Padres spring training notes: Merrill stands out, Musgrove muscles up
Padres top ranked prospect leads diminished farm system
PEORIA, AZ — The Padres remain locked into a remake of their middle infield, thanks to the acquisition of shortstop Xander Bogaerts.
Having a 281 million dollar superstar isn’t a deterrent to 19th ranked prospect Jackson Merrill – it has the Maryland native seeing stars.
“I grew up a Red Sox fan so working with Xander has been really sick,” Merrill said. “He’s one of the guys I watched grow up.”
“At Fanfest, [Xander asked] if I was coming for him…I said no, I’m coming to play with you.”
When the Padres added key pieces like Juan Soto and Josh Hader to their star-studded lineup, it required giving up a chunk of their future assests. Untouched in the raid on the Padres farm system is Merrill, the team’s first overall draft pick in 2021. Merrill spent last year not too far from San Diego, hitting .325 in 45 games with Lake Elsinore.
“He does not look like he’s 19 right now,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s one of those kids that’s farther along at his age than others. With Xander going to be gone [for the World Baseball Classic] and Ha Seong too, he’s gonna get some games in spring training.”
-Spotted at the bullpen area today – Padres starters Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, and Adrian Morejon all had extended time working with the new pitch clocks. The Padres may experiment with a six man rotation in 2023, thanks to adding Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha to the roster.
-Wacha is expected to join the tam and be announced on Friday. The 31-year-old right hander had a comeback year with the Red Sox in 2022, going 11-2 with a 3.39 ERA.
-Also expected to report to Peoria tomorrow: Manny Machado. Position players that will be a part of the World Baseball Classic are required to be at their spring training sites by Thursday, and Machado is scheduled to play with the Dominican Republic next month, where new Padres designated hitter Nelson Cruz is the general manager of the team.
-Along with Merrill, more minor leaguers are coming to camp. The Athletic’s Keith Law recently ranked the Top 20 prospects in the Padres system.
-More on Musgrove: he’s feeling good after taking his trip to Antartica to set a pitching world record. “I felt really good with the training….just put a big emphasis with the cardio,” the expected number two starter said. More comments from Musgrove can be found below.