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
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 Marquez — has 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
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