A little more than a month ago, we brought you the story of San Diego Padres prospect Ethan Salas. The young catcher, who was the top international prospect in the 2023 class, was being promoted to Single-A despite only being16 years old. Six weeks later, it's clear the kid is something truly special.
Salas had some initial success upon joining the Lake Elsinore storm. In his first five games he went 6-for-20 with a double, a home run and seven walks. After that, he leveled out a bit. While he looked incredibly polished for his age, he struggled with consistency for a few weeks. In June, he slashed .190/.311/.321, with two home runs, 14 RBIs and25 strikeouts against 14 walks. It's safe to say July is going better.
Salas, who is now 17, is ripping the ball since the month changed. In the first five games of July he's hitting .375, with an on-base percentage of .474, while slugging a ridiculous 1.188. His OPS is 1.662. He has hit four home runs, a double, eight RBIs and three walks against three strikeouts. And the power has looked easy, as he's hitting balls out to every part of park.
Despite that earlier stretch of struggles, Salas had rapidly seen his numbers rise. For the year, he's currently hitting .248 with six home runs, 22 RBIs, has an on-base percentage of .248, is slugging .486 and boasts an OPS of .855. I think it's worth mentioning again, he's 17 years old. He should be entering his junior year of high school.
All of this talk about offense ignores the fact that Salas is one of the best defensive catching prospects to enter the minor leagues in decades. Most expected the Padres were sending Salas to Single-A to get experience because he'd be a bit advanced for the Arizona Complex League. That's not the case. The kid is not only surviving at Lake Elsinore, he's thriving. It's incredible what he's doing. There's a reason the Padres gave him a $5.6 million signing bonus back in January.
Salas will surely have ups and downs over the rest of the season, but his talent an polish are undeniable. He'll likely be widely considered one of MLB's top 15 prospects by the end of the season, and his trajectory is that of a guy who will be the top prospect in all of baseball by the end of next year.
Remember Ethan Salas' name, he'll be coming to a ballpark near you with haste.