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Winter League Forum December 13-20

Baseball never sleeps...

Crowd looks a little “thin” to me...
Photo by ERIKA SANTELICES/afp/AFP via Getty Images

Good morning, Padres fans, and welcome to another week of the off-season.

The MLB Winter Meetings wrapped up last week. While the Padres didn’t complete a major deal, they did manage to retain their top end talent in the Rule 5 draft, as the no Padres prospects were selected in the MLB portion, and only 3 prospects were taken in the MiLB portion. The Team did select 2 players, also in the MiLB portion, with some potential, C/1B Yorman Rodriguez out of the Blue Jays organization, and OF Ben Ruta out of the Yankees. Rodriguez, a 23-year old out of Venezuela, has yet to play above full-season A-ball, but posted an intriguing slash in 2019: .360/.387/.502 in 62 games between short-season and full season A-ball; he’s also increasingly played at 1B rather than C, so we’ll see if that helps his progression. Ruta, currently 26-years-old, rose to AA-ball in 2019, playing 117 games and slashing .260/.330/.396 while playing all 3 OF positions, as well as some 1B. While both players are likely nothing more than minor-league depth, it’s fun to dream of what could be, if they put it all together.

The other big news coming out of the Winter Meetings was that every MLB club invited their 4 full-season minor league affiliates. All told, 119 club’s were invited, with the 1 hold-out being Fresno, CA, since they’d fall all the way from AAA down to low-A ball. As for the Padres, they invited 4 cities to become their affiliates in MLB’s new player development structure: the El Paso Chihuahuas (AAA), San Antonio Missions (AA), Fort Wayne TinCaps (High-A) and Lake Elsinore Storm (Low-A). The biggest change is the Missions, who in 2019 served as the AAA affiliate for the Brewers, and now stand to return as the team’s AA affiliate (they’d previously been the Padres’ AA-affiliate from 2007-2018). FT Wayne and Lake Elsinore essentially flip positions in the team’s minor league hierarchy while extending their affiliation with the club at 22 years and 20 years, respectively. As for the club’s previous affiliates, the Amarillo Sod Poodles (AA in 2019) will become the Arizona D-backs’ AA affiliate, while the TriCity Dust Devils (short-season A-ball club from 2015-2019) will become an affiliate of the Anaheim Angels.

In the winter leagues, the Australian Baseball League kicks off this week on Friday, 18 DEC. As usual, I’ll post the boxscore stats, and anything else I find interesting, down in the comments section. If I miss a Padres player, let me know; MLB’s sites are terrible/haven’t been updated in forever, so I usually have to work my way through a bunch of places to find out who is playing where, and I occasionally miss some folks.

Go Padres!