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Inbox: Who will start in Padres' crowded outfield?

Beat reporter AJ Cassavell answers questions from fans
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Outfield and third base -- for very different reasons -- have been the focus of the offseason in San Diego.

The Padres are overflowing with outfielders, with six players who have spent significant time as starters over the past two seasons. Naturally, that's led to plenty of trade speculation.

SAN DIEGO -- Outfield and third base -- for very different reasons -- have been the focus of the offseason in San Diego.

The Padres are overflowing with outfielders, with six players who have spent significant time as starters over the past two seasons. Naturally, that's led to plenty of trade speculation.

They're also devoid of an obvious starter at third, and it's clear they want to find a long-term solution there. That's fueled the speculation even more.

Submit a question to Padres Inbox

Pitchers and catchers report to Peoria, Ariz., in less than a month, and with the rest of the lineup mostly set, this week's Padres Inbox centers around those two spots.

Who do you see in the Opening Day outfield?
-- Tom H.

Among those six outfielders, none has a starting spot locked up right now. In the corners, Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe are fighting for two places. Each has drawn trade interest, and it's hard to envision the Padres opening the season with all three on their roster. They already have plenty of depth, with the lefty-hitting Franchy Cordero returning from right elbow surgery.

But for the purposes of the question, let's rule Cordero out -- and Travis Jankowski, too -- because the Padres are likely to face Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner in the opener. They'll presumably load the lineup with righty hitters, putting Manuel Margot in center.

In the corners, it's anyone's guess. Renfroe has torched Bumgarner in the past, and Reyes is returning from offseason surgery on his right knee, so let's go with Renfroe-Margot-Myers.

The big wild card in the whole outfield logjam seems to be Franchy. What do you see happening with him?
-- Julian S.

No kidding. Cordero is an extremely underrated component of the Padres' current outfield situation. He injured his elbow last May and played through a bone spur for a couple weeks. Understandably, his numbers took a nosedive while he played with that pain.

But Cordero was hitting .281/.349/.500 on May 10. Imagine if he could sustain that pace -- or something close to it -- over a larger sample size. And he just might have the tools to do it. His 92.6 mph average exit velocity was 14th in the Majors last year, on par with Shohei Ohtani, and he made huge strides with his plate discipline and pitch recognition.

Cordero is the kind of guy who could quickly prove himself worthy of everyday playing time. The question is: Where? If the Padres don't trade a corner option, I'd expect Cordero to seriously press Margot for playing time in center. Margot is worlds better defensively. But the Padres are in dire need of offense, and Margot took a step back with the bat last season.

I think the likeliest scenario sees either Myers or Renfroe traded before Opening Day. Cordero could then receive regular playing time in a four-way platoon for three spots. He'd sit against lefties, but against right-handed pitching, he could slot in anywhere -- giving Margot, Myers, Reyes or Renfroe a breather.

Before letting go of Christian Villanueva, was there talk of using him as a platoon option in 2019? He was notably bad against right-handed pitchers, but he was the best hitting third baseman in baseball against left-handed pitchers in '18.
-- Ridley L.

Ridley's right on the money with that stat. Against lefties, Villanueva's wRC+ -- an all-encompassing hitting metric that adjusts for ballparks and league -- was 198 last season. That means he was 98 percent better than league average, just above Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant for tops in the Majors. Given that Ty France is the likely starter at third right now, Villanueva seems like a substantial loss -- despite his poor numbers against righties.

But it's worth noting that Villanueva's departure for Japan's Yomiuri Giants was his own decision. He approached the Padres and made it clear he wanted the opportunity. They granted his request.

So, yes, the Padres discussed using Villanueva as a platoon option. As of last September, he was squarely in their 2019 plans. But the team's primary goal is to find a long-term solution at third base. It might be the biggest organizational question mark right now. The Padres didn't believe Villanueva to be the answer, so they let him walk.

What are the Padres more likely to address before Spring Training -- starting pitching or third base? Is it possible they go into spring without making any more additions?
-- Christopher W.

It's still possible the Padres stand pat. It's just very unlikely. There's a good chance they add to both areas before camp begins, but they probably aren't going to make a major splash with either of those moves. (Think: rotation depth and a replacement-level utility infielder.)

Around the horn: Padres face tricky 3B situation

If there's one area that's more pressing, though, it's third base. The front office seems content to start the season with the current pitching staff, if need be. The rotation has major holes. But there are, at least, potential answers in-house -- like Logan Allen (a prospect on the cusp of the big leagues), Dinelson Lamet (who should return from Tommy John surgery midseason), or Matt Strahm (who will attempt to make the transition from a reliever to a starter).

At third base, the hole is more glaring. Even if France or Esteban Quiroz wins the job with a big-time Spring Training, the Padres would like to have an experienced option as a back-up plan or platoon partner.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres

Around the horn: Padres face tricky 3B situation

MLB.com @AJCassavell

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2019 Padres, breaking the team down position by position. Today, we preview the San Diego third basemen.

Around the Horn series: Catcher | First base | Second base | Shortstop

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2019 Padres, breaking the team down position by position. Today, we preview the San Diego third basemen.

Around the Horn series: Catcher | First base | Second base | Shortstop

SAN DIEGO -- The offseason has offered very little clarity on the Padres' long-term plans at third base. We haven't learned much, yet we have learned who won't be playing there this year: Wil Myers, Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg.

That trio combined for 93 percent of the Padres' innings at third last season (with Chase Headley, prior to his early-May release, covering nearly all of the rest). Villanueva's contract was sold to the Yomiuri Giants in November, and Spangenberg was designated for assignment on the same day before later signing a deal with Milwaukee. Then, on Saturday, Myers informed reporters that he'd be shifting back to a full-time outfield role this spring.

So what's left? Well, Ty France, Greg Garcia and Jason Vosler -- which might prompt a justifiable response of "Who?" on your end.

Vosler and France are Minor League sluggers with no big league experience between them, despite the fact that both are entering their age-25 seasons. After posting some impressive power numbers in 2018, they will get a chance to prove themselves in Spring Training. Garcia, meanwhile, is a career utility man claimed off waivers from St. Louis in October.

In other words: The Padres could use a third baseman.

Of course, there are two parts to that equation: The Padres need an Opening Day third baseman, and they need a third baseman of the future. Right now, the clear focus is on finding the latter. (That's why Myers, Villanueva and Spangenberg -- all unrealistic long-term options -- have been ruled out.)

Projecting into 2020 and beyond, third base is the most glaring hole in a lineup that could otherwise be pretty complete if a few pieces fall into place.

If the Padres can't find their long-term third baseman this winter, there are a handful of cheap stopgap options in free agency. But team sources have indicated it's possible they enter camp with the current group -- which looks like this:

Projected starter: France

Potential backups: Ian Kinsler, Vosler, Garcia, Esteban Quiroz, Jose Pirela

Top-30 prospects: No. 17 Esteury Ruiz, Tatis, No. 23 Hudson Potts, No. 30 Owen Miller

Best-case scenario
You may not have heard, but there's a pretty darn good free-agent third baseman available. The obvious best-case scenario sees the Padres as the reported "mystery team" for Manny Machado, giving them a long-term infield of Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias and Eric Hosmer.

