The Padres opened up their season this past Sunday, but the full-season minor league clubs have to wait until Thursday. The Storm are all set to start playing their games with the announcement of their opening roster today. Here is the official announcement in pdf form. Padres fans interested in making the trip up the 15 will take note of 3 top prospects who will be sporting eyeballs on their caps: 2013 1st round pick Hunter Renfroe will roam the outfield, 2011 1st round pick Joseph Ross (brother of Tyson) will join the rotation as will 2012 1st round pick Zach Eflin.
Minorleagueball.com's John Sickels just came out with his San Diego Padres Top 20 Prospects for 2014 and there are a couple mentioned in that article beyond the aforementioned 3 that will also play for the Padres' California League affiliate:
- Aussie Corey Adamson will patrol the OF with Renfroe. He is a speedster that stole 32 bases last year between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore. He still just 22 years old despite being signed by the Friars all the way back in 2008.
- Gabriel Quintana is a year younger (7 months actually, but won't be 22 until September) and a lot bigger (6'3" 215 lbs) and will man 3B for the club. He batted over .300 and slugged 9 HRs last year for the Tin Caps in what is considered a pitcher's league.
I can also note a couple others that are interesting prospects to follow:
- RHP Ben Paullus was acquired this offseason from the Yankees in a deal that sent Dean Anna (who made their club as a UT INF). He will work in relief for the club and might be the team's closer.
- RHP Trevor Gott is another candidate for that job and was mentioned in Sickels' preliminary list of Padres prospects.
- RHP Cody Hebner will join Ross and Eflin in the rotation for his second go-around with the team. He had a solid 2013, so if he cuts back on the walks a bit in 2014 then he could be a promotion candidate for AA.
- LHP Chris Nunn has shown the ability to miss bats and you know the Padres have their eye on any southpaw who can do that out of the 'pen.
- 2B Casey McElroy missed all of last season with an injury but hit over .300 and had an OBP over .400 in his stint with Lake Elsinore two years ago. He's blocked in AA by Cory Spangenberg and probably needs some time to get used to playing again. He could be a midseason promotion candidate should Spangenberg jump to AAA first.
- OF Alberth Martinez had an excellent year with Fort Wayne last year, but he was also repeating that level at age 22. 23 is by no means old, unless you are a prospect in High A would did not play college ball. So the pressure is on this Dominican to continue to make noise with his bat before the Padres have to decide if they should protect him from the Rule 5 draft in a couple of years.
A couple more things to note. I think many expected 2012 1st round pick Max Fried to be playing for the Storm this year. I still think that we will, but he is likely being held back due to the injury he suffered during Spring Training. There is currently no timetable for his return. The other notes are with regards to players who were on the Storm last year, but are not on this roster. That should mean they got promoted to San Antonio (that roster has not been announced yet). SS Jace Peterson, OF Jeremy Baltz, OF Kyle Gaedele, OF Travis Jankowski, RHP Johnny Barbato, RHP James Needy and LHP Dennis O`Grady would all seem to be on their way to the Texas League.
Hopefully we will hear about rosters for the El Paso Chihuahuas, San Antonio Missions and Fort Wayne TinCaps soon.