FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The San Diego Padres promoted catcher Ethan Salas from the Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm to the High-A Fort Wayne TinCaps on Tuesday. The 17-year-old Salas was the top prospect in the 2023 international free agent class and is ranked as San Diego’s second best prospect, behind
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The San Diego Padres promoted catcher Ethan Salas from the Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm to the High-A Fort Wayne TinCaps on Tuesday. The 17-year-old Salas was the top prospect in the 2023 international free agent class and is ranked as San Diego’s second best prospect, behind only shortstop Jackson Merrill, who shined in Fort Wayne earlier this season. Salas is now the youngest player in the TinCaps’ 30-year franchise history, and the youngest player in the Midwest League since *Julio Urías *pitched for the Great Lakes Loons in 2013 as a 16-year-old. (The circuit was a Single-A league then before moving up to High-A in 2021.)
“We’re extremely appreciative of our partnership with the Padres,” said TinCaps President Mike Nutter. “As San Diego’s longest-tenured affiliate dating back to 1999, we’ve been blessed to see many of the top prospects in baseball over the years, like Fernando Tatis Jr., and we’re excited for Ethan to join our team now as they gear up for a postseason push.”
The 6-2, 185-pound backstop is from Caracas, Venezuela, and signed with the Padres in the off-season. He’s equipped with a pure left-handed swing and advanced eye at the plate. On defense, Salas shows athleticism, advanced blocking and receiving skills with a plus arm. The bilingual Salas, who was born in Florida, comes from a strong baseball background and pedigree, as his older brother, Jose, is a prospect for the Minnesota Twins and has spent most of this season in the Midwest League with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. His father, Jose Antonio, played in the Atlanta Braves‘ organization, his uncle, Jose Gregorio, played in the Toronto Blue Jays‘ system, and grandfather, Jose Gregorio, played in the Padres’, Houston Astros’ and Kansas City Royals’ systems.
“Catching has always been in my blood,” Salas said on MLB Network in January. “I just love taking leadership of the game.”
Salas was the California League’s Player of the Month in July. Last month he posted a .366 batting average, .416 on-base percentage, and .720 slugging percentage (1.136 OPS). Overall with Lake Elsinore, in 48 games since debuting on May 30 while he was still 16, he hit nine home runs, had 35 RBIs, and stole five bases. MLB.com ranks him as the seventh best catching prospect in any organization and No. 45 overall among all players.
The TinCaps are tied for first place in the Midwest League’s East Division with 30 games remaining in the regular season. Fort Wayne visits the Oakland A’s-affiliated Lansing Lugnuts this Tuesday-Sunday. Salas and the TinCaps then return to action at Parkview Field on Tuesday, Aug. 15, opening a six-game homestand with the Cincinnati Reds-affiliated Dayton Dragons, the team they’re tied with in the standings. Upcoming ballpark promotions include Star Wars Night and a Hispanic Heritage Celebration Day. Tickets are available through TinCaps.com, by calling 260-482-6400, and at the Parkview Field Ticket Office.