But -- and sorry to snap you back to reality, Padres fans -- there's been no indication that San Diego is the mystery team. So let's focus on the next-best-case scenario instead:

Already this offseason, the Padres have been linked to talks with the Reds and Yankees, who have two of the sport's best young third basemen in Nick Senzel and Miguel Andujar, respectively. General manager A.J. Preller works a three-way trade with one of those clubs that includes the Indians.

With the Tribe in dire need of outfield help, the Padres part with one or two youngsters from their surplus -- perhaps Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe -- and a couple prospects from outside the top five in their loaded farm system. Ultimately, that might be a price Preller is willing to meet.

Video: Tribe, Padres, Reds exploring 3-team deal for Kluber?

Worst-case scenario
The Padres enter camp with their current group of third basemen, hoping for magic somewhere. (Heck, Vosler hits righties and France hits lefties, so they could form a decent platoon.)

But both fail to adjust to big league pitching, leaving the Padres with Garcia as the primary option. When Tatis arrives, Urias moves from shortstop to second, and Kinsler becomes a platoon option alongside Garcia. That platoon doesn't strike much fear into opposing pitchers.

The non-waiver Trade Deadline comes and goes, and the Padres enter next offseason in practically the same situation they're in right now -- without a long-term answer at third base.

A reasonable prediction
No major trade comes to fruition this offseason. Instead, Preller finds a one-year deal with a replacement-level utility option, like Adeiny Hechavarria or Yangervis Solarte. They compete for time at third base in Spring Training. Among the group of Vosler, France, Garcia and Hechavarria/Solarte, a couple struggle and a couple perform moderately well.

In the meantime, the Padres' decision-makers keep a sharp eye on Potts, the 20-year-old who will open the season at Double-A. Come July, they might have a better idea as to whether he's their long-term answer at third.

If he isn't, Preller will re-assess the available third-base options midseason, and he could get very active on the trade market this summer.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres

30 best defensive prospects -- 1 for each team

MLB.com

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

MLB Pipeline recently unveiled its annual All-Defense Team, but there were only so many spots to fill. It made us realize there were so many outstanding defenders across all 30 organizations.

Evaluating defense is still very much subjective, with metrics measuring fielding still imperfect. Still, each system has glovework that stands out more than others, and we considered many to present one best defender from each organization.

American League East

Orioles: Cadyn Grenier, SS, No. 9
Grenier's stellar glovework at shortstop was key in helping Oregon State win the 2018 College World Series, and in the process, he established himself as one of the best defensive prospects in the Draft before going to the Orioles as the No. 37 overall pick. With good hands, plus arm strength and plenty of range, Grenier has all the ingredients needed to stick at the position long term.

Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, 3B, No. 6
Dalbec has always possessed a strong arm and has worked hard to improve his agility and range at third base, with several Red Sox officials rating him as a plus defender and scouts outside the organization grading him more as solid. He also owns prodigious raw power and ranked second in the Minors in extra-base hits (70) and RBIs (109) last year, and fourth in homers (32).

Yankees: Estevan Florial, OF, No. 1 (MLB No. 45)
Florial has some of the best all-around tools in the Minors, with well-above-average raw power, speed and arm strength. He continues to improve as a center fielder, projecting as a plus defender, and has an exceptionally strong arm for the position.

Rays: Lucius Fox, SS, No. 9
While there's no shortage of standout defenders in the highly athletic Rays system, Fox, a top-flight athlete with plus-plus speed, could be the best. He's played shortstop exclusively as a pro and committed 15 errors in 105 games last season while reaching Double-A at age 21. His athleticism makes him an electrifying defender, and he has the requisite physical tools to remain at the position for the long haul.

Video: EAST@WEST: Fox showcases range, slick glove in 3rd

Blue Jays: Kevin Vicuna, SS, unranked
The Blue Jays felt so good about Vicuna's defense in 2017 that they had the then-19-year-old handle shortstop duties for Class A Advanced Dunedin from April 23-June 1, even though Vicuna previously had never played above the Rookie Gulf Coast League. He's an athletic and, at times, flashy defender, with quick, twitchy hands that help him absorb anything hit his way and a quick release that causes his average arm strength to play up across the infield.

AL Central

White Sox: Nick Madrigal, 2B, No. 5 (MLB No. 49)
The White Sox may try Madrigal at shortstop, because he has the hands and actions to thrive there, but his average arm makes him a better fit at second base. With his quickness and instincts, he could be a Gold Glove Award winner at the keystone, and he also rated as the best pure hitter in the 2018 Draft, where he went No. 4 overall.

Video: Top Prospects: Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox

Indians: Eric Haase, C, No. 27
Haase reached the Majors for the first time late last season, seven years after the Indians took him in the seventh round of the 2011 Draft. Though he's blossomed on both sides of the ball during the past two seasons, it's been Haase's defensive gains that have helped him climb the Tribe's depth chart. After throwing out 37 percent of attempted basestealers in 2017, Haase improved that mark to nearly 49 percent in '18 (33 of 68).

Tigers: Jake Rogers, C, No. 12
The Tigers got Rogers as part of the Justin Verlander deal, and in Rogers' first full season with the organization, he cemented himself as the game's best defensive catching prospect, earning a spot on MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team for the second year in a row. He threw out 55.6 percent of potential basestealers in 2018, upping his career rate to 48.5 percent.

Royals: Sebastian Rivero, C, unranked
M.J. Melendez is very athletic for a catcher and has a chance to become a plus defender with an arm to match. Yet South Atlantic League managers rated Rivero, his teammate at Lexington last summer, the low Class A circuit's best defensive backstop in a Baseball America survey last year. The Royals liken Rivero to a young Salvador Perez, and in addition to his physical ability, Rivero also draws raves for his leadership skills, intelligence and work ethic.

Twins: Gilberto Celestino, OF, No. 14
Signed by the Astros for $2.5 million in 2015, Celestino made his United States debut in '17, then got dealt to the Twins in the Ryan Pressly trade last season. He's drawn comparisons to Albert Almora Jr. for his instincts in center, and coaches in Elizabethton feel he's one of the best defenders they've ever seen.

AL West

Astros: Myles Straw, OF, No. 15
Straw has double-plus speed that gives him tremendous range in center field, where his plus arm also stands out at a position not noted for strong throwers. That quickness also plays well on the bases (he topped the Minors with 70 steals in only 79 attempts in 2018) and allows him to beat out hits (he led the Minors with a .358 batting average in '16).

Angels: Jordyn Adams, OF, No. 6
The Angels signed Adams away from playing football and baseball at North Carolina, and he immediately put his tools on display during his pro debut and during instructs. He's still raw, but the Angels feel he has elite range and the highest ceiling as a defender in the organization.

A's: Nick Allen, SS, No. 15
Allen was viewed by many scouts as perhaps the best defensive prospect available in the 2017 Draft, and he's done nothing to diminish that reputation after signing for more than double slot value as the A's third-round pick. There is no doubt among scouts that Allen can stick at shortstop. He's already a plus defender there, with outstanding range that leads to many highlight-reel plays and plus arm strength that allows him to make throws from all over the diamond.

