top 34.
Using MLB Pipeline's system of "prospect points," the Padres rank first by a long shot, with a record 574. Prospect points are used to show how well clubs rank in terms of their representation within the Top 100, with each prospect being assigned a value -- 100 for No. 1, 99 for No. 2 and so forth. The Padres' mark of 574 is the most ever recorded on any prospect list -- preseason or midseason.
Here's the full list of the 10 Padres prospects in MLB Pipeline's rankings.
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
15. MacKenzie Gore, LHP
23. Luis Urias, 2B
26. Francisco Mejia, C
34. Chris Paddack, RHP
48. Luis Patino, RHP
49. Adrian Morejon, LHP
72. Michel Baez, RHP
74. Logan Allen, LHP
93. Ryan Weathers, LHP
That group represents a fairly even mix between the different levels of the Padres' system. Five of those youngsters -- Tatis, Urias, Mejia, Paddack and Allen -- will be in big league camp competing for jobs. Both Urias and Mejia are favorites for the Opening Day roster at this point. Tatis, the presumed shortstop of the future in San Diego, is expected to arrive in the first half of the season.
But the strength of the Padres' system lies in its depth. And at the lower levels, that depth is heavily skewed toward pitching.
Gore, Morejon, Allen and Weathers all rank among MLB Pipeline's Top 10 left-handers. They became the first quartet from a single team to finish in the top 10 rankings at any position.
The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. Only players with rookie status entering the 2019 season are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 25 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Over the next month, MLB Pipeline will unveil its rankings of the top overall farm systems (which is different from the prospects points ranking, given that it takes a team's entire crop of prospects into account). The Padres are early favorites to lead the way for a third time in a row.