Breaking down early trends for Padres' prospects

April 18th, 2024

This story was excerpted from AJ Cassavell’s Padres Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Minor League ball is a mirror to the Major League game -- a funhouse mirror. Results are distorted by extreme ballpark factors, players working on development at the expense of immediate outcomes and the psychology of players traveling divergent career directions.

That’s certainly not to say results are meaningless. It’s always a fun exercise to see what’s happening here and now compared with what’s projected for the players.

With that in mind, let’s look at the early trends up and down the Padres’ farm system:

Triple-A El Paso
• Corner infielder Graham Pauley, the Padres’ No. 8 prospect in the MLB Pipeline rankings, has three homers in only seven games since he was sent down from the big league club on April 9. With two barrels, he’s only one off the team lead.

• Utility infielder Clay Dungan, a pickup from the Royals in the Minor League portion of the Rule 5 Draft, shares the team lead with three barrels and is slugging .563. The left-handed hitter could be an option later in the season should Tyler Wade have more trade capital than value to the big league club once Manny Machado returns to third base.

• Outfielder Tirso Ornelas, a ranked prospect only weeks ago, is batting .088 with only one ball in play rated as “solid contact” by Statcast.

• Right-hander Jeremiah Estrada, who pitched for the Padres in Korea, is throwing in the high 90s and has struck out 11 of the 21 batters he has faced.

Double-A San Antonio
• First baseman Nathan Martorella (No. 13) is the club’s lone hitter off to a hot start, carrying a slash line of .385/.500/.513 with more walks (10) than strikeouts (nine).

• Outfielder Jakob Marsee (No. 9) is batting .140 through 43 at-bats. He was the Arizona Fall League MVP and made a run at a big league roster spot in Spring Training.

• Right-hander Adam Mazur (No. 7) has a 0.82 ERA through two starts.

• Righty reliever Woo-Suk Go, who was expected to handle important innings in the Majors, has been uneven (5.40 ERA) in four appearances, but picked up his first save last time out. He pitched into November in the KBO postseason and was slow-walked in Spring Training.

High-A Fort Wayne
• Center fielder Homer Bush Jr. (No. 11) has an OPS of .543 but is making things happen on the bases, with five steals in 10 games.

• Righty Dylan Lesko (No. 4) has allowed only one hit in seven innings across two starts, but control remains an issue (seven walks). He walked six in a single inning during the Spring Breakout game in March.

Single-A Lake Elsinore
• Jay Beshears, a sixth-round Draft pick out of Duke University just last summer, has a whopping 15 walks in nine games for a .622 on-base percentage. He has at least two starts at each of the four infield positions.

• Righty Isaiah Lowe (No. 25) has yet to allow a run in two starts, covering four innings. His 2023 was limited by shoulder problems.