Mariners: Evan White, 1B, No. 5
It's not often a first baseman is mentioned as one of the premier defensive players in the Minors, but that's the reality with White, who recently was named to the All-Defense Team. All signs point to him becoming a Gold Glove Award winner at the position, as he's athletic with outstanding footwork, a strong arm and plus range. His ability to pick throws is elite, and he makes every infielder on his team better as a result.

Video: Top Prospects: Evan White, 1B, Mariners

Rangers: Jose Trevino, C, No. 28
Trevino won Rawlings Minor League Gold Gloves in both 2016 and '17, before surgery on his non-throwing shoulder last July squashed any chances of a three-peat. He's an outstanding receiver and blocker, gets the most out of his strong arm with a quick release and accurate throws and also earns high marks for his ability to run a pitching staff.

National League East

Braves: Cristian Pache, OF, No. 6  (MLB No. 68)
Pache is generally considered to be the best defender in the Minor Leagues, leading our All-Defense Prospect Team. He has the speed and instincts to be a Gold Glove center fielder to go along with a right fielder's arm.

Video: Mayo looks at MLB Pipeline's 2019 All-Defense Team

Marlins: Jose Devers, SS/2B, No. 13
The cousin of Red Sox third basemen Rafael Devers, Jose was acquired by the Marlins last offseason in the blockbuster trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx. While he doesn't have his cousin's offensive profile, Devers is a far superior defender, with the soft hands, slick footwork and strong arm needed to be a big league shortstop. He showcased his defensive prowess last season, committing only seven errors and posting a .971 fielding percentage as an 18-year-old in full-season ball.

Mets: Andres Gimenez, SS, No. 1 (MLB No. 55)
The shortstop on our All-Defense Team, Gimenez reached Double-A in 2018 as a teenager. While he needs to add strength offensively, he has everything he needs to play shortstop defensively in the big leagues. He has plus hands, range and the internal clock to allow him to slow the game down.

Phillies: Luis Garcia, SS, No. 14
Signed for $2.5 million in July 2017, Garcia had a tremendous debut in the Gulf Coast League in '18 on both sides of the ball. He has a strong arm to go along with terrific hands and feet, and speed that gives him excellent range to stay at shortstop long term. He's only going to get better as he matures.

Nationals: Victor Robles, OF, No. 1 (MLB No. 4)
Revered as one of the top defenders in the Minor Leagues and a member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Robles has game-changing abilities in center field. His near top-of-the-scale speed gives him range for days in center field, and he's made strides in improving both his reads and routes in the past two years. His plus-plus arm is among the strongest in the Minors, and he totaled 29 outfield assists from 2016-17 before an injury-plagued campaign in '18.

Video: Top Prospects: Victor Robles, OF, Nationals

NL Central

Cubs: Miguel Amaya, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 87)
Amaya's defensive ability and makeup led the Cubs to sign him for $1.25 million out of Panama in 2015, and he continues to impress even though he has been pushed aggressively in the Minors. His aptitude to frame and block pitches is advanced for a teenager, and his arm strength has improved to at least solid and plays up because of his quick transfer and accuracy.

Reds: Mike Siani, OF, No. 9
The Reds' fourth-round pick got first-round money to sign because of his all-around tools. But his defensive skills have long stood out, and he might have been the best defensive outfielder in the 2018 Draft class, with the ability to cover a ton of ground in center and an arm that allowed him to throw low-90s fastballs from the mound in high school.

Brewers: Payton Henry, C, No. 11
A sixth-round pick in 2016 who signed for nearly twice his slot value, Henry threw out nearly 44 percent (46 of 105) of attempted basestealers and had only six passed balls in his first full season. A quick release and a strong, accurate arm help Henry to combat the running game, and evaluators have been impressed with how he's developed a receiving style that utilizes his big, athletic frame. Henry is also praised for his energy and leadership skills.

Pirates: Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, No. 2 (MLB No. 48)
Hayes was the third baseman on our All-Defense Team, and for good reason. He entered pro ball as one of the better defenders at the hot corner, but he's gotten even better as he's committed himself to his conditioning, adding to his agility and range to make him the best in the Minors at the position.

Cardinals: Delvin Perez, SS, No. 28
The Cardinals' first-round pick in 2016 has had trouble finding any traction offensively, but there are no concerns about his defensive chops. He gets plus grades on his arm and his overall fielding, thanks to a plus arm when he needs it, above-average hands and plus speed that helps him cover a lot of ground.

NL West

D-backs: Geraldo Perdomo, SS, No. 21
Perdomo's United States debut in 2018 was solid all-around, and he even earned a promotion from the Arizona Rookie League to the Pioneer League in the process. Tall and rangy, the teenager has shown the tools to stay at shortstop long term with outstanding range, actions and hands to go with a strong arm.

Rockies: Yonathan Daza, OF, No. 18
Thanks to his plus speed and fine instincts, Daza covers a lot of ground in center field, and he possesses a plus-plus arm that stands out at his position. He's also a career .310 hitter who won the Class A Advanced California League batting title in 2017 with a .341 mark.

Dodgers: Will Smith, C, No. 5
An outstanding athlete for a catcher, Smith has already shown that he's capable of playing third base and filling in at second. He has very soft hands and impressive agility, making him a fine receiver and framer, and he has a solid arm that plays better than that because of his fast footwork.

Padres: Buddy Reed, OF, No. 13
A member of MLB Pipeline's All-Defense Team, Reed's 70-grade speed and long, gliding strides allow him to cover huge swaths of territory in center field -- and he showcased that with his catch in last year's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game. Reed also has a strong arm and recorded 12 outfield assists in 2018, surpassing his combined total from his first two seasons.

Video: WLD@USA: Reed wired up, makes great grab at the wall

Giants: Joey Bart, C, No. 1 (MLB No. 23)
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Bart draws more attention with his bat, but his work behind the plate is impressive as well. He has improved markedly since high school, when scouts wondered if he could stay at catcher, enhancing his agility and receiving and improving the accuracy of his strong arm.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

Mejia among MLB's Top 10 catching prospects

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

There's a good amount of turnover on this year's Top 10 Catching Prospects list compared to the 2018 version. That starts at the top, with a member of the 2018 Draft Class, Joey Bart, leading the way.

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

There's a good amount of turnover on this year's Top 10 Catching Prospects list compared to the 2018 version. That starts at the top, with a member of the 2018 Draft Class, Joey Bart, leading the way.

Video: Top Prospects: Joey Bart, C, Giants

Francisco Mejia, now with the Padres, continues to be a mainstay, sitting in the top two for the third straight season. Keibert Ruiz of the Dodgers, the A's Sean Murphy and Danny Jansen from the Blue Jays are the other holdovers from last year's Top 10. Graduation caused some serious turnover, with Carson Kelly, now with the D-backs, Jorge Alfaro (Phillies), Chance Sisco (Orioles) and Victor Caratini (Cubs) all moving on to larger big league contributions.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Joey Bart, Giants (2021)
2. Francisco Mejia, Padres (2019)
3. Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers (2020)
4. Sean Murphy, A's (2019)
5. Danny Jansen, Blue Jays (2019)
6. Ronaldo Hernandez, Rays (2021)
7. Miguel Amaya, Cubs (2021)
8. Daulton Varsho, D-backs (2020)
9. MJ Melendez, Royals (2021)
10. Andrew Knizner, Cardinals (2019)
Complete list »

Top tools

Hit: Mejia (60)
Mejia has hit at pretty much every stop in the Minors, starting with his 50-game hitting streak and .342 average in 2016. Following his trade to the Padres last year in the Brad Hand deal, he showed what the fuss was about by hitting .328 with Triple-A El Paso en route to making his San Diego debut. His ability to swing the bat from both sides of the plate is well ahead of his defense behind it.

