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Top 30 San Diego Padres Prospects To Target In Dynasty

Our Top 30 Organizational Prospect Rankings are in full swing. In this article, we dive into the San Diego Padres system. The Padres have seen some stellar prospects come up through their system in recent years and have not shied away from moving them for win-now pieces. Regardless of the churn and burn approach to prospects you can’t deny the scouting department is one of the minor league’s best. For now, let’s dive into the top 30 San Diego Padres prospects to target in dynasty leagues.

If you aren’t playing your dynasty leagues on Fantrax, you’re missing out on the deepest player pool and most customization around. Just starting out in a dynasty league? Then check out Rick Haake’s Top-400 Overall Fantasy Prospects and Tyler Bowen’s Top-500 Dynasty League Rankings.

Top 10 Padres Prospects

Jackson Merrill, SS

(114 GP, .277/.326/.444, 15 HR, 76 R, 64 RBI, 15 SB)

The Padres’ first-round draft pick in 2021 was Jackson Merrill, a high schooler who was praised for his above-average bat-to-ball skills. During the 2023 season, Jackson Merrill ascended two levels, starting in High-A Fort Wayne where he slashed .280/.318/.444 with 10 home runs, 50 runs scored, 33 RBIs, and 10 stolen bases in 68 games. Merrill improved on his strikeout rate while in High-A, striking out 12.3% of the time down from 19.2% the year prior. After the promotion to Double-A San Antonio, Merrill continued to hit, slashing .273/.338/.444 with 5 HRs, 31 RBIs, and 5 stolen bases in 46 games. Once again Merrill showed excellent plate discipline walking at an 8.5% rate while striking out just 11.8% of the time.

For dynasty purposes, Merrill is a solid bat who will hit for average and bat at the top of the order potentially being a source of runs. I am worried that he won’t get to more than 10-HR power once in the major leagues and playing in Petco Park. His average walk rate also gives me pause if he will be a viable source of OBP long-term. I think he will be a solid “real-life” player but for dynasty purposes, I’m not completely sold.

Ethan Salas, C

(66 GP, .248/.331/.421, 9 HR, 40 R, 41 RBI, 5 SB)

One of the exciting storylines throughout the 2023 season was 17-year-old Ethan Salas. Not only did he start his pro career stateside at Low-A Lake Elsinore but being pushed to Double-A San Antonio by season’s end was amazing. The large majority of Salas’s games were in Low-A Lake Elsinore where he slashed .267/.350/.487 with nine home runs, 35 RBIs, and five stolen bases in 48 games with the Storm. Salas lived up to the hype right out of the gates, walking 10.9% and having a slightly elevated strikeout rate of 25.9% in 220 plate appearances with the Storm. Once promoted to High-A Fort Wayne, Salas played just nine games and slashed .200/.243/.229 with seven hits in 35 at-bats with just three RBIs.

The Padres then moved Ethan Salas to Double-A San Antonio to finish out the season. In nine games with the Missions, Salas slashed just .179/.303/.214 with only five hits and three RBIs in 33 plate appearances. For dynasty managers, this is all exciting but I want to taper expectations. Salas did not hit well in the 18 combined games between High-A Fort Wayne and Double-A San Antonio. I would expect the Padres to send Salas to High-A to start the 2024 season where he can catch up to the level of pitching which he did not do in 2023.

There is some pop in his bat that could be a plus as he develops but I would project him to top out around 20-25 home runs long-term with a solid average and OBP. The speed is alright now but I expect it to go down as he gets older. Salas could potentially contribute 10-12 stolen bases in the early years and go down from there. There is so much that goes into being a catcher at the major league level besides the stats and it would be unreasonable to believe he could match what Adley Rutschman has done over the last two seasons at just 17 years old.

Drew Thorpe, RHP

(23 GS, 139.1 IP, 182 K, 11.8 K/9, 0.983 WHIP, 2.52 ERA)

One of the key prospects coming over from the Yankees in the Juan Soto trade this off-season was Drew Thorpe. In his first professional season, Drew Thorpe was fantastic. Starting in High-A Hudson Valley, Thorpe struck out 138 batters in 109 innings pitched (11.39 K/9) with a .214 average against and a solid 2.81 ERA in 18 starts with the Renegades. Thorpe was soon promoted to Double-A Somerset where in five starts he struck out 44 batters in 30.1 innings pitched (13.05 K/9) with a .143 average against and finished with a stellar 1.48 ERA with the Patriots.

Drew Thorpe features a three-pitch mix with the change-up being the plus offering, Thorpe mixes in a slider that has solid movement and flashes plus at times, the fastball lags behind both of the secondary pitch offerings sitting in the low 90s but Thorpe locates it well and allows the change-up and slider to thrive. For dynasty purposes Thorpe’s ceiling profiles as an SP 2 with a floor of an SP 4 regardless this is a true starter profile and in the massive outfield of Petco Park Thorpe should be a target for you this off-season.

