PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 23, 2023: Ethan Salas #85 of the San Diego Padres looks on during a minor league spring training game against the Seattle Mariners at the Peoria Sports Complex on March 23, 2023 in Peoria, Arizona.
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How Padres 17-Year-Old Phenom Ethan Salas Could Become One of MLB's Youngest Rookies Ever

San Diego Padres catcher prospect Ethan Salas is 17 years old, and he's well on his way to becoming one of the youngest MLB players ever.

Exciting things that happen to most 17-year-olds might include getting your first car, looking at colleges or maybe going to prom or homecoming, but for Ethan Salas, being 17 means getting called up to Double-A, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler.

He won't be 18 until next June, but Salas' career is already in a great place, as he's just two steps away from the major leagues within the San Diego Padres organization. He's already made history as the youngest Padre to ever make it to High-A ball, a move that happened only a couple of weeks ago. He was the youngest player to reach that level of play this year, and only one other hitter even took a High-A at-bat as young as 18 this season.

Salas, who signed with the Padres for $5.6 million as an international prospect, has been on an accelerated track all year, as he appeared in MLB spring training games for the Padres before his 17th birthday. Now, still in his first pro season, he's going to be the youngest player to play a Double-A game in 2023. Interestingly enough, his numbers at the plate in High-A were pretty mediocre: He was hitting just .200, with no home runs and a pretty rough K/BB ratio. Still, the Padres' talent evaluators have clearly seen enough to determine that he's ready to move up to the next level; or perhaps they want him to get instruction from the coaches they have at that particular minor league team.

This news comes just a few days after the Angels made another surprise move with a young prospect, bringing Nolan Schanuel all the way up to the majors, as reported by Jeff Passan. At 21 years old, his age isn't what makes this move unprecedented. Rather, it's the pace of his progression: He was the Halos' first-round pick from this year's MLB Draft in July. He's been in the minors for just over a month and has absolutely excelled in AA ball so far. Still, coming to the show after just 21 games is quite the leap.

In his move from the Fort Wayne TinCaps to the San Antonio Missions, Salas will join a fellow highly touted Padres youngster: shortstop Jackson Merrill, who is expected by many to become the top-ranked prospect in the minors when some of the current top guys graduate off the list. The conversion rate from stud prospect to solid pro isn't high in baseball, but it'll be exciting to see how things turn out for Salas, Merrill, Schanuel and a whole group of other high-achieving youngsters.

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