Video: Top Prospects: Francisco Mejia, C, Padres

Power: Bart (60)
The No. 2 overall pick in last June's Draft, Bart not only has a strong college power resume, with double-digit home runs as a sophomore and a junior, but he showed that it would translate immediately in the pro game when he hit 13 home runs in just 45 Northwest League games during his pro debut. He has the potential to hit at least 25 homers annually.

Run: Varsho (55)
There are some who feel Varsho is athletic enough to play second base if catching doesn't work out, and he certainly did nothing to dampen that evaluation during his first full year. Varsho stole 19 bases in 22 tries in just 80 California League games. He then went on to swipe eight more during his Arizona Fall League stint.

Video: Top Prospects: Daulton Varsho, C, D-backs

Arm: Mejia, Murphy (70)
Mejia has thrown out 33 percent of potential basestealers in his Minor League career. Last year, that was down to 28.9 percent, though he also spent less time behind the plate compared to other seasons. Murphy threw out 34.3 percent in 2018, which actually brought his career percentage down to 35.5 percent.

Video: Top Prospects: Sean Murphy, C, Athletics

Field: Murphy (65)
Murphy would be the runner-up on the All-Defense Prospect Team thanks to his all-around work behind the plate. In addition to his arm detailed above, he's agile with excellent blocking, receiving and game-calling skills. He gets very high marks for his ability to work with a pitching staff.

Superlatives

Ceiling: Melendez
The 2017 second-round pick showed off all of his skills during his first full season. He finished fifth in the South Atlantic League in home runs and slugging percentage, and he should tap into his raw power even more as he refines his approach. Behind the plate, Melendez used his plus arm to throw out nearly 42 percent of those trying to steal last season.

Video: Top Prospects: M.J. Melendez, C, Royals

Floor: Ruiz
Murphy could be a candidate if you wanted to focus solely on defense -- his glove will make him a big leaguer. But Ruiz's bat, with the ability to hit for average and power, provides a little more certainty that he'll be a big league regular at the position.

Video: Top Prospects: Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers

Rookie of the Year candidate: Jansen
There are several on this list ready to contribute in 2019, but Jansen appears to be the only one heading into the season as the No. 1 backstop on the depth chart. He had a solid big league debut in August and September last year to build a foundation for his first full year in the big leagues.

Video: Top Prospects: Danny Jansen, C, Blue Jays

Highest riser: Hernandez
Hernandez began 2018 as the Rays' No. 20 prospect, but was up to No. 7 by the end of the season. Now he's jumping onto this Top 10 list for the first time after a year that saw him hit 21 home runs in his full-season debut while throwing out 36 percent of runners trying to steal.

Video: Top Prospects: Ronaldo Hernandez, C, Rays

Humblest beginnings: Knizner
The Cardinals have a knack for finding late-round talent and it looks like they've done it again with Knizner, a seventh-round pick in 2016. The North Carolina State product was a third baseman until he began his catching career as a sophomore and now he's ready to be a big leaguer, thanks to a .310/.373/.460 line and a 36.2 percent caught stealing rate.

Video: Top Prospects: Andrew Knizner, C, Cardinals

Most to prove: Mejia
Yes, Mejia has hit pretty much everywhere he's been in the Minors, but he has a .583 OPS in 76 big league plate appearances, a small sample size for sure. That, combined with questions about his ability to catch full-time and showing he was worth trading for, makes the spotlight a little brighter on him in 2019.

Keep an eye on: William Contreras, Braves
The younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, William had a very strong first taste of full-season ball, earning a promotion to the Class A Advanced Florida State League at age 20. He has a solid approach at the plate with some pop (11 homers in 2018) in addition to a strong arm and solid receiving skills behind it.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

First Spring Training workout dates for all clubs

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

Major League Baseball has revealed the first Spring Training workout dates for pitchers and catchers and those for the full squads for all 30 clubs. MLB also announced game times for all Cactus and Grapefruit League action in February and March.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

The A's, fresh off their surprise run to the 2018 American League Wild Card Game, will be the first club to have its pitchers and catchers report. They'll do so on Monday, Feb. 11, followed by the Indians and Mariners on Feb. 12 and the remainder of MLB clubs in the days following. Oakland and Seattle will travel to Tokyo to stage two exhibition games each against Japanese teams on March 17-18, followed by the first two games of the 2019 regular season on March 20-21 at Tokyo Dome.

Complete Spring Training schedule

Oakland and Seattle will hold their first full-squad workouts on Saturday, Feb. 16, in Arizona, with the rest of MLB following suit in the days after. The Braves will be the last club to hold its first full-squad workout, doing so on Thursday, Feb. 21. The A's and Mariners open Cactus League action with a matchup on Feb. 21, and the Rays and Phillies open up Grapefruit League action the following day. The Red Sox and Tigers will play exhibition games against college teams on Feb. 22.

Here are first-workout dates for pitchers and catchers and full squads for each team:

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Angels: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Astros: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Athletics: Feb. 11/Feb. 16
Blue Jays: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Indians: Feb. 12/Feb. 18
Mariners: Feb. 12/Feb. 16
Orioles: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rangers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rays: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Red Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Royals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Tigers: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Twins: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
White Sox: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Yankees: Feb. 14/Feb. 19

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Braves: Feb. 16/Feb. 21
Brewers: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Cardinals: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Cubs: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Diamondbacks: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Dodgers: Feb. 13/Feb. 19
Giants: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Marlins: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Mets: Feb. 14/Feb. 18
Nationals: Feb. 14/Feb. 19
Padres: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Phillies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Pirates: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Reds: Feb. 13/Feb. 18
Rockies: Feb. 13/Feb. 18

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Here's why a 3-team Kluber deal could happen

Breaking down report of potential trade between Tribe, Reds, Padres
MLB.com

The Reds need a starting pitcher. The Padres are looking for a third baseman. The Indians would like to add outfielders. Could there be a match that would help all three clubs?

The Athletic reported on Monday that the Padres had explored a potential three-team trade between the clubs that would send ace starter Corey Kluber from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with Reds top prospect and infielder Nick Senzel going to San Diego. It was not reported who the Indians might acquire, although the team needs outfielders, which the Padres have to deal.

The Reds need a starting pitcher. The Padres are looking for a third baseman. The Indians would like to add outfielders. Could there be a match that would help all three clubs?

The Athletic reported on Monday that the Padres had explored a potential three-team trade between the clubs that would send ace starter Corey Kluber from Cleveland to Cincinnati, with Reds top prospect and infielder Nick Senzel going to San Diego. It was not reported who the Indians might acquire, although the team needs outfielders, which the Padres have to deal.