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Robby Snelling, LHP

(22 GS, 103.2 IP, 118 K, 10.2 K/9, 1.119 WHIP, 1.82 ERA)

Similar to Thorpe, the rise of Robby Snelling gives the Padres a true one, two-punch to add to the rotation in the not-so-distant future. Snelling ascended three levels in 2023 starting in Low-A Lake Elsinore where he struck out 59 batters in 51.2 innings pitched (10.28 K/9) with a .210 average against and finished with a 1.57 ERA across 11 starts with the Storm. Once in High-A Fort Wayne, Snelling continued his dominance, striking out 40 batters in 34.2 innings (10.38 K/9) with a .235 average against and finished with a 2.34 ERA with the Tin Caps. At both stops Snelling did a great job limiting the walks and keeping the ball in the ballpark as he had a 0.35 HR/9 in Low-A and a 0.26 HR/9 in High-A.

The Padres promoted Snelling to finish off the season in Double-A San Antonio. In four starts with the Missions Snelling struck out 19 batters in 17.1 innings pitched (9.87 K/9) with a .190 average against and finished with a 1.56 ERA. The walks crept up for Snelling in the small sample size in San Antonio to a 5.19 BB/9 but all the other underlying numbers looked good for Snelling as a whole. With a three-pitch mix in his fastball, slider, and change-up Snelling looked good in 2023 and profiles as a solid SP 2 as a ceiling and an SP 4 as the floor. At just 20 years old and currently at Double-A, there is a lot of excitement for Snelling going into the 2024 season.

Graham Pauley, 3B

(127 GP, .308/.393/.539, 23 HR, 98 R, 94 RBI, 22 SB)

One of this season’s high risers in the rankings was Graham Pauley. The third base prospect moved quickly this season starting the year in Low-A Lake Elsinore where he slashed .309/.422/.465 with four home runs, 50 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases to go with a 14.5% walk and strikeout percentage in 62 games played. The Padres promoted the 22-year-old to High-A Fort Wayne where he continued to crush the ball hitting 16 home runs and slashing .300/.358/.629 in just 45 games played. Finally, it was off to Double-A San Antonio where Pauley continued to hit slashing .321/.375/.556 with three home runs an 8% walk rate, and a 13.6% strikeout rate over 20 games played.

For dynasty managers, this is an amazing profile for your dynasty league power and speed coming from the third base position is a big target to get. Pauley helps in OBP as well as he doesn’t strike out much and the walk rate has stayed above average as he ascends through the minor leagues. To me, he looks like a major fixture for the Padres long term.

Samuel Zavala, OF

(115 GP, .243/.391/.406, 14 HR, 87 R, 77 RBI, 21 SB)

In most dynasty rankings Samuel Zavala skyrocketed up after the 2022 season and though he regressed to a certain extent Samuel Zavala should not be overlooked. The Padres sent Zavala back to Low-A Lake Elsinore where he slashed .267/.420/.451 with 14 home runs, 83 runs scored, 71 RBIs, and 20 stolen bases in 101 games played. What jumps off the page with Zavala is the 19.4% walk percentage best of his career so far. The promotion to High-A Fort Wayne didn’t go as smoothly for Zavala in just 14 games but I would expect him to start his age 19 season back in Fort Wayne in 2024.

For dynasty purposes this is an interesting profile at just 19 years old someone who could get to above average power between 20-25 home runs pop, Pair that with 20 plus stolen bases and excellent OBP is something to target in dynasty leagues. It would not surprise me with the Padres’ aggressive approach when it comes to prospects to see Zavala finish the season in Triple-A if he can handle the pitching back at High-A and Double-A.

Dylan Lesko, RHP

(12 GS, 33 IP, 52 K, 14.2 K/9, 1.545 WHIP, 5.45 ERA)

One of the top prep arms going into the 2022 MLB draft Lesko was taken 15th overall by the Padres. With an electric fastball that sits mid-90s and tops out at 98 mph two double-plus breaking pitches in his high spin rate curveball that sits in the upper 70s and filthy change-up that features two-plane movement and results in a ton of swing and miss. This lays the backdrop for Lesko who pitched in complex ball to start the season but moved through Low-A Lake Elsinore and finished in High-A Fort Wayne. Cutting out the five innings pitched at the complex Lesko was solid in the short sample size but a bit erratic.

The 12.94 K/9 in 16 innings pitch at Low-A and 15 K/9 in 12 innings pitched at High-A are bright marks on Lesko’s season. Unfortunately, the walks were an issue for the 19-year-old but only one year removed from Tommy John Surgery gives him a pass for me.

For dynasty leagues, Lesko has massive upside with a ceiling of an SP 1 but the floor could be a high-leverage reliever if the walks don’t get back in line. Watch Lesko’s 2024 season as he could bounce back to be a top-five pitching prospect if things go right for him by season’s end.

