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"Fastball: 60. Slider: 60. Changeup: 60. Curveball: 55. Control: 60. TRACK RECORD: Gore led tiny Whiteville (N.C.) High to three state championships in four years and won BA’s High School Player of the Year award in 2017. The Padres drafted him third overall and signed him for a franchise-record $6.7 million to forgo an East Carolina commitment. Gore’s first full season was interrupted by recurring blisters that sent him to the injured list three times, but he flourished with full health in 2019. Gore posted the lowest ERA (1.69) and WHIP (0.83) of any pitcher in the minors who threw at least 100 innings despite spending the year at hitter-friendly high Class A Lake Elsinore and Double-A Amarillo, and he entered 2020 considered arguably the top pitching prospect in baseball. Gore looked sharp in spring training, but after the coronavirus pandemic shut camps down, he arrived at summer camp in July with his delivery out of sync. He spent the season at the alternate training site smoothing that out and improved toward the end of the year.
SCOUTING REPORT: Gore is a tall, lanky lefthander whose elite athleticism is the foundation of his success. His delivery features a lot of moving parts, including a high leg kick where he brings his knee nearly to his collarbone, hands raised high above his head and a slight turn away from the batter, but he generally has the strength and body control to repeat his mechanics. Gore explodes out of his delivery with tremendous extension that helps his stuff play up. His fastball ranges from 91-96 mph and sits at 93-94. The pitch gets on hitters faster than they expect, resulting in a lot of late swings and misses in the strike zone. Gore’s 83-87 mph slider with tight spin and late break is another plus pitch he can locate to both sides of the plate, but there are days his 76-79 mph curveball with late, 1-to-7 snap is his better breaking ball. He rarely has a feel for both of them in the same game and often has to pick one. Gore’s 79-83 mph changeup features late sink at the bottom of the zone and is another plus pitch the few times he throws it. Gore throws everything for strikes with plus control when he’s right, but his delivery fell out of rhythm over the summer. Different observers alternately saw problems with his direction to the plate, his upper and lower body being disconnected and inconsistent timing with his arm stroke and release point. The result was a velocity drop into the low 90s and sharply reduced command. Gore worked through the summer to get back in sync and began looking more like his best self by the end of the season. He still is working to get all four of his pitches working at the same time.
THE FUTURE: Gore’s ability to throw four quality pitches for strikes gives him front-of-the-rotation potential, but he’s going to have to maintain his high-maintenance delivery. The Padres plan to take it slow and start him back at Double-A in 2021.
Hitting: 70. Power: 50. Running: 80. Fielding: 60. Arm: 50. TRACK RECORD: The Padres considered Abrams the top prep shortstop in the 2019 draft and were thrilled he fell to them at the sixth overall pick. After signing for $5.2 million, Abrams hit .401 in the Rookie-level Arizona League to win the league’s MVP award and received a promotion to low Class A Fort Wayne. He spent 2020 at the alternate training site and excelled against older competition before finishing the year with a dominant showing at instructional league.
SCOUTING REPORT: Abrams has a rare blend of elite athleticism and a gifted feel for hitting. His flat, fluid swing consistently produces hard contact and allows him to drive the ball wherever it’s pitched. Abrams has the direct stroke and bat speed to hit any fastball and the hand-eye coordination to barrel secondary pitches even when he’s fooled or off-balance. He occasionally chases off the edges of the plate, but he rarely swings and misses in the strike zone. A potential .300 hitter, Abrams has the long, lean frame to add strength and reach 20-home run power at maturity. His elite speed makes him a premier stolen base threat. Abrams has rapidly improved defensively at shortstop. He makes highlight-reel plays with his wide range and reliable hands, though his short, low-slot throwing stroke and average arm strength fit better at second base. Evaluators believe Abrams could excel in center field as well.
THE FUTURE: Abrams has the skills to be a dynamic talent atop the order. The Padres believe he’ll move quickly in 2021.
"Hitting: 55. Power: 60. Running: 30. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55. TRACK RECORD: Campusano suffered a concussion shortly after the Padres drafted him in 2017 and had a season-ending concussion in 2018. He stayed healthy in 2019 and won the high Class A California League batting title (.325) and co-MVP award. He made his big league debut in 2020 and homered in his first game before missing the rest of the season with a left wrist sprain. In October, Campusano was arrested and charged with felony marijuana possession in Georgia.
SCOUTING REPORT: Campusano is one of the strongest players in the Padres’ system. He occasionally swung a 40-ounce bat in games in the minors and still demonstrated some of the best bat speed among his peers. Campusano pummels baseballs on a line from foul pole to foul pole and is progressively learning to elevate for home runs. He’s aggressive and swings hard, but he stays within the strike zone to limit his strikeouts and draws plenty of walks. Campusano has a strong, flexible lower half behind the plate and lost 10-15 pounds to improve his quickness. He’s an excellent blocker and has improved his receiving to average to go with above-average arm strength.