The report noted that no deal was close to being finalized.

Why the trade could work
The Reds, who have been trying to overhaul their rotation all offseason, already acquired starters Tanner Roark and Alex Wood in trades. Both are solid middle-of-the-rotation pieces, but Cincinnati could still use someone for the top of the starting five. Enter Kluber, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner and the kind of frontline starter the Reds haven't had since dealing Johnny Cueto in 2015. The club, which has space with an increased payroll, has been linked to Kluber in various rumors throughout the Hot Stove season.

Kluber, 32, has one guaranteed year left on his contract, with club options for 2020 and '21. If both options are picked up, the total outlay for his services would be $52.5 million. It's a lot of money for a small-market club, but it's also not a risky long-term contract that would hamstring the Reds for the future.

Video: Tribe, Padres, Reds exploring 3-team deal for Kluber?

Senzel, who is ranked as the Reds' No. 1 prospect (No. 6 overall) by MLB Pipeline, is a natural third baseman and can also play second base and the outfield. He is currently blocked from a starting spot in the infield by third baseman Eugenio Suarez and second baseman Scooter Gennett, but he will be competing for the opening in center field.

The Indians and Padres have had a good working relationship, with their last transaction coming in July when Cleveland acquired relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. The Tribe is looking for young outfielders who are cost-controlled and can make an impact in 2019 and beyond. Last month, the Indians were linked to San Diego outfielders Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe, both of whom check the majority of the Indians' boxes.

Margot, 24, is under team control through 2022, while Renfroe, 26, wouldn't be a free agent until after the '23 season. Margot is a right-handed-hitting center fielder who slashed .245/.292/.384 with 26 doubles, eight triples, eight homers and 51 RBIs in 2018. Renfroe, a corner outfielder, could bring some much-needed power to the Indians' lineup after hitting .248 with 26 homers and 68 RBIs last season.

Video: Indians might not trade Kluber or Bauer

The Padres have a glut of outfielders, with Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes, Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski also on board. They can afford to lose one or both of Renfroe and Margot -- if it means acquiring a third baseman. Right now, unheralded rookie Ty France is slated to start for the Padres at third, though that's likely to change in the coming weeks.

The Indians could also take a look at the Reds, who have plenty of corner-outfield options. Recently acquired Matt Kemp is coming off an All-Star season, hitting .290 with 21 home runs and 85 RBIs. Although Kemp could give the Tribe another option in both the outfield and as a designated hitter, the Indians may prefer younger, cost-controlled talent. The 34-year-old is owed $21.75 million in 2019, though a portion of the Dodgers' $7 million that was sent to the Reds in last month's blockbuster deal will help pay that salary. But the team already has shed roughly $20 million from the payroll and also would be dealing away Kluber's $17 million, so it could be an option.

Why the trade might not work
Because of Senzel's near Major League-ready skills that include an advanced hitting approach, the Reds would likely be apprehensive about moving him. For the Padres, they will probably take a long look at his medical files as Senzel was limited to 44 games at Triple-A last season because of a bout with vertigo in May and a fractured right index finger in June that required season-ending surgery. During instructional league in the fall, he had to stop playing to have bone chips removed from his left elbow.

The Indians may decide they just don't need to deal Kluber, a rotation anchor for three straight postseason teams. The main reason his name came up in the first place was a perceived need to cut costs, and they've already done that this winter -- shedding about $20 million in dealing Edwin Encarnacion, Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes. Because of this, the Tribe could simply keep its rotation intact. Cleveland has been listening to potential offers for both Kluber and Trevor Bauer throughout the offseason, but it has a specific return in mind that clearly has yet to be met. In order to part ways with its ace, the club would have to receive enough talent to meet the high bar it has set for Kluber.

Video: Cassavell on the Padres' search for a starter

A trade could still happen, but maybe not with the Reds. Another option for both the Padres and the Indians would be giving the Yankees a call to see where they stand on Miguel Andujar. With the Padres looking for a third baseman, the 23-year-old Andujar, who finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting, may be another option. The Yankees are still looking to deal Sonny Gray, and with CC Sabathia's recent heart procedure and ongoing troubles with his right knee, it would seem logical that New York would be interested in adding another arm, especially of Kluber's caliber. The Yankees also have outfielders Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks or reliever Chad Green who could be of interest to the Indians.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Corey Kluber, Nick Senzel

Padres dominate '19 Top 10 LHP Prospects list

MLB.com @GoldenSombrero

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Jesus Luzardo cracked last year's list of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects at No. 8 even though he had logged fewer than 50 professional innings in his return from Tommy John surgery.

MLB Pipeline will unveil its 2019 Top 100 Prospects list with a one-hour show on MLB Network and MLB.com on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.

Jesus Luzardo cracked last year's list of the Top 10 left-handed pitching prospects at No. 8 even though he had logged fewer than 50 professional innings in his return from Tommy John surgery.

Flash forward a year and the 21-year-old southpaw now headlines our Top 10 LHP list, ranking as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball after a tremendous first full season in which he nearly reached the Major Leagues.

Video: Top Prospects: Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics

He is one of seven members on our Top 10 who were selected out of the high school ranks, and overall, nine players are products of the Draft. The only non-Draft pick of the group, Adrian Morejon of the Padres, signed for $11 million in July 2016.

Top 10 Prospects by Position

Speaking of the Padres, their organization has four left-handers on this year's list, marking the first time a team has had that many players on a single list in the nine years that we've been putting out Top 10 by Position rankings. Meanwhile, the A's and Rays both check in with two members each.

The Top 10 (ETA)
1. Jesus Luzardo, Athletics (2019)
2. MacKenzie Gore, Padres (2021)
3. Brendan McKay, Rays (2020)
4. A.J. Puk, Athletics (2020)
5. Justus Sheffield, Mariners (2019)
6. Adrian Morejon, Padres (2020)
7. Matthew Liberatore, Rays (2021)
8. Logan Allen, Padres (2019)
9. DL Hall, Orioles (2021)
10. Ryan Weathers, Padres (2021)
Complete list »

Top tools

Best Fastball: Puk (70)
Puk's fastball was sitting in the mid-90s and frequently hitting 96- to 97-mph before he underwent Tommy John surgery last April. He shouldn't have any trouble producing the same type of velocity with a healthy return to the mound in 2019, though as is the case with many Tommy John recipients, his control of the pitch may initially lag behind.

Video: Top Prospects: A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics

Best Curveball: Gore, Morejon, Liberatore (60)
Gore's curveball is a plus offering, thought it wasn't as sharp last year in the Midwest League as he dealt with a blister issue. Morejon's deuce, on the other hand, took a step forward last year, and Liberatore showcased his plus curve across two levels last year during his pro debut.

Video: Top Prospects: MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres

Best Slider: Puk, Sheffield (65)
Puk's slider is one of the best in the Minors, a legitimate swing-and-miss offering that registers in the mid- to upper-80s and is effective against hitters on the both sides of the plate and helped him register 184 strikeouts over 125 frames in 2017. Sheffield's slider is less consistent but earns similar grades and serves as his out-pitch.

