It has been quite some time since I had last posted anything here at Gaslamp Ball and I needed to get back to my roots. It has been a disappointing season to say the least but we should look ever onward towards the future. I think that the organization is finally in good, capable hands and a new era is dawning on the beautiful city of San Diego. Here is a glance at the foundation that is being laid for the Padres.
The grading methodology used here will be the same one that John Sickels uses over at minorleaugeball. If you haven't been over there yet check it out. It's fantastic!
I should note that I am neither a scout nor evaluator. I just love baseball and the Padres. I read and study a lot about their minor league system and watch a lot of the games but that's about it.
Preseason and midseason Top 10 Padres Prospect list after the jump.
Preseason Top 10 Padres Prospects (posted Jan. 24th, 2011)
1.) Casey Kelly, RHP, Grade B+
2.) Simon Castro, RHP, Grade B+
**I think both Kelly and Castro are fairly interchangeable in the top spot.
3.) Jaff Decker, OF, Grade B+
4.) Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Grade B
5.) Donovan Tate, OF, Grade B-
6.) Cory Luebke, LHP, Grade B-
7.) *Drew Cumberland, SS/2B, Grade B-
8.) James Darnell, 3B, Grade B-
9.) Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Grade B-
10.) Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Grade B-
Just missed: Reymond Fuentes, OF, Grade C+
Sleepers: Adys Portillo, Edison Rincon, Rymer Liriano
As far as the sleepers go Edison Rincon is currently having the best season out of the bunch. .336/.391/.509, 56/26 K/BB, .388 wOBA. A butcher a 3B, though. Likely a future DH. Rymer Liriano struggled badly in his first and second trips to Lake Elsinore both this year and last. Demoted to Ft. Wayne where his line currently sits at .309/.383/.467, 61/30 K/BB, .371 wOBA w/ 43 SB(!) in 322 PA.
Adys Portillo's second run at Ft. Wayne thus far has resulted in this: 7.02 ERA, 4.55 FIP, 50 IP, 61 K, 36 BB, .381 BABIP. Portillo probably has one of the highest ceilings of any pitcher in this system and at 19yo is still very young. The spike in Ks this year is very encouraging to me. If he gains more confidence in his stuff and learns to limit the walks he could definitely be considered a top pitching prospect.
*Note: Drew Cumberland is out for the season, as he deals with vertigo issues, and may very well retire altogether. Best of luck to him.
Here are my Midseason Top 10 Padres Prospects for 2011. All of these grades and rankings are subject to, and more than likely will, change by season's end. Graduated from the farm system and thus ineligible from these rankings are both Anthony Rizzo, 1B and Cory Luebke, LHP.
1.) James Darnell, 3B/OF, Grade B+: His 2nd stop in AA resulted in .333/.434/.604, 432 wOBA, 17 HR, .271 ISOP, w/ a fantastic 48/52 K/BB in 346 PA and is currently hitting .353/.389/.941 w/ 3 HR, and a 4/1 K/BB in 18 AAA PA. Has been splitting time between LF/3B this season and has supposedly improved on defense in the hot corner (although is still considered sub par at the position). Defense and repeating this level are the only things keeping me from giving him an A-
2.) Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Grade B+: 3.27 ERA, 3.00 FIP, 74.1 IP, 51 H, 87 K, 27 BB, .266 BABIP, 39%GB, 4% HR/Air at Ft. Wayne. Highest ceiling arm in this system next to Adys Portillo. A bona fide #2 starter, IMO. If he continues this kind of production through season's end I would consider giving him an A- and the No. 1 spot. Possible Top 20 pitching prospect.
3.) Casey Kelly, RHP, Grade B: 4.21 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 98.1 IP, 108 H, 75 K, 32 BB, .334 BABIP, 56%GB, 5% HR/Air. Heard a scout say Kelly currently possess three + MLB ready pitches (two of which are his fastball and curve). He went on to say that Kelly's biggest issue right now is he misses his points and catches too much of the plate. Seems to think that once Kelly learns how to be a pitcher (remember, this is only his second full season) then everything else should fall into place, as his pitches are actually good. I see Kelly as a solid No. 2/3 blend eventually.
