Prospect Margot impressing in Padres camp

Prospect Margot impressing in Padres camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When asked this week what he likes about 21-year-old outfielder Manuel Margot so far in camp, Padres manager Andy Green resisted pinpointing one specific aspect about Margot's game.

"There's a lot to like," Green said of Margot, the Padres' top prospect according to MLB Pipeline.

When pressed further, Green didn't point to the line drives Margot has sprayed around the Peoria backfields in drills. He didn't point to Margot's success offensively in a handful of at-bats in games, or how he glides across the outfield in pursuit of fly balls.

While those skills have certainly been apparent this spring, it has been Margot's instincts that have essentially won Green over.

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Take a recent Spring Training game where Margot, inserted into the game in center field after the regulars had departed, ran in to cover second base when a ball was hit in the right-field corner. He nearly got a tag down on the runner, too.

"He nearly got us an out," Green said.

Tools are important, but so are instincts.

"A young guy who pays attention to the game," Green said. "... He tried to make himself useful. It's good to see that wherewithal in a young guy.

"Most young outfielders don't understand to do that. But he's got an innate feel for the game."

Margot's two-run triple

Green has compared Margot, in terms of athleticism, to a young Jose Reyes, who was a teammate of Green's with the Mets in 2009.

"There's a ton of quick-twitch in him, you just watch him move around the field, outfield drills, he does it at a rate few guys do," Green said. "Manny Margot moves at a different rate than guys on the diamond.

"The at-bats ... the nice thing is you see aptitude. [Hitting coach Alan Zinter] has done some things with him in the cage and the next day he's lining balls all over the field."

This is the player the Padres insisted on getting from the Red Sox in the November deal that sent closer Craig Kimbrel to Boston for four players, including highly regarded shortstop Javier Guerra, the team's No. 3 prospect.

Margot, who hit a combined .276/.324/.419 with six home runs, 50 RBIs and 39 steals a year ago between Class A Advanced and Double-A, figures to get a chance to win a job with Triple-A El Paso coming out of spring. If he doesn't, he'll head to Double-A San Antonio. He has three hits and three RBIs thus far in nine at-bats.

Top Prospects: Margot, SD

Margot, who started last season with 62 consecutive at-bats before he struck out, has the range, speed and contact skills that the Padres can dream about. They view him as an important piece of their future.

While his manager has offered the Reyes comparison, Margot had another in mind -- Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, who is also from the Dominican Republic.

"I pride myself on picking up on things quickly," Margot said. "And in regards to Gomez, [he's] someone who can hit, someone who can run, someone who can field, someone who can do everything well."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.