7/27/2014 9:00 P.M. ET
Hedges remains No. 1 in Padres' Top 20 list
Southpaw Fried, righty Wisler also among best in San Diego's updated top prospects
By Teddy Cahill / MLB.com
With the passing of the Draft signing deadline, teams have had a recent influx of talent into their farm systems, and with that, we've updated the Top 20 Prospects lists of all 30 teams.
To be on a list, a player must have rookie eligibility. To qualify for rookie status, a player must not have exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the Major Leagues, or accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the 25-player limit period, excluding time on the disabled list or in military service.
Players are graded on a 20-80 scale for future tools -- 20-30 is well below average, 40 is below average, 50 is average, 60 is above average and 70-80 is well above average.
Check out all 30 team Top 20 lists and the Top 100 on Prospect Watch.
1. Austin Hedges, C
Preseason rank: 1
MLB Top 100 rank: 26 (Preseason: 24)
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 40 | Arm: 65 | Field: 65 | Overall: 60
Even coming out of high school, Hedges was known as an elite defender behind the plate. He quickly has become the best defensive catcher in the Minor Leagues, though his bat isn't as advanced as his glove.
Hedges is the complete package behind the plate, with quiet hands, good footwork and a strong arm. Though he's struggled offensively against more advanced pitchers in the Texas League, he is not an all-glove, no-bat player. Hedges' balanced swing produces line drives to all fields, and he has good raw power. Like most catchers, he is a below-average runner.
The Padres have pushed Hedges aggressively, and he has responded well. Though he still has plenty of room for improvement, he's well on his way to reaching his projection as an everyday catcher in the Major Leagues.
2. Max Fried, LHP
Preseason rank: 3
MLB Top 100 rank: 59 (Preseason: 43)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 65 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
Fried was teammates with Lucas Giolito in high school, and when injury befell Giolito in their senior season, Fried became the top high school pitcher selected in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He spent his first full professional season with Class A Fort Wayne, where his 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings ranked second among starters in the Midwest League. Fried's progress was delayed this year, however, as he missed the first three months of the season due to forearm soreness.
All three of Fried's pitches project to be at least Major League-average offerings. His fastball sits in the low 90s, and it routinely touches 95 mph. Scouts believe Fried will fill out his wiry frame. His power curveball is his best offspeed pitch, and his changeup has improved since his amateur days.
Fried has a good pickoff move, and he earns high marks for his athleticism. He has had some control problems as a professional, but he should be able to straighten those out as he gets more experience.
3. Matt Wisler, RHP
Preseason rank: 2
MLB Top 100 rank: 69 (Preseason: 78)
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 60 | Overall: 55
Due to his Ohio State commitment, Wisler was a difficult player to sign in the 2011 Draft. San Diego went well above slot to get a deal done with its seventh-rounder, and the club is now reaping the benefits. Wisler reached Triple-A El Paso as a 21-year-old this year after blowing through the low Minors.
Wisler throws his fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, with good movement. His slider is his best secondary pitch, and he also throws a changeup and a curveball. Wisler commands all of his pitches very well, walking 2.2 batters per nine innings in his first two full Minor League seasons.
Wisler earns praise for his poise and work ethic. Though he has been challenged by the older hitters and the difficult pitching environments of the Pacific Coast League, the Padres remain excited to see how good he can be.
4. Hunter Renfroe, OF
Preseason rank: 4
MLB Top 100 rank: 78 (Preseason: None)
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 60 | Run: 55 | Arm: 65 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55
As a high schooler in Mississippi, Renfroe was a raw toolsy catcher. He wound up in the outfield at Mississippi State, and he broke out in the Cal Ripken League in the summer of 2012. Renfroe built on that success in the '13 season, both in college and then in the Northwest League after being drafted 13th overall.
Renfroe was relatively raw for a former college star, but he quickly earned a promotion to Double-A San Antonio in his first full professional season. His above-average raw power is his most impressive skill, and he's showed it off in the Minor Leagues. Renfroe's swing has some length to it, and he'll have to prove he can adjust to more advanced pitching.
