Tatis tops list of 7 Friars in MLB's Top 100

Gore, Urias, Quantrill, Baez, Morejon, Espinoza also ranked as best prospects

January 27th, 2018

SAN DIEGO -- Best farm system in baseball? The Padres once again find themselves squarely in the discussion -- if not at the forefront.
MLB Pipeline unveiled its Top 100 Prospects list Saturday, with seven Padres among the group. Six checked in among the top 50, easily the most of any club.
:: Complete 2018 Top Prospects coverage ::
Headlining the San Diego contingent is shortstop , who jumped 44 spots and is ranked No. 8 overall and No. 2 among shortstops. He's followed by left-hander MacKenzie Gore (No. 19), second baseman (No. 36), right-handers (No. 40) and Michel Baez (No. 42), lefty Adrian Morejon (No. 50) and righty Anderson Espinoza (No. 89).
Those seven players combined to give San Diego 423 prospect points according to MLB Pipeline. That's the best total of any club, 16 points ahead of Atlanta -- the only organization with more prospects (8) on the overall list. (For basic reference, prospect points show how each club fares in its representation on the Top 100 list, with each prospect assigned a value. The No. 1 player receives 100, No. 2 receives 99, and so forth.)
MLB Pipeline's 2018 Top 100 Prospects list
The annual ranking of MLB's Top 100 prospects is assembled by MLB Pipeline Draft and prospect experts Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo 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 2018 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.

The current strength of the Padres' prospect group is a testament to A.J. Preller's coup in talent acquisition over the past 18 months. The Padres' general manager has used three avenues to revamp a once-depleted farm system in San Diego: trades, international signings and the Draft.
Tatis and Espinoza joined the club during the 2016 season via trade (Tatis from the White Sox for and Espinoza from the Red Sox for ). Morejon and Baez were part of the club's unprecedented investment in the international market during the '16-17 signing period. Quantrill and Gore were the club's top selections in each of the past two Drafts. Only Urias was with the organization prior to June '16.

Among the group, Urias and Quantrill are closest to big league readiness. Both received invites to Major League Spring Training, and both could earn their way to a midseason callup this year. Urias, ranked as the game's No. 2 second-base prospect, slashed .296/.398/.380 for Double-A San Antonio last season. Quantrill, meanwhile, split time between San Antonio and Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, posting a 3.80 ERA.
Tatis also received an invite to Major League camp, though he'll probably only spend a few weeks there before moving to Minor League camp. Tatis has skyrocketed up the prospect leaderboards since joining the Padres in 2016. He slashed .281/.390/.520 while setting a franchise record with 21 homers for Class A Fort Wayne before a late-season promotion to San Antonio.

A pair of 18-year-olds in Gore and Morejon also ranked among the top 10 at their position. Gore was rated the top lefty pitching prospect, while Morejon finished sixth. Baez, a hard-throwing 22-year-old righty, joins that duo in the lower levels of the system.
If all goes according to plan, the Padres have the makings of a formidable rotation on the horizon. In the near future, current big leaguers and will be joined by upper-level prospects like Quantrill, and Joey Lucchesi.

The organization's goal is to add a few more elite arms -- namely Gore, Baez and Morejon --into the mix shortly after. Preller often speaks of bringing "waves of talent" to San Diego, where one group of youngsters is complemented by the next. The club's long-term rotation plan is Exhibit A.

The biggest question mark of the group is the 89th-ranked Espinoza, who underwent Tommy John surgery in July and missed the 2017 season. He fell 64 spots from last year's preseason rankings but the Padres remain bullish on Espinoza's potential. At 19, he has time to bounce back.
The Padres' system certainly has. In a big way.