May 23, 2017 By Kyle Glaser
Manuel Margot, center, and Hunter Renfroe, right, celebrate a recent win with Travis Jankowski (Photo by Andy Hayt/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
NEW YORK—In the midst of an increasingly lost season, the Padres’ future is beginning to coalesce at the major league level.
The Padres promoted No. 11 prospect Carlos Asuaje from Triple-A El Paso on Tuesday, and manager Andy Green said No. 9 prospect Dinelson Lamet will make his first career start on Thursday against the Mets.
“It’s good to see young guys that you’ve played with before and come up with make it to the big leagues,” Renfroe said. “Obviously it’s a thrill to be here yourself. It’s a thrill to be playing with this many guys and to be in the same clubhouse as the guys you came up with. It’s fun.”
The present is unpleasant for the Padres. The own baseball’s worst record at 16-30 as well as an MLB-worst minus-85 run differential, a performance in line for a team that was widely expected to be the majors’ worst this season.
But there have been signs of promise. Margot leads all major league rookies in hits and has played a solid center field. Renfroe has rebounded from a brutal April to post an .832 OPS since May 2. Austin Hedges, a four-time Padres top 10 prospect now in his first full season, leads National League catchers with eight home runs.
And now with Asuaje and Lamet coming up, the first wave of Padres prospects is getting settled in the big leagues.
“The teams that get young talent at the major league level, there are growing pains. There are learning curves,” Green said. “Right now there is a learning curve (but) I like the intensity with which they’ve been attacking games here recently. I think they’ve been doing some really good things.”
Lamet is particularly notable as the Padres’ top pitching prospect above high Class A. The 24-year-old righthander went 3-2, 3.23 with 50 strikeouts in 39 innings at Triple-A El Paso this year and marks the beginning of what the Padres hope will be a steady rise of live-armed pitchers through the organization.
“It’s good stuff, it’s a live arm, it’s the kind of stuff that can shut an offense down,” Green said. “He’s a guy that’s had quality outing after quality outing at Triple-A with a ton of punchouts. We feel really good about how he’s throwing the ball and we felt like it was the right opportunity to give him a chance.”
The Padres will, in all likelihood, take their lumps this season. But the steady drip of top prospects being added to the big league roster provides a glimpse of hope for the future.
“It’s really great because now they’re realizing their dream the way I have,” Margot said through a translator. “They’re young guys but they deserve to be here. We all worked hard through the minor leagues together and to have everyone here is great.”
Read more at http://www.baseballamerica.com/majors/san-diego-padres-future-comes-into-focus-in-majors/#sE1T4qzJBrL4MYw6.99