Padres Prospet Mailbag: August Part 2Posted by in AZL Padres | Eugene Emeralds | Fort Wayne Tin Caps | Lake Elsinore Storm | Mailbag | MLB Draft | San Antonio Missions | Tucson Padres
Make sure you check out Part 1 of the Mailbag.
Is Reymond Fuentes still a legit prospect? – Jonathan
Definitely. While Fuentes’ stock has definitely slipped, he still is loaded with enough tools to be an everyday center fielder on a contending team. It is becoming more apparent that the bat will never be anything special, but his speed definitely plays in games and – outside of this year – he has shown the ability to make consistent contact.
Unless you see a serious regression in tools, one year of production is not enough to condemn a player. That being said, Fuentes has a lot to prove as questions surrounding his effort are growing louder and louder.
What level will Joe Ross, Michael Kelly and Austin Hedges start at next season? – Antonio
Too early to definitively say at this point. Ross has enough stuff to compete in the Midwest League, but the Padres may elect to tinker with his delivery in the Instructional League which may have him set to begin the season in Arizona or Eugene. Gut says they challenge him in Fort Wayne barring unforeseen circumstances.
Kelly is much more of a project at this point with only one real pitch in his repertoire. The conservative play would be to start him in Arizona and promote Kelly if his performance validated, but at the moment I’ll say that he begins the year in Eugene with the Emeralds.
While 20 at bats with the AZL Padres is not a ton of experience, Hedges has at least shown that his bat isn’t completely overmatched by professional pitchers. I’d expect to see him in Fort Wayne to start 2012 barring an underwhelming spring that would send him to Eugene.
Do you really think Jace Peterson is the shortstop of the future? No one else seems to be as high on him as you – Jack
I’ll get more into this question during an offseason organizational audit, but shortstop is a very weak position in the Padres’ system. Beemer Weems has been hurt this year and doesn’t project to be a great option as an everyday guy, there aren’t many who believe Jeudy Valdez will stay at short, BJ Quinn is nothing special and Everth Cabrera hasn’t shown any sort of the ability that he flashed in 2009.
Peterson is a very raw athlete and, as I’ve said from the beginning, he has just as good of a chance of never making it out of Fort Wayne as he does to be any everyday shortstop in the majors. But when there are no overwhelming favorites it is always best to bet on the tools, and that’s exactly what Peterson has.
Should we be worried about Rizzo? He hasn’t looked great and isn’t getting any love in the Rap Sheet – Chuck
Not at all. Anyone who had seen Rizzo in person prior to this season knew that his swing gets a bit long and loopy at times, but he has shown a definite ability to hit upper-level pitching for both power and average. While his .345/.418/.685 slash line in Tucson isn’t sustainable upon promotion, there is no reason to believe he has lost his potential to be a first-division starter at the MLB level for the Padres.
The one thing to be slightly concerned about with Rizzo is whether or not the strikeout slumps we’ve seen him get into this year will carry throughout his career. The 6’3” powerfully-built first baseman will always put up above average strikeout totals, but this is the first time in his brief career where they began to show up in bunches.
Are there any lower level hitters that we can look forward to? None of the guys in the upper levels seem to be true impact bats – Daniel
I’ll assume that lower level means anything under Double-A
Jonathan Galvez and Jeudy Valdez are the obvious standouts, but Edinson Rincon may have the best overall offensive potential in the system. Reymond Fuentes is mostly a defensive prospect, but he could produce a 750 OPS in the right ballpark if he can answer the questions surrounding his bat.
Rymer Liriano is a very exciting prospect, but his value still resides with just one year of elite production. Cory Spangenberg should have a plus hit tool, but doesn’t have the power potential to be an elite bat at many positions.
Here is where we meet the first raw athletes who’s value resides almost completely in projection. Duanel Jones may be able to take down Rincon in a home run derby and some scouts put a 7 on his raw power without batting an eye. Jose Dore is a good athlete with a projectable body who has had terrible luck with balls in play – don’t get fooled into writing him off. Donavan Tate is the frustrating bonus baby with All Star potential due to his all-around game. Alberth Martinez doesn’t have a fantastic approach, but he showed real, in-game power potential for the first time this year.
Cherry pick just about anyone from this roster who was born in the ‘90s and you can make a case why they could turn into something. There’s the obvious group: Austin Hedges, Rodney Daal and Yoan Alcantara. Then there’s the group that has turned heads this year: Fabel Filpo, Yair Lopez and Gabriel Quintana.
It’s tough to put much stock into any performances at this level, with the competition varying so much inning-by-inning. It’s always best to bet on the tools: Henry Charles and Luis Tejada are the most intriguing names.
Austin Hedges is the man! Do you think he’ll be in San Diego by 2013 or 2014? – Tim
Unfortunately, no. I’m a very big fan of Hedges as I do believe in the bat, but he does not stick out as the type of prospect that will shoot up an organization – a la Justin Upton, Mike Trout, etc. A more reasonable expectation of Hedges would be: 2012 in Fort Wayne, 2013 in Lake Elsinore, 2014 in San Antonio/Tucson and 2015 in Tucson/San Diego – that’s if everything goes perfectly developmentally.
Make sure you check out Part 1 of the Mailbag.