The San Diego Padres made a bold move this week.
They assigned 16-year-old prospect Ethan Salas to Low-A ball, a move that could backfire, but could also accelerate his path towards the majors.
16-year-old prospects don’t usually play in A-ball: they are assigned to rookie ball, Dominican Summer League, or the Complex League just to cite a few examples.
However, San Diego is confident in Salas’ abilities and sent him out there.
In case you don’t remember, Salas is an elite catching prospect.
He showed it in his first game with his new team, going 2-for-4 with a double.
Here is the two-bagger, his first hit in pro ball:
Padres 16-year-old prospect Ethan Salas just picked up his first pro hit in his first at bat!pic.twitter.com/i3oWiLfP1r
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 31, 2023
Salas got a $5.6 million bonus for a reason.
He signed this year, in January, and received the highest bonus ever since baseball capped international spending pools.
Scouts rave about his loud tools.
His hitting ability was on display in that double, as he has incredible bat-to-ball skills and enough power to find the gaps (and the seats) often.
He has an advanced eye at the plate, and is also very good behind the plate.
He is also very athletic and has an incredible throwing arm.
He won’t be in MLB next year, but the fact the Padres are being so aggressive with Salas means that they are confident in his abilities.
They would love to see him succeed and, if necessary, make adjustments when pitchers figure him out.
He will be tested in A-ball.
If he succeeds, the team will likely keep pushing him until he hits a wall… if that ever happens.
Failing and adjusting is part of the path towards the majors.
The Padres are being aggressive, but they know what they are doing.NEXT: New Padres Broadcast Plan Instantly Boosts Exposure