Head headlines prospect package to Pirates
The Padres have flexed the strength of their farm system in recent weeks to acquire high-end Major League talent, and the organization went to the well again Monday to bolster its team at the top. San Diego sent four prospects to Pittsburgh -- headlined by the club's No. 7 prospect,
The Padres have flexed the strength of their farm system in recent weeks to acquire high-end Major League talent, and the organization went to the well again Monday to bolster its team at the top.
San Diego sent four prospects to Pittsburgh -- headlined by the club's No. 7 prospect,
Head was selected in the third round of the 2019 First-Year Player Draft by the Padres. The 19-year-old posted a .615 batting average at Churchill High School in Texas before being aggressively pursued by San Diego, leading to a record $3-million signing bonus for a third-rounder. Head proved to be worth the gamble as he posted a .283/.383/.417 slash line with 11 extra-base hits, 19 runs scored and 12 RBIs in 32 games in the Rookie-level Arizona League. The athletic center fielder from San Antonio boasts five plus-tools including 60-grade speed and a 55-grade arm. Head has showcased raw power and an advanced strike-zone awareness and could rise rapidly through a Pittsburgh's organization embracing a rebuild.
Cruz was signed as an international free agent out of Mexico in July 2017 at age 18. The left-handed starter made his full-season debut two years later with Class A Fort Wayne, posting a 2-2 mark over 10 starts. Cruz amassed a 2.76 ERA with 62 punchouts and 13 walks over 49 frames to finish his 2019 campaign in the Midwest League. The native of Hermosillo, Sonora, sports a three-pitch mix with above-average control and throws strikes. His fastball sits in the low 90s and he pitches off that with an above-average 12-to-6 curveball and an average changeup.
Headed home, Bednar should slot right into the Pirates bullpen. The Pittsburgh native was a diamond in the rough for San Diego after being taken in the 35th round of the 2016 Draft out of Lafayette College. Bednar worked his way to the California League in his third professional season and fanned 96 over 69 1/3 innings in 47 appearances with Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. The 26-year-old, with a 60-grade heater that blows hitters away, opened the 2019 campaign with Double-A Amarillo and continued his dominance in the Texas League with 86 punchouts in 56 frames. Bednar got called up to The Show and made his big league debut with the Padres that Sept. 1. The right-hander spent the majority of last season at the club's alternate training site, but still made four appearances out of San Diego's bullpen.
The Padres' sixth-round selection in 2019, Fellows tossed 270 innings over three seasons with Vanderbilt and posted a 3.80 ERA with 301 strikeouts over 44 career starts. Awaiting his professional debut, the 6-foot-5, 216-pound righty hurls a fastball typically in the mid-90s and a plus-slider with extraordinary spin rate in the low 80s that has a penchant for missing bats. The effectiveness of this pitch could make the 22-year-old a strong bullpen option and be his ticket to the fast track through the Pirates' system.
Rodriguez looked like a steal for the Mets after being signed for $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2018. The 20-year-old reported to the Dominican Summer League later that year and made his debut stateside in 2019 in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The switch-hitting outfielder has displayed good versatility with his ability to play catcher. Rodriguez possesses plus grades in fielding and hitting with an ability to spray the ball to all fields from both sides of the plate. His strong arm also plays well behind the plate. In 22 GCL games, the 6-foot, 170-pounder batted .293/.393/.453 with 11 extra-base hits, 14 runs and six RBIs.
Rob Terranova is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @RobTnova24.