As Padres general manager A.J. Preller has said time and time again, the organization is in a stage of rebuilding. They are focused on developing their young talent in the minors to one day have a Major League team worthy of a World Series title.
The talent at the Minor League level has been the subject of discussion through entire 2017 season, which is fitting as three of the Padres’ four full-season minor league affiliates opened postseason play this past Wednesday.
The defending Pacific Coast League Champion El Paso Chihuahuas completed a three-game sweep of Reno Friday night to earn a berth in the Triple-A PCL Championship Series for a second straight season. Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe spent the majority of the season playing at the Major League level, but was sent down to El Paso late in the season for a refresher course. He has played a pivotal role in the Chihuahua’s success this season, just as he did last year. Since his return to El Paso, Renfroe is hitting .509 (28-for-55) with seven doubles, a triple, four homers, 18 RBIs and 18 runs scored.
The Double-A San Antonio Missions finished the regular season with a 79-62 record with players like right-fielder Franmil Reyes and Luis Urias leading the team. Reyes led the Texas League with 25 homers and finished second with 25 RBIs, while Texas League All-Star second baseman Luis Urias led the league in on-base percentage (.398) and finished sixth in batting average (.296).
The Missions currently have two of the Padres’ top prospects from the 2017 draft, Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr., as well as three top prospects from the 2016 draft: second-ranked prospect Cal Quantrill, Padres No. 8 prospect Eric Lauer, and No. 9 prospect Joey Luchessi.
Even with the enormous amount of talent this team has, their bullpen has been shaky as of late, which led partly to their loss of the five-game series with Midland on Sunday for the Texas League Southern Division title. Although they did not come out on top, the Padres Front Office still has a lot to look forward to from them in the coming seasons as they develop their skills and gain more experience.
The Single-A Fort Wayne TinCaps defeated the Dayton Dragons 2-1 in the Midwest League Eastern Division Championship Series, and will play for the league title against the Quad Cities River Bandits starting on Wednesday.
Fort Wayne had the youngest roster in the league to start the season. The young talent the TinCaps have include starting pitchers Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon of Cuba and Pedro Avila of the Dominican Republic. Morejon is rated the Padres’ No. 6 prospect while Baez is rated No. 7. Third baseman Hudson Potts also finished strong for Fort Wayne and has 20 homers and 69 RBIs with a .253 batting average.
Although the Padres are officially eliminated from playoff contention and stand in third place in the NL West, rising stars like center-fielder Manuel Margot and right-handed pitcher Dinelson Lamet have added excitement and dimension to the Major League team. They are some of the first players from A.J. Preller’s plethora of young talent to come up from the Minor League level and find success in the majors, but certainly will not be the last.