The greed of the San Diego Padres knows no bounds. San Diego shortstop Kim Ha-seong (28) has one more competitor.
San Diego called Jackson Merrill (20), the team’s top prospect, to this spring camp. Merrill is a right-handed and left-handed shortstop in a San Diego uniform with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 draft, ranking first on the San Diego team in this year’s MLB.com prospect rankings.
San Diego already had to bleed out shortstop prospect CJ Abrams, 23, to the Washington Nationals for Juan Soto, 25, last season. That is why the American press is predicting that San Diego general manager AJ Preller will defend Merrill as much as possible.
Merrill is evaluated as having some power in his contact ability. He can play second and third base, but the club plans to develop Merrill as a shortstop over the long term. Last year, he recorded 45 games, 0.325 batting average (64 hits in 197 at-bats), 0.869 OPS, 5 homers, and 34 RBIs in San Diego’s Minor League Single A team.
The reason San Diego invited Merrill to the major league spring camp was to strengthen his depth. This is because three key infielders, including Kim Ha-seong, Zander Bogatz (31, Netherlands), and Manny Machado (31, Dominican Republic)안전놀이터, will be selected at once for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC).
MLB.com predicted on the 17th (Korean time), ‘As 3/4 of San Diego’s infield is affected by the WBC, Merrill seems to be able to secure enough playing time’.
San Diego manager Bob Melvin said, “Merrill is a very talented prospect at his age. He doesn’t look like he’s 20 now. He plays really smoothly and he’s one of the guys who is way ahead of other prospects his age. ) will be away for a while, and so will Ha-seong Kim. Merrill will have a chance to play,” he predicted, predicting that this year will be Merrill’s debut season in the major leagues.
For Ha-seong Kim, this is a concern. Kim Ha-seong seemed to take his place as the starting shortstop last year while Fernando Tatis Jr. (24) left due to an injury and banned substance use penalty. He appeared in 150 games and performed with a batting average of .251 (130 hits in 517 at-bats), 11 homers, and 59 RBIs, and was also a finalist for the National League Gold Glove shortstop category.
However, ahead of this season, San Diego chose to replace the starting shortstop along with strengthening the batting line by acquiring Bogarts for 11 years and 280 million dollars (approximately 360.9 billion won). Tatis Jr., who will return from disciplinary action this year, is likely to turn to the outfield, but Kim Ha-seong is highly likely to play as second baseman, being pushed by Bogatz calmly. In the midst of this, the appearance of a promising shortstop would be quite nerve-wracking.
Merrill, who joined the big league camp for the first time in his life, said, “I want to learn first. During camp, I want to check the pitching quality of as many pitchers as possible.” Isn’t it. But when the time comes and the national players leave, the coaches and players like Jake Cronenworth are still there. It will be a really useful time.”