By Illya Harrell on August 25, 2014
It's been an up-and-down year for the San Diego Padres' top prospects. Their system still ranks high, especially at their mid-and-lower levels. Here is a look at the Pads' current top-five prospects.
Renfroe is a converted catcher whose strong arm is now in right field for the Padres' double-A affiliate in San Antonio. Refroe has a big-time swing that generates lots of bat speed and tremendous raw power. Like all young power hitters, last year's first-rounder will be fine if he cuts down on his swing-and-miss ratio.
Max Fried is a great pitching prospect, so it's a shame no one will see him throw again until 2016. In early-August Fried fell victim to the pandemic of young arms in need of Tommy John surgery. Fried will come back and continue to throw a deceptive low-90s fastball, a nice tight curve and a plus-change. The young lefty needs to be patient and not rush his rehab.
Joe Ross' older brother Tyson made his first All-Star appearance in July for the Padres. The younger Ross was forced to deal with some 2012 injuries, and the Pads have shut him down for the rest of 2014 after getting a few starts in double-A. He features the same mid-90s velocity of his brother, a plus-slider and a change that need a bit of work. The Padres' rotation in 2017 could very well have Tyson as the ace and Joe as a back-end starter.
Wisler has cruised through every level of the minors and should win a spot in the San Diego rotation next season. The first thing one notices about Wisler is his impeccable control. The righty displays four quality pitches, a mid-90s fastball, curve, change and slider. Throwing games in Petco Park is a pitcher's dream. Wisler will be there next season and is in line for a possible September call.
Hedges is the best defensive catching prospect in years. He doesn't have the strongest arm ever, but it does grade as plus. What makes him stand out is a consistent 1.8-second pop time and great game calling. His swing is big and will provide power but not much average. The 2011 second-round pick has a chance to crack the Opening Day roster in 2015. If not, and barring injury, San Diego fans will get a look at him sometime next season.
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