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Opening the mailbag!

Frisco RoughRiders v Amarillo Sod Poodles Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

It’s time to open the mailbag! It’s actually a little overdue, to which I apologize. I’ve been under the weather. Either way, the here is the inaugural minors mailbag!

Thank you to all who submitted questions. Some of them will be touched a lot in the coming months, so I am holding off on pulling them out for now. Specifically the Rule 5 questions. Trust me, the day after the World Series, I’ll get hype on Rule 5 speculation.

Enough introduction, let’s get to it!

How much time does AA-Amarillo INF Hudson Potts get to figure things out at the plate? -San_Diegan_in_a_Strange_Land

You touched on some great things after this question. Potts will turn 21 in October, and his 28.6 percent strikeout rate is high. However, there isn’t much cause for concern in my mind. I once had a respected prospect elevator tell me that Double A is where the real talent starts to separate itself, so it isn’t too alarming to see him find some struggles there.

That being said, he has made improvements, his monthly splits tell that story. He did get a taste of the level (89 PA) in 2018, but 2019 was his first full season in Amarillo. To spare you just listing slash lines, I’ll tell you his April slash line read .191/.262/.319 in 24 games and his August slash was .257/.299/.468 in 29 games. each month between those showed improvement.

The strikeouts showed improvements too, from April to September (with the exception of June where Potts played only a handful of games due to injury), his strikeout percentage reads: 34, 32.5, 31.1, 17.1. If you use the best numbers of his career the 17.1 percent from August is the goal, however it’s much more likely he settles at a percentage in the low 20’s.

To get around to actually answering the question asked, he still has plenty of time to figure it out, and by many different standards he is improving at the plate at that level.

At each level of the minors: Which Padres prospect most improved? -Brother Bob

There are a lot of potential answers here, and it will be hard to condense. But it could be fun so lets give it a shot. My rules based on the question are that the players need half a season at the level and not be called up. Because of that, and to avoid this becoming extremely long, we will start above short season A ball.

*Writers note. Regressed is a tough word and a tough thing to rank, so I am sticking with improvements only.

Fort Wayne TinCaps

Dwanya Williams-Sutton. He started off slow, but his second half saw stretches that were really great. Plus, as the president of the Williams-Sutton fan club, I need to hype him up. He has shown some great improvements over the year and I truly believe that he could really breakout next year.

Honorable mentions: Blake Hunt, Ethan Skender.

There are a lot of answers at this level, this was a good team this year.

Lake Elsinore Storm

Luis Campusano. I know, it’s hard to say that a guy who is getting the attention that Campusano is has improved. Especially when I tell you he hit .317/.397/.487 in the first half of the year. But look, his slash numbers went up, his homerun totals went up and his RBI numbers went from 29 to 52. The man just got better and it’s really exciting.

Honorable mention: Allen Cordoba. From first to second half his splits are out of this world. I’ve written about him recently. It has been a very nice year for him. His name is close to becoming relevant again.

Amarillo Sod Poodles

Taylor Trammell. This is not a cop out answer and I’m not trying to be controversial. Trammell vastly improved his swing after the trade and was reaping the benefits. That crazy stretch to end the year was real. I am a believer, and I will defend this trade until the bandwagon fills up down the road. Trammell is a stud.

El Paso Chihuahuas

Trevor Megill. His ERA doesn’t show it, but ERA isn’t the only measurement that we can use. What stood out for Megill in my eyes was his increased strikeout rate from first to second half. Prior to the All-Star game, he had a 27/10 K/BB rate in 21.1 innings of work. His second half saw a 44/9 K/BB in 29 innings.

There is only one pitcher, but it is hard just to take one player. Don’t read into that. This is up for wild debate, but overall, the Padres farm system is doing very well.

In two years, which of these young Padres ends up manning 2nd base for the big club? And is there a consolation prize of centerfield for any of them? -Robb F

This is a tough one. For context, the names listed are Luis Urias, Xavier Edwards, CJ Abrams, Owen Miller, Gabriel Arias, and Tucupita Marcano.

Frankly, any of these players could take over. If we are talking two years, however, that removes Abrams from the conversation. He had a good year, but he is still a high school bat. That is going to take some time.

I think Urias should be gone two years from now. Though to be fair I think he should be a Met by the beginning of next season. Yes, for Thor. With that in mind I think that Miller is the answer with the potential of Edwards getting a very real look if he can keep up his production. Though he is under the same ‘high school bat’ clause that Abrams is.

So, once again, Miller looks like the option to me. Maybe Hudson Potts if his bat comes around quickly.

I also would not count out Ty France. The thing is that three years from now, all of these guys could be ready. It’ll be up to them to earn it. If they are athletic enough to play the outfield and are hitting, then any of them could, theoretically, get a shot to play center if there is an opening.

Of the group, Abrams is going to have the highest ceiling as far as overall career, but high school bats are hard to predict as far as timeline this early in their career.

Which, if any, of Michael Baez, Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers, Ronald Bolaños, Joey Cantillo, Pedro Avila, Jacob Nix, Anderson Espinoza do you see becoming bona fide starters for the Padres and why? -johnjprecoda

This is another tough question. In my eyes, Morejon, Weathers, and Cantillo are the best bets to be starters in that group. That is not in order. The safest bet of those three is Weathers.

Morejon has the stuff, but his delivery and durability are still of concern to some scouts. However, the odds are a rotation spot will be his to lose, plus I don’t see the delivery issues anymore. Cantillo is a starter to me, but many others disagree still. Getting into the rotation will be an uphill battle, but it’s one that he is winning with his play. The reason Weathers is a safe bet is because he is the most solid across board. He might not become the top of rotation ace, but he can be a solid middle of the rotation arm. He has the highest floor of the bunch.

Now, I singled out those three because I didn’t want to give a cop out answer, but the cop out answer is true. There is so much talent in that list that any of the could become a starter. I just gave you my three top guys of that list. This farm system is unreal as far as talent level.

Who in our amazing farm system are: 1) Completely untradeable?, 2) Your top chips you’d put out there as trade bait? -AnteaterReborn

Awesome, I love my new job as GM! But this is a genuinely good question because there is a lot of talent and eventually there won’t be a room. However, it’s tough because prospects fail. So, by my estimation, here goes.

1) These players are likely the same players you think they are. CJ Abrams, Mackenzie Gore, Luis Patino, Taylor Trammell. The top guys are going to be very hard to pry away. Now if the Angels call up and say ‘Eh, we are sick of this Trout guy being too good at baseball and too amazing of a person’ then yeah, trade whoever.

2) Now, this is the fun part. It’s going to be hard to see the organization getting upset about keeping any of this talent. Everything will revolve around how other organizations view the talent, and what they are willing to give up to get it. Earlier in this mailbag I mentioned Urias headlining a package for Thor. I will die on that hill.

Let me be clear, there are no guarantees that other organizations will be interested in anyone. With that in mind, I guarantee that Luis Campusano will garner interest. He is a bubble ‘untradeable’ guy, but if there is a true game-changer out there and the Padres are in the midst of a race to win the division, then it might be worth it.

Other players I could see getting interest: Adrian Morejon, Tucupita Marcano, Hudson Potts, Michael Baez. Personally, if I were an opposing GM of a team looking to acquire young talent, I would also look for a buy-low opportunity on Buddy Reed’s upside. By that, I mean his stock is down not depleted.

Thank you!

There were a lot of great questions! We will do this again soon, and don’t be surprised if I expand on some of these in their own stand alone post. Keep an eye on the site for that!