The San Diego Padres have promoted catching prospect Ethan Salas to Double-A as part of a series of promotions across their minor-league system, according to Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Salas, who celebrated his 17th birthday on June 1, was just promoted to High-A on August 9. In nine games at that level, he's hit just .200/.243/.229 with no home runs and eight more strikeouts than walks in 37 plate appearances. Prior to Salas' promotion from Low-A, he had batted .267/.350/.487 with nine home runs, 35 RBI and five stolen bases in 220 trips to the plate.
Even with those middling marks, the Padres have decided Salas is ready for Double-A, or the level that most evaluators hold as the great separator between legitimate prospects and pretenders.
According to FanGraphs' data, Salas will become the youngest player to appear in a Double-A game this season. As it stands, five players in the midst of their age-19 seasons have received at least one plate appearance there: Tampa Bay Rays infielder Junior Caminero, Baltimore Orioles infielder Jackson Holliday, Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio, and Houston Astros infielders Yamal Encarnacion and Hector Nieves.
"Part of the way we've done it with the Padres," assistant farm director Mike Daly told Sanders earlier this month, "is we want to push the gifted."
Salas signed with the Padres in January for $5.6 million. The Padres have been aggressive with him since, even allowing him to see action in big-league spring training games as a 16-year-old.
Scouts have been impressed with how polished the young Salas is behind the plate. He also shows promise offensively, with some evaluators expressing the belief to CBS Sports that he could provide above-average production from the left side.
Salas' brother, Jose, is an infielder with the Minnesota Twins organization.