It wasn't long ago that talent evaluators were raving about the San Diego Padres farm system. Some, including myself, believed that they had the best group in baseball. Unfortunately, that ranking has dropped precipitously, thanks in large part to the stalled development of their 2011 draft class and some unfortunate luck through attrition.
The Padres haven't had much luck with a large majority of their system this year, either, but they have seen the revitalization of former top prospect Rymer Liriano, who has earned a call-up with a strong 2014 season.
Considered by many to be the Padres' best prospects coming into the 2012 season, Liriano struggled in the second half that year, then missed all of 2013 after undergoing Tommy John surgery that February. Many young players struggle when missing that many at-bats at such a young age, but the 23-year-old outfielder put up a solid .264/.335/.442 line at Double-A San Antonio this year and then crushed pitching at Triple-A El Paso to the tune of a 1.182 OPS before receiving his promotion to San Diego.
"I see [Liriano as] a borderline five-tool player," an NL East scout said. "The only thing that I don't see as potentially plus is the hit tool, but I do think he can hit for average at the big league level; at least in the .260-.275 range -- maybe even a little higher. His bat speed is outstanding; and he has a trajectory in his swing that allows him to hit the ball out or into the gap at any part of the plate. He's not lightning quick, but he does have good speed and he's an aggressive runner on the bases. If he can stay healthy, I could see him being a 20/20 guy who can play a quality corner outfield."