Originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies out of a southern California high school in 2014, third base prospect Kevin Padlo was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays before the 2016 season as part of the Jake McGee/Corey Dickerson deal. In 2017, injuries robbed Padlo of most of the summer, and he only appeared in 64 games with High-A Charlotte in the Florida State League before being sent off to the Arizona Fall League to catch up on at-bats. Playing third base for the Surprise Saguaros at the AFL, Padlo appeared in 22 games, getting 96 plate appearances and finishing with a .259/.323/.341/.664 slash line and three doubles, two triples, eight walks, and 22 strikeouts.

Still very raw and feeling out his game, Kevin Padlo will have to produce more power in the coming years and adjust some things on his offensive approach if he’s to be taken seriously as a potential future big leaguer. He’s a big, young kid (DOB: July 15, 1996) with some physical upside who could still realize his value as a corner infielder one day with the Tampa Bay Rays, though the clock is ticking. Below, Baseball Census has a full Kevin Padlo scouting report based on our viewings during the Arizona Fall League season, including tool grades, game video, and projections.

Kevin Padlo Scouting Report, Tampa Bay Rays — 2017

Dates observed in 2017: Arizona Fall League

Hit (35)
Stands far off the plate to get extension, but struggles mightily to handle hard stuff on inner half, even from below-average velocity, particularly RHP. Gets eaten up in on the hands by fastballs — broken bats and weak handle contact even on upper 80s/low 90s. Long swing that will get exposed against even better velo and late life. Poor pitch recognition with too much guessing in approach; Lacks consistent plate coverage and will get pull happy, rolling over too much on outer half rather than working inside out. Slow hands with inconsistent bat plane; unathletic look at plate with some flat-footed, reactionary tendencies in his approach.

Power (45)
Big, physical kid with upside from natural build; needs to grow into his body and watch weight moving forward; appears to be some baby fat to burn off still. May be a problem as he ages, and physical discipline will matter to maintain physique. Hand and wrist strength could stand to improve, but some projection there, as well – 6’2″, 205 lb. list size likely close to actual with broad shoulders and thick legs. Below-average bat speed with inconsistent swing path and plane; lacks consistency in swinging to do damage every at-bat and struggles to actualize power in game situations. Too reactionary instead of being aggressive; could stand to get into attack mode more often at the plate; struggled to get into hitter’s counts and looked uncomfortable in the box throughout AFL.

Glove (40)
Serviceable below-average third baseman; slower reaction times than ideal with flat footed lack of athleticism that cuts ability to run in on choppers and bunts; runs heavy. Some feel for moving laterally, particularly to his backhand, but clunky in the field and inconsistent. Could push past 40-grade glove in time, but unlikely to be a truly average or above-average big league defender with development; long road here to grow into bona fide everyday third baseman.

Arm (40)
Below-average arm strength with lack of eye-catching velocity or carry. Good accuracy; consistent with execution there. Bulky upper half and shoulders limit some arm action and athleticism in his throws. May grow into some arm strength in time, but must balance that with muscular physical growth that’s built into power profile at the plate.

Speed (40)
4.44 – 4.52 times to first base from home plate; below average runner with awkward first step at times and flat footed running mechanics. Runs heavy with long, sometimes awkward strides; not a great athlete. Speed unlikely to play a part in his game moving forward; granted, less important tool to develop. Even so, needs to build some feel for lateral quickness and first step reaction/athleticism if he’s to remain at third base.

Long road ahead to develop into an impactful big leaguer; still time to grow into his body and feel out some athleticism and physical projection, but unlikely to turn into great athlete in the next few years. In the meantime, lots of work to be done at the plate. High risk with the bat and likely to be a below-average hitter for both average and power; combined with defensive issues and lack of athleticism, that may prevent him from becoming an everyday corner infielder in Tampa Bay.

Kevin Padlo Scouting Report, Tampa Bay Rays — 2017 Game Video

Kevin Padlo Scouting Report — Notes, Analysis & Projection

Colorado Rockies fans were worried they’d been fleeced by the Tampa Bay Rays when Kevin Padlo left along with Corey Dickerson two years ago in a trade; Padlo was raw even then but had some power hitting upside and was thought to soon become an impactful right-handed bat and a potential mainstay as a corner infielder. That hasn’t really happened after two years in the Rays’ system; the third baseman did hit 16 home runs in 2016, but he has yet to hit above .230 as a member of Tampa’s minor league system and his power hasn’t flashed close to what it was with the Rockies in short-season leagues between 2014 and 2015. (Add to this the fact that, along with McGee, the relatively unknown other return from Tampa Bay — German Marquezhas worked out rather nicely in Colorado, and suddenly, the shine is off Padlo considerably.)

Ultimately, after seeing him quite a bit at the AFL, I’m low on Kevin Padlo to actualize on whatever early potential he may have had as a future everyday corner infielder in the big leagues. He’s a below average athlete with considerable holes in his swing and a lack of pitch recognition that leaves him susceptible to being beaten by off-speed stuff far too often. Add his knack for getting eaten up on the inner half by hard stuff (a cardinal sin for a power hitting corner infielder), and it makes him a likely up-and-down guy at best. Padlo is still very young, so there is some time to develop tools, but based on his lack of raw athleticism alone I’m not bullish on development so significant that he magically becomes the third baseman of the future for the Tampa Bay Rays. Expect a 2018 season split between High-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery, and a likely up-and-down future in the big leagues dependent on how much power he can flash in a bench role.

Overall Future Potential (Future Value): Corner infield power hitter in a bench/platoon role at ceiling; high risk; for me, likely to fall into organizational depth with an up-and-down profile (40)

MLB ETA: 2020

Did you like this Kevin Padlo scouting report? Get more prospects here:

Tampa Bay Rays LHP Genesis Cabrera — CLICK HERE

Tampa Bay Rays LHP Kyle Bird — CLICK HERE

Detroit Tigers SS AJ Simcox — CLICK HERE

Colorado Rockies OF Steven Linkous — CLICK HERE

St. Louis Cardinals RHP Josh Lucas — CLICK HERE


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