4.) Jedd Gyorko, 3B, Grade B: .365/.430/.635, 54 XBH, 64/38 K/BB, .445 wOBA, .270 ISOP, .411 BABIP in 381 PA at High A Lake Elsinore. Is currently hitting .321/.387/.607 w/ 2 HR and a 8/2 K/BB in 31 AA PA. Strong campaign thus far. Has shown better defense at 3B than fellow prospect James Darnell but should be called marginally average. I think that he'll be capable in the hot corner.
5.) Jaff Decker, OF, Grade B: .234/.395/.439, 14 HR, 97/78 K/BB, .205 ISOP, .363 wOBA in 395 PA at AA San Antonio. The BB% is fantastic but that K% is awful. Extremely streaky season thus far.
6.) Donavon Tate, OF, Grade B-: .294/.368/.471, 9 XBH, 18/8 BB/K, 7 SB in 76 PA between Eugene and Ft. Wayne. Hard to grade. Has made progress but missed a month due to a knee injury and was slapped with a 50 game suspension for drug abuse (though he'll serve only about 25 of those games). Tate has the highest ceiling of any player in this system but his development has been hindered the past two years. He simply must stay on the field moving forward.
7.) Simon Castro, RHP, Grade B-: 10.17 ERA, 6.18 FIP, 25.2 IP, 18 BB, 21 K, .376 BABIP, 40%GB, 9% HR/Air at AAA Tuson and 4.91 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 36.2 IP, 44 H, 10 BB, 33 K, .365 BABIP, 43%GB, 3% HR/Air at AA San Antonio. Questions about his stuff being too hittable (with his delivery not being all that deceptive) last year seems to have had validity. I still have hope for him but he has sure taken a tumble.
8.) Corey Spangenberg, 2B, Grade B-: .384/.545/.535, 15/31 K/BB, .473 wOBA, 10 SB in 121 PA at Eugene. I know he entered as an advanced hitter for this level but that K/BB ratio is just silly. Has reached base safely in all 25 of his games played.
9.) Juan Oramas, LHP, Grade B-: 2.22 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 48.2 IP, 41 K, 15 BB, .301 BABIP, 34%GB at AA San Antonio. Future No. 4 starter, could help the Padres sooner rather than later.
10.) Zach Cates, RHP, Grade B-: 4.44 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 79 IP, 74 K, 33 BB, .329 BABIP, 50%GB at Low A Eugene. 2010 draftee having a good pro ball season debut. I like him and think that he'll rise fast.
5 more players of note:
Blake Tekotte, OF, Grade B-: .291/.407/.538, 71/52 K/BB, .406 wOBA, 26 SB in 339 PA at AA San Antonito. + defender in OF although his bat wont play as well in either corner position. Should be a productive 4th outfield type for years to come.
Edison RIncon, 3B/OF, Grade B-: 336/.391/.509, 56/26 K/BB, 33 XBH, .388 wOBA. Production is limited to just his bat but it should be a good one. Likely OF/DH.
John Barbato, RHP, Grade C+: 4.70 ERA, 4.84 FIP, 23 IP, 31 K, 13 BB, 44%GB at Low A Eugene. Another 2010 draftee of the pitching variety. Has nice upside. One to watch going forward.
Reymond Fuentes, OF, Grade C+: .273/.342/.344, 77/33 K/BB, .305 wOBA, .350 BABIP, 66%GB, 9%LD, 34 SB in 386 PA at High A Lake Elsinore. I'm not as high on him as most people are but he has great tools, physical abilities. Possible ++ defender in OF. Bat needs work, hollow OBP.
Jason Hagerty, C, Grade C+: .311/.386/.518, 62/26 K/BB, 33 XBH, .387 wOBA in 293 PA at High A Lake Elsinore. Offense first, switch hitting catcher. BB% fell by half this season but maintained most of his other rates. There are still questions about his D behind the plate.
Though this system is missing potential bona fide star prospects(!!) it is rich in potential good to great players and useful MLB talent. Even with the loss of three former Top 10 members in the past year (Anthony Rizzo, Corey Luebke, Drew Cumberland) it should still be considered a deep system, with its only real thin spots being MI and C.