Video: Top Prospects: Justus Sheffield, LHP, Mariners

Best Changeup: Luzardo, Allen (60)
Luzardo and Allen earn plus grades for their respective changeups, and both lefties use the pitch to neutralize right-handed hitters. Allen held righties to a a .209/.292/.322 line in 2018, and they mustered just .213/.270/.333 against Luzardo.

Video: Top Prospects: Logan Allen, LHP, Padres

Best Control: Luzardo, McKay (60)
The two-way McKay demonstrated exceptional control last season as he issued just 1.6 walks-per-nine over 78 1/3 frames in the lower Minors. Luzardo is younger and has more gains to make, but he also should have plus control once he's fully developed.

Highest Ceiling: Luzardo
As a 20-year-old pitching for the first time since Tommy John, Luzardo showed all the ingredients needed to become a frontline starter in the big leagues -- and possibly very soon. He has a premium arsenal in a fastball, curveball and changeup that all grade as above-average or better, as well as control and command that allow him to execute each pitch. If it all comes together for him, Luzardo could be one of the game's best left-handed pitchers and a perennial Cy Young Award candidate.

Highest Floor: McKay
McKay has had considerably more success as a pitcher than a position player as a pro and ostensibly stands to reach the Majors faster in that role. While nothing he throws is truly overpowering, McKay can dissect the zone with precision using his entire arsenal, inducing a healthy mix of whiffs, weak contact and very few walks. Altogether, it gives McKay a safe floor as at least a backend starter at the highest level.

Video: Top Prospects: Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, Rays

Rookie of the Year Candidate: Luzardo
Luzardo ascended from Class A Advanced Stockton to Triple-A Nashville last season and nearly reached the Major Leagues before the A's shut him down due to workload. It shouldn't be long before he assumes a spot in the A's 2019 rotation, and many within the organization view Luzardo as one of the best pitching prospects in franchise history.

Highest Riser: Hall
The Orioles' first-round pick from 2017 had his workload limited during his first full season, never eclipsing 90 pitches in an outing, but he made big improvements during a dominant second half in the Class A South Atlantic League, posting a 0.84 ERA with 64 strikeouts and a .171 BAA over his final 53 2/3 frames (11 starts).

Video: Top Prospects: DL Hall, LHP, Orioles

Humblest Beginnings: Allen
Originally an eighth-round pick -- making him the lowest Draft pick on our list -- by the Red Sox in 2015 before joining San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel trade, Allen faced some injury concerns early in his career but put it all behind him with a breakout 2018 campaign. He projects as a high-probability backend starter, perhaps more with better control.

Most To Prove: Puk
Puk was poised to pitch meaningful innings for the A's in 2018 before Tommy John surgery wiped out his year. He showed huge upside before getting hurt, especially in regards to missing bats, and all eyes will be drawn to the 2016 first-rounder when he returns to the mound this season.

Keep An Eye On: Daniel Lynch, Royals
The Royals had Lynch, the No. 34 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, focus on throwing more four-seam fastballs last summer and saw his heater sit at 92- to 95-mph and touch 97 during his impressive pro debut. That uptick in velocity, along with his feel for three average-or-better secondaries, could put Lynch firmly on the prospect radar in his first full season.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.

The MLB.com Hall of Fame ballot results are ...

MLB.com

Six MLB.com writers were among those eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

• Complete Hall of Fame coverage

Six MLB.com writers were among those eligible to cast ballots in the 2019 Hall of Fame vote conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

• Complete Hall of Fame coverage

As many as four candidates -- and possibly more -- could be elected, according to the public ballots amassed online. Here's a look at how the six voted, and at the bottom you can see what the totals look like among this group:

T.R. Sullivan
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Billy Wagner
9. Larry Walker
10. Michael Young

There are many offensive players who could/should be elected based on their career numbers. I strongly believe McGriff is unfairly overlooked because he was one of the last great hitters before the offensive explosion of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Mussina also thrived as a starting pitcher in the American League right in the thick of that era. It should not have taken him this long to be elected. I'm not big on comparables, but Wagner was every bit as good of a reliever as Rivera or Trevor Hoffman.

Video: MLB Tonight on Mike Mussina's Hall of Fame case

Mark Feinsand
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Manny Ramirez
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Gary Sheffield
10. Omar Vizquel

Three of the players I voted for a year ago -- Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones and Jim Thome -- were inducted into the Hall, so the holdovers (Bonds, Clemens, Edgar, Mussina, Manny, Schilling and Sheffield) took up the first seven spots on my ballot.

That left me with up to three open spots to fill. Rivera was an obvious choice for one of them in his first time on the ballot, as was Halladay, who, despite a modest win total (203), was one of the most dominant pitchers of his generation. Although I delved into their statistics to confirm what I already knew, these two were no-brainers.

Video: Roy Halladay's case for the Hall of Fame

The final spot was a little more difficult. After a first examination of the 26 players, I narrowed down my choice to Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Fred McGriff, Andy Pettitte, Scott Rolen, Vizquel, Larry Walker and Vernon Wells. (OK, Wells wasn't really on my list, but he was one of my favorite players I ever covered, so I considered using my last spot for him for about 30 seconds.)

Although I probably would have voted for five or six of these players had the ballot been open-ended and without the 10-man limit, my choice ultimately came down to two: Pettitte and Vizquel.

Pettitte is viewed by many as a borderline candidate, a take I can't argue with. While his candidacy might be seen differently by voters, I think he belongs in the conversation. (Based on my voting history, I'm obviously not holding his HGH admission against him.) Having seen similar players such as Jorge Posada, Kenny Lofton and Johan Santana fall off the ballot in their first years, I considered voting for Pettitte in an effort to help him get the requisite 5 percent for him to be on the ballot again next year.

Ultimately, Vizquel's excellence in the field (he took home 11 Gold Gloves and is in the conversation as the best defensive shortstop ever) won out. He might not have been an offensive force, but Vizquel was far from an automatic out, finishing his career with 2,877 hits. Pettitte had a great career and will likely be in the mix for my vote again next year, but my belief that Vizquel should be in the Hall outweighed my hopes of seeing Pettitte remain on the ballot.

Jeffrey Flanagan
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Andruw Jones
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Manny Ramirez
8. Mariano Rivera
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker

It was difficult leaving off McGriff and Rolen, but we only get 10 spots, which is why I've always favored a binary system -- simply yes or no to each candidate. As for the PED issue, my stance hasn't really changed: If what they did (or didn't) do is so egregious, the Hall of Fame should take those players off the ballot. Don't make us be the morality judges.

Video: MLB Network debates Bonds, Clemens' merits for HOF

Richard Justice
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Mike Mussina
6. Mariano Rivera
7. Scott Rolen
8. Curt Schilling
9. Billy Wagner
10. Larry Walker

Easy calls on nine of the 10. All belong in the Hall. As for Wagner, he's one of greatest closers ever, and if they're part of the game (same for DHs), the best of them should be in the Hall. I didn't like leaving off Andruw Jones, Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Omar Vizquel, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield, who at least deserve to be in the conversation longer.

