Padres’ top prospects to stay with El Paso through playoffs
The Padres began Wednesday 19 games under .500, have reallocated their resources to longer-term assets and are not expected to be in a position to contend until at least a couple years from now. In a season in which they could finish with fewer than 70 wins for the first time since 2008, they have limited incentive to burn through major league service time for their best prospects.
The organization plans on keeping Triple-A El Paso’s top names — catcher Austin Hedges, outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot and infielder Carlos Asuaje — with the affiliate through the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Despite suffering their sixth straight loss Tuesday, the Chihuahuas had a seven-game lead in the PCL’s Pacific Southern division. The postseason begins Sept. 7, and the Triple-A championship game is Sept. 20.
In other words, don’t expect the above group to immediately join the Padres when rosters expand Sept. 1.
“We’ll probably get some reinforcements from a pitching perspective,” manager Andy Green said of upcoming call-ups. “As far as those premium guys that are down there, we want them to have the experience of playing in the playoffs. ... Playing in playoff atmospheres is great even at the Triple-A level, so kind of the expectation is those guys will play through there, and as an organization we’ll make a decision accordingly on each guy to determine what’s best for their future with our organization.”
At least two of the aforementioned prospects likely will be promoted immediately after El Paso’s postseason ends, assuming the Chihuahuas make it there.
Hedges, who exhausted his prospect eligibility while spending most of last season on the Padres’ bench, was hitting .345 with 18 home runs through Tuesday. Renfroe, the Padres’ first-round draft pick from 2013, was hitting .316 with a Triple-A-leading 28 home runs. Margot, the organization’s No. 1 prospect, was batting .306 with six home runs and 25 steals, while Carlos Asuaje, who played with Margot in the All-Star Futures Game at Petco Park, was at .322 with seven home runs and eight steals.
For now, the Padres prefer to see continued production from the quartet with a postseason berth on the line.
“I think you have to play every game with the anticipation of winning the baseball game,” Green said. “I think it’s a big part of culture. I’d love to see that shift within our organization. I think it’s starting to. Where I’ve been before, it was always one of the higher things of importance, learning how to win, learning how to win in the playoffs, learning how to win in pressure situations.
“Those types of atmospheres help their development in handling crucial situations at the major league level.”