16-year-old San Diego Padres prospect already drawing superstar hype and rave reviews

16-year-old Padres prospect already drawing superstar hype
from Adam Gretz, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com

The San Diego Padres set themselves up to be a contender in the National League with an All-Star-filled lineup, but the player drawing the most hype in camp is a 16-year-old prospect who is still probably a couple of years away from reaching the major leagues.

Ethan Salas, a 16-year-old catcher the Padres signed for more than $5 million on the international market, is stealing the show and has already been hyped as a potential superstar who could be San Diego’s regular starting catcher as a teenager.

A scout told the New York Post’s Jon Heyman that Salas is one of the best amateur catching prospects he has ever seen, with “big lefty power” and “unreal” defense that could turn him into a 10-time All-Star.

Salas is listed by MLB.com as the top international prospect heading into 2023.

Salas’ physical tools and young age are easy to dream on, but when you’re talking about a 16-year-old as a potential “10-time All-Star” and potentially being the everyday catcher of a Major League Baseball team within two or three years, you are setting an astronomically high bar that is not going to be easy to reach.

Nobody, not even the best scouts and player development people, know how players’ careers are going to turn out.

Sometimes players get hurt. Sometimes their tools do not develop as hoped. Sometimes they are simply not as good as we might think when they start actually trying to compete against big league talent.

The Padres have been one of the most fascinating teams to watch over the past few years. They have developed a strong farm system that not only produced Fernando Tatis Jr., but also a collection of prospects who gave them the assets needed to acquire a superstar like Juan Soto in a trade with the Washington Nationals. They have also been one of the most aggressive spenders in baseball by bringing in Manny Machado and Xander Bogaerts to round out their lineup.

They should be set up to compete in the National League for the foreseeable future.

The potential of Salas only adds to their intrigue over the next few years. If he becomes the player scouts hope he can, he could be a franchise-changing player for a team that has already invested heavily in other franchise-changing players.