Jon Paul Morosi
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Edgar Martinez
5. Fred McGriff
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Scott Rolen
9. Curt Schilling
10. Larry Walker

I voted for Bonds and Clemens, as I have every year. For now, at least, my policy regarding players tied to PED use remains unchanged: I do not vote for players suspended under MLB's drug policy from 2005 to present, but I support the best all-around players from the complicated era that preceded it.

Rivera is one of the clearest first-ballot Hall of Famers in history, and Halladay's dominant peak (in a hitter-friendly ballpark, against AL East competition) makes him worthy of the Hall. McGriff, overlooked for far too long, hit more home runs -- with a better adjusted OPS -- than first-ballot Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Carl Yastrzemski; McGriff is eminently qualified for Cooperstown.

My toughest decision came among Rolen, Vizquel and Sheffield for the last of my 10 spots. I opted for Rolen, given the overall quality of his career, at a position underrepresented in the Hall. Rolen is one of only three third basemen in history with at least seven Gold Gloves and seven All-Star appearances. The others are Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt.

Video: MLB Network on Edgar Martinez's case for the HOF

Chris Haft
1. Barry Bonds
2. Roger Clemens
3. Roy Halladay
4. Jeff Kent
5. Edgar Martinez
6. Mike Mussina
7. Mariano Rivera
8. Curt Schilling
9. Omar Vizquel
10. Larry Walker

Rivera's career forestalls debate. And if you feel free to vote for closers, you should feel free to vote for other specialists, such as Martinez the designated hitter. I dismounted my moral high horse regarding Bonds and Clemens two or three years ago. I needed some persuasion to vote for Walker; by contrast, I remained stubbornly loyal to Kent. Mussina embodied consistency; Schilling dominated the postseason and Halladay finished 98 games above .500 in just 390 starts. As for Vizquel, I pity those who can't or won't comprehend his excellence.

Vote totals of the 6 MLB.com writers

With 75 percent of the vote needed for entry to the Hall, Bonds, Martinez, Rivera, Mussina, Clemens, Halladay, Schilling and Walker received enough support -- the first six appearing on all six ballots, and the other two appearing on five of six ballots (83 percent) -- from MLB.com writers.

Barry Bonds -- 6 votes
Roger Clemens -- 6
Roy Halladay -- 6
Edgar Martinez -- 6
Mike Mussina -- 6
Mariano Rivera -- 6
Curt Schilling -- 5
Larry Walker -- 5
Fred McGriff -- 2
Manny Ramirez -- 2
Scott Rolen -- 2
Omar Vizquel -- 2
Billy Wagner -- 2
Andruw Jones -- 1
Jeff Kent -- 1
Gary Sheffield -- 1
Michael Young -- 1

When will Tatis take over at SS in '19 for Friars?

MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect poised to make big league debut this year
MLB.com @AJCassavell

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2019 Padres, breaking the team down position-by-position. Today, we preview the San Diego shortstops.

Around the Horn series: Catcher | First base | Second base

With Spring Training on the horizon, MLB.com is taking an in-depth look at the 2019 Padres, breaking the team down position-by-position. Today, we preview the San Diego shortstops.

Around the Horn series: Catcher | First base | Second base

It's been a while since the Padres entered a season with a highly touted youngster set for significant time at shortstop. This year, they have two.

To be clear, Fernando Tatis Jr. is San Diego's shortstop of the future. Tatis is the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB Pipeline, and he's going to take the reins at some point this season.

But it's unlikely Tatis opens the regular season with the big league club, having only played 102 games at Double-A. In the interim, Luis Urias will probably be handed the keys at shortstop. Urias is widely believed to be Tatis' long-term double-play partner at second base, but he split time fairly evenly between second and short in the Minors before making his Major League debut in late August last season.

Urias' case to be San Diego's Opening Day shortstop received a serious boost when the Padres signed Ian Kinsler in December. The move was made, in part, to address their shortstop opening, with the front office believing Urias could shift there until Tatis' arrival.

Video: COL@SD: Urias goes the other way for 1st career homer

Of course, given the void at third base, San Diego general manager A.J. Preller will almost certainly add another infielder this offseason, and the Padres might be best served if that infielder can play both shortstop and third base.

• Padres' 3B experiment with Myers is over

But for now, here's how the organization lines up at short entering the season:

Projected starter: Urias

Potential backups: Greg Garcia, Javy Guerra, Esteban Quiroz

Top 30 prospects: No. 1 Tatis, No. 4 Urias, No. 18 Xavier Edwards, No. 20 Gabriel Arias, No. 30 Owen Miller

Best-case scenario
Urias isn't the shortstop for long. Tatis tears through Spring Training, and he's promoted by late April. (It's hard to envision the Padres calling up Tatis until then, given that they'd gain an extra year of team control by waiting. Plus, he might still need more time in the upper levels of the Minors.)

Upon his arrival, Tatis' five-tool credentials shine in the Majors as they have at every other level. He becomes an instant favorite to win National League Rookie of the Year. Even though he just turned 20 on Jan. 2, Tatis makes his leap to the big leagues as seamlessly as Ronald Acuna Jr. and Juan Soto did last year.

Tatis' ebullient personality should make him an instant fan favorite in San Diego, too. (Just look at this walk-off dinger and bat flip in winter ball.) In the best-case scenario, Tatis realizes his star potential in 2019, and the Padres have a shortstop worth building a contender around -- and a budding star at second in Urias to boot.

Worst-case scenario
Tatis is 20. It's hard to question his long-term promise. But there's a steep learning curve awaiting him in the big leagues, especially at one of baseball's most demanding positions.

The same holds true for Urias. If he struggles at short, the Padres might be forced to turn to light-hitting utility man Garcia while they wait for Tatis. If Tatis struggles there, it might raise questions about whether he's better suited to play third base in the long run, which would leave the Padres with the same shortstop questions they've faced for the past decade.

There's also the matter of the left hamstring pull that sidelined Urias last September. He should be ready for Spring Training, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Video: SD@SEA: Urias injures leg running to first

A realistic prediction
Urias opens the season as the Padres' starting shortstop, though he could rotate to second base, allowing the lefty-hitting Garcia to face certain right-handed starting pitchers. For a month and a half, Urias is solid but unspectacular defensively before moving into a full-time role at second base.

Tatis earns his promotion by mid-May. He struggles out of the gate. After all, it took him a month or two in both 2017 and '18 to adjust to a higher level of competition before settling in as one of the Minors' best hitters.

The Padres stick with Tatis through those early struggles, and in the second half, he becomes the player San Diego has been waiting for. Tatis hits for power, for average, steals bases and showcases his incredible athleticism on defense. By season's end, Tatis is squarely in the debate for the NL Rookie of the Year Award. More importantly, he'll have finally filled the Padres' decade-long void at shortstop.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias

Padres' 3B experiment with Myers is over

Slugger confirms he's headed back to the outfield at FanFest
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- Wil Myers is a full-time outfielder once again.

The Padres slugger confirmed as much on Saturday during his media session from the team's FanFest at Petco Park. Myers spent the final month and a half of the 2018 season at third base, as the club looked for an effective way to work him, Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe into the lineup at the same time.

SAN DIEGO -- Wil Myers is a full-time outfielder once again.