Renfroe has a strong arm, and he profiles well in right field. He earns praise for his athleticism and baseball instincts.
5. Trea Turner, SS
Preseason rank: None (2014 Draft)
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 35 | Run: 80 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
Turner teamed with left-hander Carlos Rodon at North Carolina State for three years, helping lead the Wolfpack to the College World Series in 2013. Turner's best tool is his top-of-the-scale speed, but he's more than just a burner.
With his wheels and his ability to make contact and control the strike zone, Turner has the tools to become a quality leadoff hitter. The key will be toning down his swing, which can get long, and his approach, which can get a little out of control. Turner can get homer conscious, and he would be best served by focusing on getting on base, where his speed and instincts make him a prime basestealing threat.
Turner has the quickness and arm strength to stick at shortstop, though he needs to improve his defensive consistency.
6. Rymer Liriano, OF
Preseason rank: 6
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50
Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013, Liriano had reached Double-A San Antonio, and he impressed scouts with his five-tool potential. He missed all of last year as he recovered, but, now healthy again, he's picked up where he left off with the Missions.
Like Renfroe, Liriano has good raw power, but he has a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. He's struck out more than 100 times in each of his professional seasons, and he'll need to refine his pitch recognition to make the most of his tools.
Liriano has solid speed, and he uses it well on the basepaths and in the outfield. Before the surgery, he was mostly a right fielder, but he has played mostly left field since returning. Liriano's offensive skills allow him to profile in any outfield position.
7. Jesse Hahn, RHP
Preseason rank: 13
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Hahn needed Tommy John surgery soon after being drafted in 2010, and it took him a while to get going in the Minor Leagues. He looked as good as ever when he finally did return to the mound in '12. The Padres acquired Hahn in January '14 as a part of a seven-player deal with the Rays, and he reached the Major Leagues a few months later.
Hahn's fastball sits in the low 90s, and he can reach back for more at times. All of his secondary pitches are solid offerings, giving him a full arsenal to attack hitters. Hahn throws from a good downhill angle, creating lots of ground balls.
Though Hahn has recovered from surgery, he has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. Though scouts have long felt he would eventually end up in the bullpen, San Diego believes he can start, and the early results have reinforced that belief.
8. Casey Kelly, RHP
Preseason rank: 5
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 5/6 | Overall: 50
The blockbuster trade that sent Kelly and two other prospects to San Diego in exchange for Adrian Gonzalez may seem like ancient history now, but Kelly should be ready for the big league stage. He made his Major League debut in August 2012, but he missed all of the '13 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery that April.
When he's healthy, Kelly creates plenty of ground balls, thanks to the heavy sinking action on his low-90s fastball. He also throws a solid changeup and a curveball, giving him three pitches that are Major League average or better.
Kelly is a phenomenal athlete, and he repeats his delivery well, giving him good command. He suffered a setback in his rehab this year, but when he's fully recovered from surgery, he should slide into the Padres' rotation.
9. Joe Ross, RHP
Preseason rank: 9
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
Ross is one of the many high-ceiling prep pitchers San Diego has grabbed in recent Drafts. His early results weren't indicative of his talents, but his tools started to line up with his performance this year, as he reached Double-A San Antonio as a 21-year-old.
Ross throws his fastball, which regularly hits the mid 90s, from a good downhill angle, creating lots of ground balls. His power slider gives him a second above-average pitch, but the development of his changeup will be critical to his future.
Ross was joined in the Padres' organization by his older brother, Tyson Ross, in 2013. Though it might still be a few years before Joe is ready to join him in the big leagues, he has the potential to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter in time.
10. Jose Rondon, SS
Preseason rank: 6 (LAA)
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 30 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
After two summers making stops at Rookie-level leagues, Rondon took full-season ball by storm this year. He jumped all the way to Class A Advanced Inland Empire, where he was thriving before the Angels included him in the package they sent to the Padres in exchange for Huston Street in July.
