Of the 17 Padres position players who saw the most playing time in 2017, 16 of them were 29 or younger, and 14 were 27 or younger. That’s exactly the kind of toss-spaghetti-against-the-wall approach you have to take when you’re a perpetually rebuilding franchise with five playoff berths in 39 seasons of existence, and none since 2006.
Of course, simply flooding the zone with young players doesn’t guarantee anything. Wil Myers is the nominal franchise player given his six-year contract, but he’d be a sixth or seventh banana on most of 2017’s loaded playoff teams. Toolsy 23-year-old outfielder Manuel Margot has lots of time to develop, after settling into an everyday major league role for the first time in 2017, following his acquisition from Boston two years earlier. Like a lot of bottoming-out teams, the Padres have a nearly bottomless list of pitching needs. Talented right-hander Cal Quantrill is the best in-house bet to become a top starter within the next three years, though his first cup of coffee at Double-A late last season garnered mixed reviews.