FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – The San Diego Padres announced the 2023 Opening Day roster for their High-A affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, on Tuesday.
The TinCaps will feature 11 of MLB.com’s Top 30 Padres prospects, including San Diego’s top-rated prospect, shortstop Jackson Merrill. The 19-year-old is ranked as the 19th-best prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com.
The TinCaps released the following:
Merrill, who grew up in Maryland, was selected by the Padres in the first round of the 2021 MLB Draft (27th overall) out of Severna Park High School. Through the first 86 games of his Minor League Baseball career, he’s produced a .320 batting average with a .377 on-base percentage and .470 slugging percentage (.847 on-base plus slugging percentage), plus six home runs, 50 runs batted in, and 16 stolen bases. As just a teenager, Merrill has already appeared in 23 big league spring training games for the Padres.
San Diego manager Bob Melvin recently said of Merrill, “Man, he is fantastic with everything he does. And that’s before you get to sit with him in the dugout and listen to who he is as a person. Defense, offense, maturity, how he processes – it’s all so impressive for a young age… I expect him to be a really quick mover to the big leagues. He’s out there trying to learn. Couldn’t be more proud of how he goes about his business and the trajectory he’s on.”
Of the 30 players set to begin the season in Fort Wayne, 15 have played for the TinCaps previously. Familiar names for Fort Wayne fans include right-handed pitcher Nick Thwaits (a graduate of Fort Recovery High School in Ohio, located just about an hour away from Parkview Field), catcher Brandon Valenzuela (San Diego’s No. 30 prospect who led Midwest League catchers in caught stealings last year), and outfielder Joshua Mears (San Diego’s No. 14 prospect who led the TinCaps in homers with 14). Meanwhile, Merrill leads a core coming up from Single-A Lake Elsinore, where the Storm won the 2022 California League championship.
Other newcomers include right-handed pitcher Adam Mazur, San Diego’s No. 6 prospect. The Minnesota native was selected by the Padres in the second round of last year’s draft out of the University of Iowa. Baseball America says Mazur has the “best slider” in San Diego’s farm system. Victor Lizarraga is only 19 years-old, making him the youngest member of the team, but the No. 7 Padres prospect is said to have the “best control” among the organization’s minor leaguers. Michigan native Jakob Marsee is hailed as the “best defensive outfielder” among Padres prospects. The Central Michigan University alum is also said to have the “best strike-zone discipline” in San Diego’s system. Merrill is graded as the “best hitter for average” and “best defensive infielder.”
Click here for the complete roster.
As announced in January, the Padres have assigned Jonathan Mathews to manage the TinCaps. The Iowa native was Fort Wayne’s hitting coach from 2018-21.
The team will be traveling to the Summit City this weekend from Padres Spring Training in Arizona.
Fans can get their first look at this year’s squad at Meet the Team Night on Tuesday, April 4 (5-8 p.m.) at Parkview Field. During the free event, fans are invited to watch the team’s on-field workout. All players and coaches will sign autographs after the workout (in the event of inclement weather, the autograph-signing will take place indoors). Parkview Field also will host a free Open House on Saturday, April 8 (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.), when fans can take behind-the-scenes tours of the ballpark. The Orchard Team Store and concessions will be open for both events. The Sweetwater Fun Zone will be open, too, weather permitting.
The TinCaps start their 2023 season on the road against the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers affiliate) on Thursday, April 6. Following a three-game series there, Opening Day at Parkview Field is Tuesday, April 11 (6:35 p.m.) as the TinCaps host the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Guardians affiliate). Like all Tuesday home games throughout the season, that’ll be a Family Feast Night presented by US Foods with $2 concession options. The TinCaps and Captains are scheduled to play a six-game series through Sunday, April 16.
Fans can purchase tickets through TinCaps.com, by calling 260-482-6400, and at the Parkview Field Ticket Office. Group outings and season ticket plans also remain on sale.
MLB.com Top 30 Padres Prospects on TinCaps 2023 Opening Day Roster
1. Infielder Jackson Merrill
6. Right-handed pitcher Adam Mazur
7. Right-handed pitcher Victor Lizarraga
11. Right-handed pitcher Jairo Iriarte
12. Infielder Nerwillian Cedeno
14. Outfielder Joshua Mears
19. Right-handed pitcher Garrett Hawkins
22. Outfielder Jakob Marsee
23. Infielder Nathan Martorella
24. Right-handed pitcher Ryan Bergert
30. Catcher Brandon Valenzuela