Preller’s Penchant for Current and Former Top Prospects

The Padres signed Mike Olt to a minor league contract on Thursday.  No big deal right?  Just another scrub brought in for minor league depth.  Well… not really.  Mike Olt was formerly a top 25 prospect with the Rangers, the 3B of the future for them (ignoring the fact that he’s also an AJ guy having been drafted by the Rangers during AJ’s tenure).  Olt was a player that popped up in trade rumors for big name players like Matt Garza, which shows you the kind of value he once held.  Then of course 2014 and 2015 happened, and now he’s just looking for a place he could excel in AAA to get another crack at the big leagues.

Olt’s story, when isolated, sounds pretty typical: AJ Preller taking a chance on a flamed out top prospect that he scouted and drafted in a former life.  But when talking about AJ, he has shown a penchant for bringing in former and current top 100 prospects to the team and to Spring Training.  As I’ve said on the Gwynntelligence Podcast a few times, I believe that if you are going to take a chance on a young player, better to find one that has, or had, a top prospect pedigree.  In my opinion, top prospects have had the most scouting eyes on them that have watched them play.  With numerous skilled scouts having watched, evaluated, and rated him as a top prospect, I think there is less margin for error.  Of course there are flame outs.  For every Adrian Gonzalez, there is a Dewon Brazelton.  But in a game of chances, I’ll take the top prospect pedigree any day.

AJ has seen some initial success in bringing in flamed out top prospects in 2015.  Brett Wallace solidified the bench, and in the second half of the season, was one of, if not the best, hitter on the team.  Brett Wallace at one time was a Baseball America #27 prospect in all of baseball.  The Padres historically have shown success with picking up “busted” top prospects.  Two of the top hitters in the past 15 years for the Padres were Phil Nevin and Adrian Gonzalez, two former #1 overall draft picks that had lost their luster.  But they hadn’t lost the skills that hundreds of scouts had seen in them and deemed them worthy of a top draft pick.

Here’s a look at players in Padres Spring Training this  year and their peak Baseball America top 100 rating.  Jemile Weeks was included as he made top 100 lists as well, just not with Baseball America.  His rating is his peak ranking I found.  Of course, AJ didn’t acquire all of these players, but he didn’t get rid of them either.  Right?!

Jemile Weeks – #90

Brett Wallace – #27

Drew Pomeranz – #30

Cory Spangenberg – #90

Christian Bethancourt – #69

Derek Norris – #38

Hunter Renfroe – #73

Manuel Margot – #72

Wil Myers – #4

Andrew Cashner – #95

Austin Hedges – #27

Matt Kemp – #96

Melvin Upton – #2

Mike Olt – #22





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