Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Padres top prospects 2022: CJ Abrams and Robert Hassell top San Diego’s farm system

Major League Baseball’s owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league’s first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn’t mean we’re letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 50 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation. 

That journey finds us today focusing on the San Diego Padres‘ farm system. 

Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.

Now, onto the gasbaggery. 

1. CJ Abrams, SS, No. 10 on top 20

Abrams, yet another member of that vaunted 2019 draft class (he was selected sixth overall), may have made his big-league debut late last season had he not broken his leg and sprained his MCL as part of a June collision. Prior to that incident, he had hit .296/.363/.420 with 16 extra-base hits and 13 stolen bases (on 15 tries) in 42 contests at the Double-A level. It’s to be seen if Abrams’ elite speed will be impacted by his injuries. Provided the answer is “no,” he could slot into the Padres’ lineup early next year as a hit-over-power option at either of the middle-infield positions.

2. Robert Hassell III, OF

The Padres were known to be big fans of Hassell heading into the 2020 draft, so it wasn’t too surprising when they selected him with the eighth pick. He’s since rewarded their faith by hitting .302/.393/.470 in his first professional season — that despite celebrating his 20th birthday in mid-August. While it seems like a given that Hassell, who has a mature approach and feel for contact, is going to provide offensive value, it’s not as certain where he’ll play in the outfield. The Padres used him almost exclusively in center field last season, and it’s fair to think that’s the plan for now.

3. Luis Campusano, C

Campusano, who has appeared in 12 big-league games over the last two seasons, should be in line for a more substantive look sooner than later. He spent most of 2021 in Triple-A, where he batted .295 /.365/.541 and tied his single-level high with 15 home runs. Campusano’s power surge was the product of a sweeping change to his offensive profile. Not only did he hit the ball in the air more frequently, he also pulled the ball more often. (He struck out at a higher rate than he was accustomed to as well, albeit only 20 percent.) Campusano has a strong arm and projects to be a fine defender behind the plate. His bat, then, is likely to remain his calling card moving forward. 

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