San Diego Padres top 10 prospects for 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. - JULY 15: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the World Team looks on during batting practice at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on Sunday, July 15, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Fernando Tatis Jr.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - JULY 15: Fernando Tatis Jr. #23 of the World Team looks on during batting practice at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on Sunday, July 15, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images) *** Fernando Tatis Jr. /
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San Diego Padres
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 23: San Diego Padres catcher Francisco Mejjia (27) throws to second base during a MLB game between the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 23, 2018 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

3. Francisco Mejia, C

Birthday: 10/27/1995 (23)
Acquired: Trade with Cleveland Indians, July 2018
Level(s): AAA Columbus, AAA El Paso, MLB Cleveland Indians, MLB San Diego Padres
Statistics: Minors: .293/.338/.471, 110 G, 468 PA, 30 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 5.3% BB, 17.7% K; Majors: .179/.258/.375, 21 G, 62 PA, 2 2B, 3 HR, 8.1% BB, 30.6% K

The sole return for the San Diego Padres as they traded away two relievers, including closer Brad Hand, in July of 2018, Francisco Mejia first jumped on the scene for prospect folks when he had a 50-game hit streak in 2016 in the Cleveland Indians system in A-ball.

Since, Mejia has been struggling to establish himself as a catcher defensively, though he absolutely has the raw tools. Mejia is athletic behind the plate, with a plus arm, but he struggles with his footwork in moving laterally and blocking pitches, and that footwork often hurts his work in the run game as well. He has worked the last two seasons at other positions to increase his flexibility, but the Padres seem intent on having him stay behind the plate.

While Mejia has a high-quality contact tool, he doesn’t take a ton of pitches, which does limit his potential lineup spots as a contact-driven hitter with line-drive power. Mejia will likely translate to a 20-25 home run hitter in the major leagues with different parks and balls, but even then, his primary power will be into the gaps, where he’s likely to be a high-average hitter with plenty of doubles.

While there’s plenty of room for that profile in a catcher that has above-average defense, Mejia could be tough to keep on the field if the defense doesn’t tick up in quality. With quality defender Austin Hedges on board, the San Diego Padres can ease Mejia into the job in 2019.