Jakob Marsee, OF

(129 GP, .274/.413/.428, 16 HR, 103 R, 46 RBI, 46 SB)

Padres scouting and development department strike again with Jakob Marsee who was taken in the sixth round of the 2022 MLB draft out of Central Michigan. Marsee played at two levels in 2023 starting in High-A Fort Wayne where he slashed .273/.413/.425 with 13 home runs, 91 runs scored, 41 stolen bases, a 17.4% walk percentage, and a 16.4% strikeout rate in 113 games played. The Padres promoted Marsee to finish out the season in Double-A San Antonio where he continued to hit. Marsee slashed .286/.412/.446 with three home runs, 12 runs scored, and five stolen bases while walking 15.9% and striking out just 21.7% of the time in 16 games played.

For dynasty purposes Jakob Marsee is must target this off-season as he should continue to move quickly. This profile is one that you can easily dream of 20 home runs and 35-plus stolen bases at the major league level with excellent plate discipline and high OBP contributions. Make him a priority now because there is a real chance he could make his debut by the end of 2024 and by then it might be too late.

Homer Bush Jr, OF

(44 GP, .325/.422/.440, 3 HR, 34 R, 17 RBI, 22 SB)

Selected in the fourth round of the 2023 MLB draft out of Grand Canyon University Homer Bush Jr has made his impact known early. The Padres were not going to hold him back once he started in complex ball slashing .409/.509/.614 with two home runs and 10 stolen bases in just 12 games played. Bush Jr was off to Low-A Lake Elsinore where he slashed .247/.369/.341 with one home run, and 11 stolen bases while walking 11.4% and striking out just 14.3% of the time in 24 games played with the Storm. The final promotion was to finish the season off in Double-A San Antonio where Bush slashed .429/.448/.464 in eight games played.

For dynasty managers, this is a fantastic first-year player draft target as there is a ton of stolen base potential paired with excellent bat-to-ball skills. The high walk rates ensure that Homer Bush Jr could be a solid contributor to OBP. Power although not a focal piece of Homer Bush Jr’s game is at least a solid 5-10 home runs which if he is giving you 30-plus stolen bases and other categories you will take it.

Adam Mazur, RHP

(24 GP, 18 GS, 96 IP, 90 K, 8.4 K/9, 1.188 WHIP, 2.81 ERA)

Full disclosure I had several prospects that could have slotted here at the 10-spot but I felt that starting pitching that has upside but a high floor is extremely important when it comes to deeper dynasty leagues. This brings me to Adam Mazur who was taken in the second round of the 2022 MLB draft by the Padres out of the University of Iowa. Mazur features a fastball, slider, and change-up pitch mix with the slider standing out above the rest. In his first professional season, Mazur pitched at High-A Fort Wayne where in 12 appearances (11 starts) he struck out 47 batters in 58 innings pitched (7.29 K/9) with a .227 average against and finished with a 2.02 ERA.

Obviously, the strikeouts were a bit low but what stood out was the 1.55 BB/9 Mazur had and the ability to keep the ball in the yard finishing with an 0.31 HR/9.

Adam Mazur was then promoted to Double-A San Antonio where his strikeout rate jumped. Across 12 appearances (seven starts) Mazur struck out 43 batters in 38 innings pitched (10.18 K/9) with a .299 average against and finished with a 4.03 ERA. Despite the high ERA, Mazur’s FIP was at a solid 3.01. Mazur relies on soft contact and his defense behind him and his ability to have low walk rates as well as home run rates make him an interesting prospect to have in your dynasty leagues.

Top 30 San Diego Padres Prospect Rankings

RnkPlayerPosAgeETAOverall Rnk
1Jackson MerrillSS20202424
2Ethan SalasC17202529
3Drew ThorpeRHP23202462
4Robby SnellingRHP20202467
5Graham Pauley3B/2B232024NR
6Samuel ZavalaOF19202597
7Dylan LeskoRHP20202593
8Jakob MarseeOF222024NR
9Homer Bush JrOF222025394
10Adam MazurRHP222025366
11Dillon HeadOF192026262
12Randy VasquezRHP25Debuted352
13Jairo IriarteRHP222025239
14Nathan Martorella1B232025362
15Eguy Rosario2B24DebutedNR
16Isaiah LoweRHP202026NR
17Daniel MontesinoOF202026NR
18Alek JacobRHP25DebutedNR
19Jagger HaynesLHP212026NR
20Tirso OrnelasOF232024NR
21Kevin KoppsRHP262024NR
22Rosman VerdugoSS/2B/3B192027NR
23Ryan BergertRHP232024NR
24Stephen KolekRHP26DebutedNR
25Victor LizarragaRHP202025NR
26Garrett HawkinsRHP242025NR
27Marcos Castanon3B/2B242025NR
28Yendry RojasSS192026NR
29Blake DickersonLHP182026NR
30Jay GroomeLHP25DebutedNR

For more of the great fantasy baseball rankings and analysis you’ve come to expect from FantraxHQ, check out our full 2024 Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit! We’re here for you all the way up until Opening Day and then on into your championship run.

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