The San Diego Padres farm system is bare after general manager AJ Preller completely overhauled the roster last season by gutting the farm and acquiring players to “win now.” That didn’t quite happen and the Padres are now left with the number-25-ranked minor league system, which ranks at the bottom fourth in baseball. The Padres also surrendered a first-round pick in 2015 (signing of James Shields) and also lost a compensatory pick (traded to Atlanta) and didn’t pick until the second round (pick 51) so there wasn’t much chance to rejuvenate a system that so badly needs talent.

But there are a few players who still are within the system and also some interesting choices Preller drafted as well. Take a look at the top three prospects who aren’t well known at the moment who could turn heads this coming minor-league season.

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Zak Darman

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  1. ballybunion

    You could probably find a couple more like the three you mentioned Zak. Where you went off the rails was with the conventional wisdom that Preller “gutted” a “top five” farm system, and that it’s bare, except for low level guys you just mentioned.

    Preller was charged with turning around a farm based on high floor, low ceiling prospects who would make it to the majors and maybe become everyday players, but no all-stars, and certainly no 4-5 tool franchise players. Preller traded #3-#4 pitchers and journeymen of the future because you can’t win without top talent.

    Preller knew what he was doing and made a couple key trades to beef up the top of the farm somewhat, pending cashing in a very deep draft and international period this year. He already had power hitting corner outfielders Hunter Renfroe, and Alex Dickerson, both a year away or less, and shortstops Ruddy Giron and Jose Rondon, bot 2-4 years away.

    Thanks to the trade of Kimbrel, the Padres have their CF of the near future (2017) in Margot, and their possible all-star shortstop (2018) in Javier guerra, as well as a possible #2 lefty pitcher 3-4 years away in Logan Allen. They also got young power pitcher De Los Santos in the Benoit trade.

    With the protected 8th pick in the draft and the resulting 24th and 25th picks for Upton and Kennedy, the Padres have, in effect, three first round picks, with two picks in the second round and their third round pick going at #84. That’s six high picks in a very deep draft, with a lot of college pitchers who can move up quickly.

    That wasn’t luck, that was part of Preller’s plant to clear out mid-level prospects and refill with the high upside prospects he prefers. The ’15 season was all about making the big change and turning around what was an historically bad offensive team in 2014. Preller did what he wanted to do and what was mandated by the owners: make the major league club fun to watch while developing top talent.

    Lots of things went wrong in 2015, mostly the things he barely touched, but actually improved – the rotation and bullpen. If he’s to be blamed for the team not competing for a wild card, all it was expected to do, it’s for not realizing even throwing veterans together doesn’t make it automatically play like a team, and it certainly doesn’t work when you fire the longtime manager who was obviously not the chosen one, and bring in an interim manager with no job security of his own.

    Preller plays everything close to the vest, so writers couldn’t get any hint about what his plan was. The result was the writers have demonstrated they didn’t do their homework on the Padres and what needed to be done, and applied tactics used by other teams in the past that didn’t match what Preller was actually doing. The bottom line is he had to tear down the old system to build a new one, while heeding the new owners’ requirement not to cheat the major league customers with a minor league roster. If it weren’t for the total pitching collapse in ’15, writers might have figured it out.


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