Padres’ 16-year-old prospect makes spring training debut: ‘Age is just a number’
The San Diego Padres signed 16-year-old international prospect Ethan Salas to a deal in January, and on Saturday, the teenage prodigy made his spring training debut against the Chicago White Sox.
The catcher, who is ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Padres’ pipeline according to MLB.com’s ratings, was 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat for San Diego but played four innings in the team’s 6-5 win. While a ton of focus has gone onto his age, Salas insisted he is not worried about those talking about that.
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“Age is just a number,” he said, via MLB.com. “I’ve been prepared for this. I think my preparation is really good — my routine, everything I’ve been working for in the gym, in the after-hours. I think it’s gone pretty well. [Today was] Just another normal game for me.”
It is unclear where Salas will start the year once baseball season gets underway. Normally, an international prospect would start in the Dominican Summer League and then work his way to the Arizona Fall League before hitting Class-A minor league ball in his second full season.
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However, it has been rumored he could even begin the year at Single-A Lake Elsinore of the California League. He is not set to turn 17 until June.
Padres manager Bob Melvin appeared to be pleased with Salas’ development.
“For a 16-year-old kid behind the plate, I’ll tell you, he’s well beyond his years,” Melvin said. “You watch the way he frames pitches — a couple balls in the dirt got by him — but he has his wits about him. … It’s pretty incredible to see a 16-year-old with that kind of composure.”
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Shortstop Jackson Merrill and right-handed pitcher Dylan Lesko are ranked Nos. 1 and 2 respectively in the Padres’ farm system, according to MLB.com.