The Padres slugger confirmed as much on Saturday during his media session from the team's FanFest at Petco Park. Myers spent the final month and a half of the 2018 season at third base, as the club looked for an effective way to work him, Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe into the lineup at the same time.

But that third-base experiment is effectively over, leaving the Padres with a glut of outfielders -- especially in the corners. Six players on the active roster have spent time as regular starters in San Diego's outfield over the past two seasons (along with Myers, Renfroe and Reyes, Manuel Margot, Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski have also done so).

It's unlikely that the Padres will break camp with all six on the active roster, and Myers' move back to the outfield seems to increase the chances of a trade over the next few weeks.

Still, at the Winter Meetings last month, general manager A.J. Preller left open the possibility that he might stand pat.

"We like the group we have," Preller said. "We have depth, we have versatility, we have some guys with options. That gives us flexibility. We have some left-handed bats, defenders, some power. We saw last year: You think you maybe have an excess or an overabundance at one spot -- and then a couple of injuries later, you're searching for guys. We don't take that lightly. ... And you're creating competition, which is something we've pushed here, in general, the last few years."

If, ultimately, the Padres decide to make a trade, there's a good chance either Myers, Renfroe or Reyes will be dealt. They're all righty-hitting corner outfielders with similar power profiles. There really isn't room for all three -- especially given that the lefty-hitting Cordero and Jankowski can play all three spots, as well.

That logjam was precisely why the Padres decided to test Myers at third base last summer. He got off to a fast start, recording eight assists in his third-base debut -- one shy of a team record.

Video: LAA@SD: Myers shines in first start at third base

But Myers struggled mightily after that. He committed six errors in 324 innings, and he made at least twice as many obvious misplays.

Those struggles probably should have been expected, given Myers had only begun working at third base a few weeks prior. But they were glaring enough that the Padres didn't renew the experiment.

Myers could still play third base on occasion, should a particular game situation necessitate it. But he's spoken about his desire to find a home defensively, and it appears he finally has. Myers played 41 games in the outfield last season, where he was worth seven defensive runs saved.

Myers posted a .253/.318/.446 slash line in 2018, though he missed approximately half the season with various injuries. His move to third base was the latest in a long line of position switches for Myers throughout his career.

He's clearly best suited for a corner-outfield job, but upon his arrival in San Diego in 2015, he spent part of a season in center field -- where he struggled. The following season, Myers was moved to first base, where he posted excellent defensive numbers before regressing the following campaign.

When Eric Hosmer signed in February, Myers transitioned back to the outfield -- a stint that lasted just four months before his brief time at third. Now, it appears, Myers is headed back to the outfield to stay.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.

San Diego Padres, Wil Myers

Reed named to 2019 All-Defense Team

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

While the evaluation of prospects is still very much a subjective exercise, there is more and more data, and more people interpreting that information, to help in assessing talent. But most of that has come on the offensive side of the game.

Defensive metrics have come a long way, but there is a general consensus they provide less certainty at this point than their counterparts for hitting. So when asking scouts about the top fielding prospects in baseball, the opinions, even about the same player, can vary greatly.

While the evaluation of prospects is still very much a subjective exercise, there is more and more data, and more people interpreting that information, to help in assessing talent. But most of that has come on the offensive side of the game.

Defensive metrics have come a long way, but there is a general consensus they provide less certainty at this point than their counterparts for hitting. So when asking scouts about the top fielding prospects in baseball, the opinions, even about the same player, can vary greatly.

mlb pipeline all defense teams

Even with all of the variables, however, certain players stood out and were mentioned frequently in polls about the top defensive prospects. Braves outfielder Cristian Pache was mentioned more than any other prospect, so he lands on the All-Defense Team for the second year in a row after making the 2018 squad. He, the Nationals' Victor Robles (a three-time All-Defense selection), the Mariners' Evan White and the Tigers' Jake Rogers are all on the team for a second time.

Video: Highlights from MLB Pipeline's 2019 All-Defense Team

Catcher: Jake Rogers, Tigers
While he didn't hit in his first full season with the Tigers after coming over as part of the return from the Astros for Justin Verlander, he continued to show just how good he is behind the dish. Rogers threw out 55.6 percent of potential basestealers in the Double-A Eastern League in 2018. That brings his career mark up to 48.5 percent thanks to his arm strength, quick release and accuracy.

Rogers sets caught stealing mark

"He deserves consideration as the best defensive prospect overall," an American League pro scouting director said. "He's the best defensive catcher by a wide margin."

Top 10 Prospects by Position

First base: Evan White, Mariners
It's rare to have a first baseman mentioned as a contender for best overall defender, but White's name did come up in conversations. He is athletic with outstanding footwork, a plus arm and speed that allows him to have plus range at the position.

"It's game-changing defense at first," one AL scouting executive said. "He makes every defensive player on the field better."

Second base: Nick Madrigal, White Sox
The No. 4 overall pick in the 2018 Draft was known as the most advanced hitter in the class, but he can also flat-out play second base. He actually has the hands and actions for shortstop, and he could see some time there, though it's unclear if his arm will play from that spot. He could be a Gold Glove-caliber defender on the right side of the infield.

Madrigal gets crazy out

Third base: Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pirates
The son of Charlie Hayes, Ke'Bryan entered pro ball as a very talented defender, with great hands and a plus arm. The 2015 first-round pick got even better when he committed himself to conditioning, becoming more athletic and agile and adding plus range to his overall outstanding defensive toolset.

Shortstop: Andres Gimenez, Mets
Gimenez reached Double-A as a teenager, partially because of an advanced approach at the plate, but also because of his glovework at the premium position. He has the hands, arms, range and internal clock to play the position long-term, even if he has to slide over to second in deference to Amed Rosario.

Outfield: Cristian Pache, Braves
Pache was on the list a year ago thanks to his reputation of having plus range (thanks to his speed and tremendous instincts) to go along with a strong arm in the lower Minors. Not only did he make it to Double-A in 2018, but he really got to show off his defensive chops in front of all 30 teams in the Arizona Fall League. He is smooth and confident, and most feel he's ready for the big leagues defensively right now.

"He's a potential 70 grade defender in center field, where every aspect of his defense is an asset," another AL scouting executive said. "A true ball-hawking, gap-closing center fielder who plays with a reckless abandon to go along with a plus arm. He has a rare combination of athleticism and instincts for the position; he can really slow the game down."

Watch: MiLB Video

Outfield: Victor Robles, Nationals
While 2018 was in many ways a lost season for Robles -- he played in just 73 games between the Minors and Washington -- that did nothing to diminish his abilities in center field. If Pache has nominally become the No. 1 pick in the defensive prospect camp, no one would complain about getting Robles' plus arm and range at No. 2. "Robles is one of the more special outfielders I've seen," the AL pro scouting director said.

Video: WSH@ATL: Robles uses his legs to rob Albies

Outfield: Buddy Reed, Padres
Like the other two outfielders on this list, Reed has the somewhat rare combination of center field ability to go along with a plus arm. He racked up 12 assists in 2018 thanks to that arm and he showed off his range on a national stage, robbing his organization-mate Fernando Tatis Jr. with a spectacular catch in the Futures Game.

Video: WLD@USA: Reed wired up, makes great grab at the wall

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

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