June 25, 2024

You never get a second chance to create a first impression, as the saying goes. A prospect for the San Diego Padres has personified that adage.

Jackson Merrill has already made a big impression at spring training. Fernando Tatis Jr., who wants Merrill on the Opening Day roster, has been impressed with him, according to Chase Izidoro of Fox 5 San Diego.

Merrill is being looked for by the Padres. During the previous season, he had started to play other positions in Double-A, switching from shortstop to first base, second base, and left field.

Tatis is accustomed to Tatis moving from outfield to center field when Merrill reports to training camp. Despite his lack of outfield experience, he immediately seems at ease on the grass.
At just twenty years old, Merrill has nothing left to prove in the lower leagues. He was widely regarded as the best prospect, and in 511 plate appearances between High-A and Double-A, he recorded a hitting line of.277/.326/.444. In addition to stealing 25 bases, he blasted 15 home runs and 25 doubles. Any prospect would have been proud of the accomplishment, but especially so when facing much more experienced opponents.

His scouting report and his production agree. Merrill is regarded as the 12th-best prospect in the game by MLB.com, with all of his tools being rated at least mediocre. He hits the ball with authority to all fields and makes terrific contact. Merrill started raising the ball more last season, which increases the likelihood that he will be able to use his full talent. Merrill could fit in well in the outfield with his good arm and speed.

There are positional openings with the Padres. The outfield is uneasy save for Tatis, who is positioned in right field. The Padres depth chart has only two other players listed as outfielders: Tucupita Marcano and Jose Azocar.

Merrill has a spot ready in the big, even though he could use additional time in the minors honing his left-handed pitching technique. Merrill is prepared to take over, if Tatis Jr. is any judge.

Padres star wants top prospect on Opening Day roster

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