THE FUTURE: Campusano’s upcoming legal proceedings cloud his future. On talent, he could be an everyday catcher who hits in the middle of the order.
Fastball: 60. Slider: 50 . Changeup: 60. Curveball: 60. Control: 45. TRACK RECORD: Morejon was the star pitcher on Cuba’s junior national teams and signed with the Padres for a franchise-record $11 million in 2016. He battled a series of arm injuries after signing, including a season-ending shoulder injury after his major league debut in 2019, but he stayed healthy in 2020 and posted a 4.66 ERA as a long reliever and spot starter for the Padres.
SCOUTING REPORT: Morejon has long had premium stuff from the left side. His fastball sits 94-96 mph as a starter and touches 99 in short bursts with remarkably little effort. He’s begun repeating his release point on his 79-82 mph curveball to make it a consistent plus offering that sweeps across the plate and finishes with sharp, late drop at the bottom of the strike zone. Morejon has a traditional changeup with sink and run, but his diving, swing-and-miss knuckle-change is the better offspeed pitch and has taken a more prominent role in his arsenal. He also introduced a vertical slider in 2020 that shows promise but is the clear final pitch in his arsenal. Morejon pitched with more confidence and improved his strike-throwing in his second stint in the majors, but he’s still working on fastball command. He frequently leaves his fastball up over the plate and gets hit hard. He also has never pitched more than 65.1 innings in a season.
THE FUTURE: Morejon has potent stuff, but his durability and command are questions. He will try to win a rotation spot in 2021.
Hitting: 55. Power: 45. Running: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50. TRACK RECORD: Kim showed rare athleticism from an early age and became an everyday shortstop at 19 years old in the Korea Baseball Organization, South Korea's major league. He quickly drew MLB scouts’ attention and blossomed into one of the country's biggest stars from 2015-20, averaging more than 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases per season. Kim saved his best for last and hit .330 with a career-high 30 home runs, 109 RBIs and 23 stolen bases for Kiwoom in 2020. The Heroes posted him after the season and he signed a four-year, $28 million contract with the Padres.
SCOUTING REPORT: Kim will likely face an adjustment period in the U.S., but he has the tools and athleticism to be an impact player over time. He’s an athletic, instinctual defender who plays a solid shortstop and has the versatility to play second or third base. He puts himself in good positions to make throws and has average arm strength, with the ability to reach back for more as needed. Kim rarely faced fastballs above 90 mph in Korea and may struggle initially against MLB pitching, but he has a good swing and the twitch and athleticism to adjust and eventually be an above-average hitter. He has the power to drive balls out to his pull side and projects for around 15 home runs, though he will get pull-happy at times and can struggle with pitches moving away from him. Kim previously flashed plus speed, but in 2020 he clocked more average run times. He still adds value on the bases as a capable basestealer with good jumps and instincts.
THE FUTURE: Kim’s well-rounded skill set allows him to impact the game in a variety of ways. He has the ability to be anything from an everyday infielder to a multi-positional regular.
Fastball: 60. Slider: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 60. TRACK RECORD: The Padres went above industry consensus to draft Weathers seventh overall in 2018. He battled arm fatigue and conditioning issues in his first full season, but he rewarded the Padres in 2020. Weathers arrived at summer camp throwing 4-5 mph harder and impressed all summer at the alternate training site. The Padres put him on their National League Division Series roster despite the fact he had never pitched above low Class A, and he became the second pitcher ever to make his big league debut in the postseason.
SCOUTING REPORT: Weathers is the son of former reliever David Weathers and shows the polish often seen in big league progeny. He shows an advanced feel for sequencing, is rarely fazed by pressure situations and calmly locates his entire arsenal to both sides of the plate. After previously sitting 88-92 mph, Weathers’ fastball jumped to 92-95 over longer stints and 95-97 in short bursts with carry through the strike zone in 2020. His slider also became a tighter, harder pitch in the mid 80s and his changeup with heavy fade remains potentially above-average, though he’s sometimes too firm with it. Weathers has a portly, heavyset frame, but he’s deceptively athletic and repeats his delivery for plus control.
THE FUTURE: The Padres internally compare Weathers to Hyun-Jin Ryu as a hefty lefthander who effectively locates his entire arsenal. He still has to show he can hold his improved stuff over a full season and will begin 2021 back in the minors.
