SAN DIEGO -- Padres general manager A.J. Preller has spent the past two years building depth in his Minor League system. It seemed to pay off Saturday night, when San Diego's Minor Leaguers downed the Rangers' prospects, 5-2, in the Padres On Deck Game at Petco Park in their instructional
SAN DIEGO -- Padres general manager A.J. Preller has spent the past two years building depth in his Minor League system. It seemed to pay off Saturday night, when San Diego's Minor Leaguers downed the Rangers' prospects, 5-2, in the Padres On Deck Game at Petco Park in their instructional league finale.
Although MacKenzie Gore, San Diego's No. 1 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, was shut down because of an innings limit, there was still plenty of talent on display at Petco Park, some of it which could be promoted to the big league club as soon as the late in the 2018 season.
• Padres Top 30 Prospects list
Here's a look at the top five Padres performers from Saturday's game.
Fernando Tatis Jr., shortstop/third baseman, No. 4 prospect
Tatis was clearly the star of the game. Acquired from the White Sox in the James Shields deal, Tatis went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored. He also started a double play as a shortstop and one as a third baseman.
Tatis, 18, posted a 20-20 season for Class A Fort Wayne, setting a franchise record for home runs, before jumping to Double-A. MLBPipeline's No. 51 prospect, Tatis said he doesn't feel pressure as he continues to rise up prospect rankings.
"Honestly, I'm not worried," Tatis said. "That concentrates me more and pushes me to work even harder because people are expecting a lot from me, so I've got to bring it even more."
Jacob Nix, right-hander, No. 15 prospect
Nix started the game for the Padres, going three innings and allowing one run. Nix spent the season at Double-A before receiving one Triple-A postseason start.
San Diego's third-round pick in 2015, Nix didn't make too much of the opportunity to pitch at Petco, calling it "just another start." But the 21-year-old made the most of it.
"Hopefully, it'll get me ready for pitching here in the future," Nix said.
Michel Baez, right-hander, No. 7 prospect
Baez's 2017 performance shot him up San Diego's prospect rankings. He had a 2.54 ERA in 11 starts, striking out 89 in 63 2/3 innings.
Baez brought that same excellence to Petco Park. Across three innings, the 21-year-old allowed four hits and one run while striking out three. Tatis, who spent most of the year with Baez in Fort Wayne, compared watching the right-hander to watching Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez.
"Baez had done incredible things this year," said Tatis, who spent most of the season with Baez in Fort Wayne. "I feel like I was seeing something special, something like Pedro."
Adrian Morejon, left-hander, No. 5 prospect
Morejon followed Nix and pitched dominantly, striking out four in two scoreless innings and allowing only one hit.
Like Tatis, Morejon is only 18 years old. He had a 3.86 ERA in 13 starts between short-season Tri-City and Fort Wayne.
Jorge Ona, outfielder, No. 11 prospect
Ona, serving as the designated hitter, connected on an RBI triple in the first and scored later in the inning on a groundout.
The 20-year-old Cuban native was signed in July 2016 and hit plenty in his first season. With Fort Wayne, Ona posted a slash line of .277/.351/.404 with 11 homers, providing hope more power will develop in his 6-foot, 220-pound frame.
Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.