Through the first week of baseball's regular season, the San Diego Padres have been one of the most exciting teams to watch. Andy Green's bunch is off to a 3-3 start, due in large part to quality performances from their young starters.

There's no telling if the Padres will remain competitive in the National League West heading forward, but they ought to sustain their watchability thanks to an impressive core of rookies -- chief among them shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. and right-handed pitcher Chris Paddack. Though Tatis hasn't yet made a huge impact on the field, he will in time. Paddack, for his part, struck out seven while permitting two hits and a run across five innings in his big-league debut on Sunday.

This, then, is a good time to remind everyone that the Padres acquired Tatis and Paddack in a pair of trades back in June 2016. First San Diego netted Tatis and pitcher Erik Johnson from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for James Shields. A few weeks later, the Padres closed out June by sending reliever Fernando Rodney to the Miami Marlins for Paddack.

Neither Tatis nor Paddack were considered top prospects at the time. In fact, Tatis was 17 and hadn't appeared in a regular-season game with the White Sox organization. Paddack had pitched for the Marlins system, appearing in 17 games in the year since he was drafted in the eighth round. Yet as both players have matured, they've proved that good things can come to teams who have patience and do their best to scout the lower levels of the minors.

Oftentimes, teams who are rebuilding aim for prospects closer to the majors. It makes sense. Those players tend to be older with more professional experience, enabling scouts to peg their future range of outcomes with more certainty. The flip side is that prospects like Tatis and Paddack would've never been made available in trades for Shields and Rodney if their chances of reaching their ceilings appeared as great then as they do now.

For evidence of that, consider that FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen evaluated both prospects when they were traded and has given them upgraded grades this spring. The evaluations have changed in some ways -- Tatis seems surer to remain at shortstop, for example -- but overall Longenhagen's grades back in 2016 compare favorably to the current ones. Take a look:

TatisThen "Future"Now "Future"PaddackThen "Future"Now "Future"

Hit

50

50

Fastball

60

60

Game power

50

60

Curveball

50

50

Run

45

50

Changeup

65

70

Field

45

55

Command

50+

60

Throw

60

60

Give Longenhagen credit for good prognosticating, and give the Padres credit for good scouting and good self-awareness. They probably could've dealt Shields and Rodney for players who were higher on public lists and closer to the majors, enabling them to look better to the press and their fan base. Instead, they took on greater risk in the name of greater reward. Right now, it looks like a savvy decision by A.J. Preller.

Of course, the Padres aren't the only team that has shifted its sights to the lower minors. The Houston Astros, for instance, have done well over the years to nab players further down the ranks who have later blossomed into quality prospects -- like David Paulino, Francis Martes and Yordan Alvarez. Don't be surprised if rebuilding clubs like the Baltimore Orioles follow suit with the high-variance strategy, as well, all the while hoping to land a Tatis or Paddack of their own.