Hitting: 60. Power: 50. Running: 55. Fielding: 55. Arm: 55. TRACK RECORD: Hassell’s precocious hitting ability first rose to national prominence when he played for Tennessee in the 2013 and 2014 Little League World Series. He later hit .514 to lead USA Baseball’s 18U National Team to the silver medal at the 2019 World Cup, cementing his status as the top high school hitter in the 2020 class. The Padres made Hassell the first prep player drafted, No. 8 overall, and signed him for $4.3 million to forgo a Vanderbilt commitment. He reported to the alternate training site before finishing up with a strong showing at instructional league.
SCOUTING REPORT: Hassell has a picturesque lefthanded swing geared for contact. It’s an easy, loose, direct swing, and he has a preternatural ability to manipulate the barrel and cover all parts of the strike zone. Hassell has excellent strike-zone discipline and projects to be at least a plus hitter, but his lean, thin frame raises questions about his power potential. His long limbs and big hands provide hope he can add enough strength to reach 15-20 home runs. Hassell is an average runner down the line and ticks up to above-average in center field, where he glides naturally to the ball as an above-average defender. He touched 92 mph as a pitcher and has the arm strength for right field if needed.
THE FUTURE: Hassell’s pure hitting ability gives him an excellent foundation. His physical development will determine if he reaches his All-Star potential.
Hitting: 50. Power: 55. Running: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55. TRACK RECORD: Head played quarterback at his San Antonio high school and didn’t draw baseball scouts’ attention until he hit .645 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs his senior year. The Padres drafted him in the third round and signed him for $3 million, a then-record for a third-rounder. The Padres brought Head to their alternate training site in 2020, but he was limited by a recurring hamstring injury.
SCOUTING REPORT: Head is one of the best athletes in the Padres’ system. He’s a lean, twitchy athlete who is a plus runner, has explosive bat speed and is ambidextrous—he threw with his right hand when he rolled right and threw with his left hand when he rolled left as a quarterback. Head has a lot of extra movement in his swing, leading to questions whether he’ll catch up to upper-end velocity. He drives balls with authority when he does connect and flashes surprising plus raw power out of his lean frame. Head is extremely aggressive on both sides of the ball. He needs to rein in his approach, and evaluators expressed concern he could hurt himself with how aggressively he plays center field. He’s a potential above-average defender with an above-average arm when he plays under control.
THE FUTURE: Head has plenty of athleticism, but he still has to prove he can make consistent contact against advanced pitching. He’ll get the chance to show he can in 2021.
Hitting: 50. Power: 30. Running: 60. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50. TRACK RECORD: Marcano is the son of famed Venezuelan player Raul Marcano and signed with the Padres for $320,000 in 2016. After hitting .366 in his stateside debut, Marcano finished tied for fifth in the Midwest League in hits in his first full season in 2019 and hit .370 in the California League playoffs after being promoted. The Padres brought him to their alternate training site in 2020.
SCOUTING REPORT: Marcano is extraordinarily lean and lacks power, but he knows who he is and doesn’t try to do too much. He’s a smart hitter who controls the strike zone and makes consistent contact with a direct, compact stroke. He lines the ball to all fields and is a prolific bunter with a great feel for when to lay one down, including on squeeze plays. He beats bunts out for singles with his plus speed, but he makes poor decisions on the basepaths and frequently gets picked off or caught stealing. Marcano is an average defender whose best asset is his versatility—he is solid at third base and second base, can fill in at shortstop and began playing left field and first base at the alternate site.
THE FUTURE: Marcano is frequently described as a winning player who does the little things that make a difference. His contact skills and versatility have him ticketed for a utility role.
Fastball: 60. Slider: 30. Changeup: 55. Curveball: 30. Control: 45. TRACK RECORD: Baez briefly pitched in Cuba’s major league, Serie Nacional, as an 18-year-old before leaving the island. He signed with the Padres for $3 million in December 2016. Baez worked as a starter in the low minors, but he broke into the majors as a reliever with the Padres in 2019. Expected to take on a bigger bullpen role in 2020, Baez instead regressed and spent most of the season at the alternate training site.
SCOUTING REPORT: Baez is physically enormous at nearly 6-foot-8, which is both a blessing and a curse. He generates easy 94-97 mph fastballs with his natural strength but struggles to keep his big body and long limbs in sync, resulting in inconsistent mechanics and wide fluctuations in his velocity and his control. Baez’s breaking balls stalled in their development and remain well below-average pitches, leaving him to rely almost entirely on his fastball and above-average 86-88 mph changeup. He’s also had minor back or shoulder injuries every year since he signed.
THE FUTURE: The Padres haven’t given up on Baez as a starter, but his breaking balls and control need to come a long way for him to stick in the rotation. If they don’t, his fastball-changeup combination gives him a chance to stick as a reliever.
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