SAN DIEGO -- Perhaps best known for its depth, the Padres' farm system is beginning to receive accolades for its talent at the top as well.MLBPipeline.com unveiled its midseason prospect rankings on Tuesday, and six Padres are ranked among the Top 100 overall, tied for the fourth-most in baseball.Atop that
SAN DIEGO -- Perhaps best known for its depth, the Padres' farm system is beginning to receive accolades for its talent at the top as well.
MLBPipeline.com unveiled its midseason prospect rankings on Tuesday, and six Padres are ranked among the Top 100 overall, tied for the fourth-most in baseball.
Atop that list, unsurprisingly, is left-hander MacKenzie Gore, the No. 3 pick in June's Draft. Gore, who checks in at No. 29 overall, is off to a blazing start to his pro career. He's faced 16 batters across two scoreless starts, and he's struck out eight of them. Only three hitters have reached against Gore -- via two singles and a walk -- and he's cut down two of them with his pickoff move.
• Midseason Top 100 Prospects list | Padres' Top 30
Cal Quantrill, the Padres' top Draft pick in 2016, follows Gore at No. 43 overall. Luis Urias (55), Fernando Tatis Jr. (59), Anderson Espinoza (62) and Adrian Morejon (82) round out the six Padres among the top 100. That group is worth 276 "prospect points," good for fourth place, behind only the Braves, White Sox and Rays. (Prospect points tally each player among the top 100 differently. The top ranked player is worth 100, second is worth 99, and so forth.)
Morejon offers the most telling story of the rise of the Padres' system. He's vaulted himself into the top 100 this year. And yet, in the San Diego system, he actually dropped a spot from from No. 5 to No. 6 -- the result of fast-risers like Urias and Tatis.
The Padres acquired Tatis 13 months ago in the trade that sent James Shields to the White Sox. At the time, the 17-year-old Tatis wasn't even ranked in Chicago's system. A season later, Padres talent evaluators have been vindicated. Tatis is among the game's top shortstop prospects, and he's launched 17 homers with an .873 OPS for Class A Fort Wayne -- despite being one of the league's youngest players.
Michel Baez, Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi and Josh Naylor round out the Padres' top 10. Baez is the biggest mover of the bunch. He went from unranked in the Padres system to the cusp of the top 100 in all of baseball.
It's easy to see why. In four outings for Fort Wayne, Baez has 33 strikeouts over 23 innings, allowing just two runs and 10 hits.
Other noteworthy additions to the top prospects list include a quartet of 2017 Draft picks. Luis Campusano, a versatile and well-rounded catcher selected at No. 39 overall, checks in No. 16 in the Padres' system. Outfielder Mason House (No. 24), catcher Blake Hunt (No. 26) and right-hander Sam Keating (No. 30) also jump into the Padres' rankings, a month after being selected.
The ranking of baseball's top prospects is done by MLBPipeline.com 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 are eligible for the list. Players who were at least 23 years old when they signed and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.