The Padres have selected the contracts of left-handed pitcher MacKenzie Gore, right-handed pitchers Efrain Contreras and Steven Wilson, as well as infielder Eguy Rosario per a team announcement. In a corresponding move, outfielder Jorge Oña and Reggie Lawson have been outrighted to Triple-A El Paso. Their 40-man roster is currently full following these transactions.
Gore’s stock has fluctuated wildly in recent seasons. The #3 overall pick in the 2017 draft out of a North Carolina high school, he dominated in the low minors and quickly emerged as one of the game’s top prospects. The southpaw has entered each of the past two seasons among the game’s top ten farmhands, in the estimation of Baseball America, with the evaluators suggesting he had the chance to be a rare #1 caliber arm.
Over the past two seasons, though, Gore’s stock has taken a rather significant hit. There were rumblings of control issues at the alternate training site in 2020, and Gore spent a good chunk of 2021 at the team’s complex facility trying to iron out his mechanics. He only logged 34 cumulative innings between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A.
Certainly, there was no chance of the Padres leaving Gore unprotected in the Rule 5. But it remains to be seen how much they can depend on him going into 2022. The organization likely envisioned Gore as a potential rotation option coming into 2021, and his issues in the minors loomed even larger as the big league staff was crushed by injuries. Getting the 22-year-old back on track is no doubt one of the top offseason priorities for the club’s development staff.
Contreras missed the entire season recovering from a November 2020 Tommy John surgery. Baseball America nevertheless ranked him the Friars’ #18 prospect midseason, calling the 21-year-old a potential back-end starter with plus control.
Wilson, 27, was an eighth-round pick out of Santa Clara in 2018. BA ranked him 30th in the system, praising his mid-90s heater. He pitched to a 3.43 ERA with a huge 40.1% strikeout rate with Triple-A El Paso and could be a big league bullpen option next season.
Rosario, 22, is the #19 prospect in the system according to BA. He’s a hit-first infielder whose bounced around the diamond in the minors. Rosario posted a strong .281/.360/.455 mark with 12 homers in 481 plate appearances with Double-A Amarillo.
Turning to the outrighted players, both Ona and Lawson were once well-regarded prospects themselves. They’ve got little to no big league experience, though. Ona has just 15 plate appearances at the highest level (all in 2020); Lawson has topped out at Double-A. Both had injury-wrecked 2021 seasons in the minors and will now have to work their way back onto the 40-man.