PEORIA, Ariz. -- The San Diego Padres blew out their international scouting budget in the current cycle, which started July 2, spending nearly $80 million so far in signing bonuses and penalties for going beyond their bonus pool figure of -- wait for it -- $3.348 million. Based on how some of their big-ticket prospects look so far in spring training, it was well worth it, especially given how hard the new collective bargaining agreement makes it for low-revenue teams like the Padres to acquire young talent any other way.
Their biggest bonus of the signing period went to Cuban left-hander Adrian Morejon (No. 80 in the top 100 prospects of 2017), who threw in a simulated game at the Padres’ complex in Peoria, Arizona, on Wednesday. Why a sim game? Because they have so many prospects they can’t get all of them into regularly scheduled minor league spring training games. Morejon just turned 18 a month ago, but the 6-foot lefty brought big-league stuff to his outing, showing three pitches that you could comfortably grade out as or project to plus.
Morejon’s fastball sat at an easy 92-95 mph and he got on top of the ball well. He showed good feel for his 80-83 mph changeup, throwing it to left- and right-handed batters, coming inside with it to lefties and relying on arm speed rather than action to make it effective. His breaking ball was short at 80-81 mph with tight spin. He was around the zone with all three pitches and extremely aggressive in attacking hitters -- some of whom, by the way, will be his teammates in a few weeks.