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Padres Top Prospect Gets Nod as Opening Day Center Fielder

Photo by Jerry Espinoza

SEOUL, KR: Major headlines hit the MLB world when Jon Morosi reported that Padres top prospect, Jackson Merrill, has won the Opening Day center fielder job after a hot spring training.

Merrill, 20, is currently gearing up for the start of the Padres season in Seoul Korea, where the Padres will take on the Dodgers for a two-game set.

Merrill was the Padres first round pick in the 2021 draft and has skyrocketed through the minor leagues. On paper, at least, the youngster is somewhat of a surprise pick for the part.

In his big league career, he has yet to play a game above Double-A after having a respectable but unremarkable season, slashing .277/.326/.444 in 114 games played in the Double-A and High-A divisions in the previous season.

More significantly, Merrill had never played center field in a professional game before to the start of camp last month. Up until then, his only outfield experience as a professional had been 45 innings spent in left field during that season.

His professional career had mostly involved him playing shortstop, though he also had sporadic appearances at first and second base.

As mentioned, Merrill has had a great spring training. Through 37 AB, Merrill has slashed .351/.400/.595 with two home runs. As we gear up for another spectacular season, Merrill will now get the opportunity to show the Padres that he is ready for the bigs. After displaying what he is capable of, the entire MLB world should be excited.


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