Padres' Margot eyes leap to bigs for good

Outfield prospect could compete for roster spot this spring

Padres' Margot eyes leap to bigs for good

SAN DIEGO -- There's a chance Manuel Margot could man the Petco Park outfield for a long, long time. But the 22-year-old rookie will never forget his first chance to do so.

The Padres' top hitting prospect played his first game at his parent club's home stadium during this past summer's All-Star festivities. He took part in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and stole the show in front of the home fans, robbing a home run with a great catch in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Speaking at the MLB/MLBPA Rookie Career Development Program earlier this month, Margot fondly recalled that day -- and his eventual callup to the big leagues.

"I felt very proud when I got the call to be a part of the Futures Game," Margot. "It was very special, because I said, 'Wow, this could really be my home for a lot of years.' And I had the privilege to step on the field on such a special day. For me, it was something very special in my life."

Statcast: Margot's leaping catch

Margot is currently rated as the Padres' No. 2 prospect, but he will likely lose his prospect status this season. The line-drive-hitting speedster got his callup in September and batted .243 with five extra-base hits in 10 big league games.

Margot joined San Diego's organization -- along with fellow prospects Carlos Asuaje, Javier Guerra and Logan Allen -- two Novembers ago when the Padres sent closer Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox.

"That was an honor," Margot said. "When they trade you for someone who's a big-name Major Leaguer, you say, 'Wow, my name has value.' For me, that was very special."

Margot's RBI double in the 4th

Entering the 2017 season, Margot has a chance to compete for a roster spot. San Diego likely has five outfielders competing for three starting jobs and four spots overall.

Statcast: Margot's first triple

Margot -- who batted .304/.351/.426 with Triple-A El Paso last season -- is a candidate to begin the season with a bit more seasoning in the Minors. But he could force the Padres' hand with an impressive Spring Training.

In any case, Margot is confident things will work out in the long term -- so long as he stays focused on the short term.

"You set long-term goals, but that goal isn't that far off if you work hard," Margot said. "Working hard and continuing to do the things I know how to do -- I think that's a special way to have success and stay for a long time in the big leagues."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.