After ranking fourth in MLB Pipeline's farm-system rankings a year ago, the San Diego Padres now enter the 2018 season at the top of that list.• MLB's Top 10 farm systems | Padres Top 30 Prospects listThe Padres' No. 1 ranking comes after a season in which outfielders Manuel Margot
After ranking fourth in MLB Pipeline's farm-system rankings a year ago, the San Diego Padres now enter the 2018 season at the top of that list.
• MLB's Top 10 farm systems | Padres Top 30 Prospects list
The Padres' No. 1 ranking comes after a season in which outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, both Top 100 prospects at this time last year, right-hander Dinelson Lamet, infielder Carlos Asuaje and their trio of Rule 5 picks (Allen Cordoba , Miguel Diaz and Luis Torrens) all graduated to the Major Leagues.
:: Team Top 30 Prospects lists ::
Replacing those big names at the top of the list is a cast of even better young, high-ceiling players, including seven Top 100 prospects, six of whom rank in the Top 50.
It's a group headlined by a pair of future stars in shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and left-hander MacKenzie Gore, MLB Pipeline's No. 8 and 19 overall prospects, respectively. Add in sweet-swinging Luis Urias (No. 36) and promising young hurlers like Cal Quantrill (No. 40), Michel Baez (No. 42), Adrian Morejon (No. 50) and Anderson Espinoza (No. 89).
:: Top 10 Farm Systems ::
The Padres have assembled baseball's top farm system through several means. In addition to a series of strong Drafts in recent years that have netted them players such as first-rounders Gore and Quantrill, the Padres have been aggressive in pursuing high-ceiling, teenage players in trades. The Padres have acquired several of their top position players through such deals, trading established big league assets for the likes of Tatis (from the White Sox), Esteury Ruiz (Royals) and Edward Olivares (Blue Jays).
Meanwhile, San Diego's efforts on the international front accounts for one-third of prospects on its new Top 30 and should pay dividends for years to come.
Specifically, the club's robust 2016-17 international spending spree, in which it ultimately shelled out more than $60 million (including penalties for exceeding its bonus pool), has stocked the system with potential impact players and pitchers like Morejon ($11 million), Baez ($3 million), shortstop Gabriel Arias ($1.9), outfielders Jorge Ona ($7 million), Tirso Ornelas ($1.5 million) and Jeisson Rosario ($1.85 million), and infielder Luis Almanzar ($4 million).
And while the Padres are unlikely to receive much help from their farm in the coming year, a host of prospects -- 14, to be exact -- are ticketed to debut in 2019, including Tatis, Quantrill, Baez and Morejon.
Here are the players whose ranks changed the most from the 2017 preseason list to the 2018 preseason list.
Jump: Michel Baez, RHP (2017: NR | 2018: 5)
Fall: Michael Gettys, OF (2017: 13 | 2018: 30)
Players are graded on a 20-80 scouting scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average. Players in parentheses have the same grade.
Hit: 70 -- Luis Urias
Power: 60 -- Fernando Tatis Jr.
Run: 70 -- Franchy Cordero
Arm: 70 -- Michael Gettys (Gabriel Arias)
Defense: 60 -- Gabriel Arias (Michael Gettys)
Fastball: 80 -- Andres Munoz
Curveball: 60 -- MacKenzie Gore (Jacob Nix, Pedro Avila)
Slider: 55 -- MacKenzie Gore (Michel Baez, Trey Wingenter)
Changeup: 65 -- Cal Quantrill (Chris Paddack)
Control: 55 -- MacKenzie Gore (Cal Quantrill, Adrian Morejon, Eric Lauer, Jacob Nix, Chris Paddack)
How they were built
Breakdown by ETA
Breakdown by position
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.