As the San Diego Padres plan for the future, they continue to raid the Boston Red Sox‘s loaded farm system to find answers.

Per Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald, the Padres acquired minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza from the Red Sox on Thursday. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Red Sox received All-Star left-hander Drew Pomeranz in the deal. 

The Padres know Boston’s farm system well, having acquired outfielder Manuel Margot, shortstop Javier Guerra, infielder Carlos Asuaje and lefty Logan Allen in exchange for Craig Kimbrel in November. 

It’s an excellent system to raid if you need prospects, which the Padres do after Baseball America ranked their system as the 25th-best in Major League Baseball in February.

Espinoza gives the Padres an electric arm they can potentially build their starting rotation around in the future. He is a risky bet at just 18 years old, but the Venezuelan is already pitching in Low-A and has held his own.

Those numbers are especially impressive considering Espinoza started the year as the youngest player in the South Atlantic League. 

Oh, did I mention the stuff?

Espinoza has a dazzling arm that scouts are drooling over. ranked him as the 34th-best prospect in its most recent update, offering this synopsis of his talent:

Because of Espinoza’s small stature, big stuff and precocious command, he draws some extreme comparisons to Pedro Martinez. With little effort in his delivery, he usually works at 94-97 mph with his fastball. Both Espinoza’s tight curveball and sinking changeup are more advanced than those of the typical teenager, showing the potential to become plus pitches.

The main concern as Espinoza continues to climb the ladder will be his durability. He’s been terrific so far, but he has thrown only 76 innings over 17 starts. He also stands at just 6’0″ and 160 pounds, per

As Espinoza continues to move through the minors, he will have to take on a greater workload while continuing to pump 90-plus mph heaters and sharp curveballs every fifth day. 

A reasonable comparison is Carl Edwards Jr., whom the Chicago Cubs acquired from the Texas Rangers as part of a trade for Matt Garza in 2013. He is taller than Espinoza at 6’3″, but he’s also thin at 170 pounds and struggled to stay healthy as a starter in 2014 before the Cubs moved him to the bullpen. 

The team can use Espinoza as a closer or high-leverage late-inning reliever. But it didn’t trade an All-Star left-hander who has two more years under team control in hopes of finding a bullpen arm.

Espinoza’s ceiling is off the charts, making him a worthy gamble for the rebuilding Padres.

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