Rondon has already shown an innate ability to make consistent contact, with strike-zone discipline that far belies his age and experience. He's a singles hitter right now, but he should add some gap power as he continues to grow, and he did get taller and fill out this offseason. Rondon moves well in the infield, though lazy footwork at times can lead to throwing errors. It's possible he'll outgrow shortstop, but there's no reason to move him from the premium spot at this point.
Rondon's ultimate defensive home will be a discussion for later. For now, he's getting to show how he can hold up over the course of a full Minor League season.
11. Zach Eflin, RHP
Preseason rank: 11
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 55 | Overall: 50
Between a triceps strain before the Draft and a bout with mono after he signed, Eflin missed much of the 2012 season. He stayed healthy for his first full professional season, and he pitched well in Class A Fort Wayne's deep rotation. Even while advancing to the hitter-friendly California League this year, Eflin has continued to pitch well.
Eflin throws his fastball in the low 90s, and he can occasionally add a bit more velocity. He has advanced feel for his changeup, which might be his best pitch. At its best, Eflin's breaking ball is a solid third offering, though it has a tendency to get slurvy.
Eflin's whole arsenal plays up, thanks to his control and the good downhill angle he creates. He is built like a prototypical right-hander, and he has the look of a future middle-of-the-rotation workhorse.
12. Taylor Lindsey, 2B
Preseason rank: 2 (LAA)
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Lindsey has hit everywhere he's gone since the Angels drafted him 37th overall in 2010. San Diego hopes that will continue in its system after the club acquired him as part of the trade that sent Huston Street to Los Angeles in July.
Lindsey doesn't have any real standout tools; instead, he is a steady all-around performer. He has a knack for putting the bat on the ball, despite an unconventional timing mechanism in his swing. Lindsey is an aggressive hitter, and he has developed solid power as he has matured.
Lindsey is a below-average runner, limiting his range defensively. Still, he has the hands and footwork necessary to be an average defender at second base. Lindsey earns praise for his makeup, and he knows how to get the most out of his tools. He profiles as an offensive-minded second baseman.
13. Dustin Peterson, 3B
Preseason rank: 15
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 55 | Run: 45 | Arm: 45 | Field: 45 | Overall: 45
The Padres selected Peterson 38 picks after the Mariners selected his older brother D.J. Peterson in the first round of the 2013 Draft. Scouts believe Dustin is more advanced than D.J. was at the same age, and he might end up being more athletic, as well.
Peterson has a short, compact swing and a good feel for hitting. His excellent bat speed means he should develop solid power as he fills out.
Peterson was a shortstop in high school, but he moved to third base as a professional. Some scouts aren't sure that he profiles at third base, and they think he might be better suited for second base or the outfield. Wherever Peterson ends up defensively, his bat should be enough to carry him through the Minor Leagues.
14. Franchy Cordero, SS
Preseason rank: 12
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45
Cordero signed with the Padres as a 17-year-old in 2011. After a year in the Dominican Summer League, he led the Arizona Rookie League in slugging, and he finished fourth in the batting race in '13. Cordero struggled against older competition at Class A Fort Wayne this season, but he has looked much better since moving to short-season Eugene.
Cordero has a smooth left-handed swing and a good feel for the bat. He creates good bat speed, and he should develop solid power as he physically matures. Cordero is an above-average runner now, and he knows how to use his speed on the basepaths.
Cordero was a third baseman as an amateur, and his large frame means he may end up back there. But San Diego believes he can become a capable defender at shortstop, thanks to his good range and strong arm.
15. Reymond Fuentes, OF
Preseason rank: 16
Scouting grades: Hit: 45 | Power: 30 | Run: 65 | Arm: 50 | Field: 60 | Overall: 45
After being drafted by the Red Sox in 2009, Fuentes was included in the Adrian Gonzalez deal in December '10. After a disappointing start to his Padres career, Fuentes broke out in '13, playing in the All-Star Futures Game and making his Major League debut later that year.
Fuentes' swing is geared toward making contact, and his on-base skills made strides in 2013. He has well-below-average power, but he makes up for it with plus speed, and he's stolen at least 35 bases in each of his four full professional seasons. Fuentes covers ground well in center field, and he has an average arm.
