After adding Francisco Mejia in Brad Hand trade, Padres have a loaded farm system that should pay dividends soon

The San Diego Padres haven't made the playoffs since 2006. They haven't enjoyed a winning season since 2010. They're currently on pace to have their worst season since then. Yet with Thursday's trade, which sent relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Francisco Mejia, the Padres have something to brag about: Their farm system.

Within the past week, both ESPN's Keith Law and Baseball Prospectus have released their midseason top-50 prospect lists. The Padres had at least five members on both lists before acquiring Mejia. Now, they have six of Law's top 38 prospects and seven of BP's top 48. Law also named a Padre as his No. 51 prospect. Here's a brief overview of those seven players:

  • SS Fernando Tatis Jr.: Law ranked him No. 1, calling him a "high-impact player" due to his offensive potential and chance to stick at shortstop. BP ranked him second. He should reach the majors next season.

  • C Francisco Mejia: The newest Padre, Mejia was placed fifth by Law and eighth by BP. He's hitting .279/.328/.426 in Triple-A and has a strong arm. He's already played in the majors and could take over behind the dish for Austin Hedges at any moment.

  • LHP MacKenzie Gore: Law put Gore sixth, while BP had him at no. 18. The main knock against him is that he's a teenage pitcher. Working in his favor is that he's big, athletic and has front-of-the-rotation potential if he can stay healthy.

  • SS/2B Luis Urias: Though Urias doesn't get the attention Tatis does, he was ranked in the mid-20s by both Law and BP due to his outstanding bat-to-ball and on-base skills.

  • LHP Adrian Morejon: Another teenage southpaw, Morejon needs to stay healthy. If he can, and if he can continue to add polish, then he could be a mid-rotation starter.

  • RHP Chris Paddack: Once acquired for Fernando Rodney, Paddack has a high-quality fastball-changeup combination and good control. Both lists had him in the 30s.

  • RHP Michel Baez: Law ranked Baez No. 51 while BP had him at 48. Either way, he's 6-foot-8 with a shot at sticking in the middle of a rotation down the road.

The Padres' embarrassment of prospect riches doesn't end with those seven, either. Per, San Diego's farm system currently houses 15 prospects with an overall future potential (or OFP) of 50 or better -- meaning, basically, that they project to be at least league-average players. Those 15 include three other pitchers with an OFP of 55: Right-handers Cal Quantrill and Anderson Espinoza, and lefty Logan Allen. What's more is that of those 15 players, nine have either debuted in the majors or are expected to before the 2019 season ends.

In other words, there's a significant amount of young talent nearing an arrival to Petco Park.

That doesn't mean the Padres will become good overnight -- prospects bust or disappoint all the time -- but it does mean that San Diego is getting closer to fielding a roster that could end their recent stretches of futility. So far as Padres fans are concerned, it's about time. 

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

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