Even if Fuentes' bat doesn't further develop, his speed, athleticism and defensive skills are enough to soon make him a Major Leaguer.
16. Jake Bauers, 1B
Preseason rank: None
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 55 | Overall: 45
Bauers is something of a late bloomer, and he didn't make the varsity team at Marina (Calif.) High School until his junior year. Despite his slow start, he established himself as an elite hitter in high school, and he has carried that over to the professional ranks, where he has excelled as an 18-year-old in the Midwest League. Bauers earns some comparisons to Daric Barton, a fellow Marina alumnus.
Bauers barrels up balls well with his short compact swing. He has shown some power already, and scouts believe he'll be able to unlock more as he physically matures.
Bauers is an excellent defender at first base, though he doesn't have the tools to play elsewhere. That means he'll have to keep hitting as he moves through the Minor Leagues.
17. Michael Gettys, OF
Preseason rank: None (2014 Draft)
Scouting grades: Hit: 40 | Power: 55 | Run: 70 | Arm: 70 | Field: 65 | Overall: 45
Gettys entered the spring with a chance to follow in the footsteps of Byron Buxton, Clint Frazier and Austin Meadows as a Georgia high school outfielder selected in the top 10 picks. Though his tools were among the best of any of this year's prepsters, he didn't perform as well as scouts had hoped, and he fell to the second round, where San Diego grabbed him 51st overall.
Gettys made waves on the showcase circuit last summer, running a 6.43-second 60-yard dash, clocking 100 mph on a throw from the outfield and working at 91-94 mph from the mound. He has an explosive swing to match his athleticism, giving him above-average raw power.
Gettys struggles to make consistent contact, especially against premium pitching. His combination of speed and power makes him an enticing prospect, if he is able to hone his hitting ability as a professional.
18. Burch Smith, RHP
Preseason rank: 8
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
Since being selected in the 14th round of the 2011 Draft, Smith has flown through the Padres' system, making his Major League debut in May '13. His early results in the Majors were mixed, but he finished the season strong. Smith's progress slowed this year, however, when he landed on the disabled list in April with forearm tendinitis.
When he's healthy, Smith's fastball sits in the low 90s, and it can reach 97 mph, with late cutting action that makes it difficult for hitters to square up. His changeup is the more consistent of his secondary pitches, though both it and his curveball are solid offerings. Smith had good control throughout the Minors, only to struggle with it in the Majors.
Smith's injury came when he appeared to be on the cusp of earning a more permanent role in the big leagues. Now, such a jump will have to wait until he proves he's healthy.
19. Joe Wieland, RHP
Preseason rank: 10
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Curveball: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 60 | Overall: 45
Originally Drafted by the Rangers, Wieland was dealt to San Diego for Mike Adams at the Trade Deadline in 2011. He made his Major League debut the next year, and he appeared to be on his way to establishing himself in the Padres' rotation before undergoing Tommy John surgery in July '12.
Before his injury, Wieland's fastball sat around 90 mph, with good late life. His curveball is his best secondary pitch, and his slider and changeup give him two more solid offerings. All of Wieland's stuff plays up, thanks to his exceptional command.
Wieland suffered several setbacks during his rehab, but he was able to return to the mound in July. If he's able to recover his pitchability, he could still make it to the big leagues as a starter.
20. Tayron Guerrero, RHP
Preseason rank: None
Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 40 | Control: 40 | Overall: 45
Guerrero was raw and lanky when San Diego signed him as an 18-year-old out of Colombia in 2009. It took him some time to figure things out on the mound, and the Padres were rewarded for their patience, as he took a big step forward this year, earning a spot on the World team at the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game.
Guerrero stands out the most for his powerful fastball, which has been clocked up to 100 mph and typically sits in the mid 90s. He combines it with a sharp hard slider that is an above-average offering at its best.
Like many tall pitchers, it has taken Guerrero some time to smooth out his delivery. He still likely will never pitch with great control, but his stuff is good enough to make him effective at the back of a bullpen.