Padres Organizational Audit: CatcherPosted by in AZL Padres | Eugene Emeralds | Fort Wayne Tin Caps | Lake Elsinore Storm | Organizational Audit | San Antonio Missions | Tucson Padres
Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking a look at how the Padres’ organizational talent stacks up position-by-position. Anyone included on a roster of any of the US affiliates will be listed. Be sure to check out the entire Organizational Audit series.
Major League Situation -
Hundley is having a very nice season as the Padres’ primary catcher this year. He’s had two stretches in 2011 that have elevated his offensive numbers to respectable levels – .292/.352/.472 in 298 plate appearances – but injuries have once again taken a toll on the 28-year-old backstop. While there are some in the organization who believe he is a legitimate everyday option – including his manager – Hundley is yet to show he can stay healthy and effective for an entire season.
Martinez looked like more than an org player in the minors, but never developed enough to be considered a great prospect. With his skill set he has the ability to be a decent backup catcher for the foreseeable future.
Top Prospect -
Anyone who is even slightly interested in Padres prospects knows who Hedges is. Although he is just 19, Hedges has captured the attention of many San Diegans and Padres fans abroad with his strong defensive abilities and offensive potential. With just 34 plate appearances in professional baseball to his name, Hedges is still a long way off but his ceiling is among the highest in the organization.
The Rest –
Hagerty was the heir apparent to Hundley in San Diego before the arrival of Hedges, but he’ll likely have a chance to prove his worth as Hagerty is the closest to the majors of any of the potential impact options. The switch hitting 24-year-old is headed to the Arizona Fall League to face higher levels of competition before returning to San Antonio in 2012. The power and patience that he has shown so far in his career are impressive, but Hagerty still needs to prove that he has the defensive ability to be an everyday catcher if the bat isn’t a dominant tool.
Whether Medica will be able to ever catch full time is up in the air at this point. A shoulder injury that dates back to 2009 still lingers as he continues to try and build arm strength. Medica’s bat can be very impressive at times when he is able to shoot balls into the outfield gaps, but his true power is a bit of a question mark at this point because we don’t know exactly how much his shoulder hampers this aspect of his game.
Quiles passes the immediate age and usage test (not too old for the league and receives playing time) but leaves much to be desired in the box score offensively. He has never shown much power or patience, but a strong arm and defensive skills should keep him in the organization for the immediate future.
Colantonio received the bulk of the playing in Eugene this season after being taken in the 22nd round of the draft. He showed an advanced approach for the level, but the bat doesn’t look like it will play in a tougher league.
A former infielder turned catcher, Gomez is very raw but has shown solid athleticism and ability behind the plate in his first season at the position. There is some power projection in the bat, but his defense – 17 passed balls in 28 games – will need to improve if he is going to advance.
Kral was drafted in the 10th round of the 2011 draft and played in 14 games in the Complex League before the season ended. He has some pop in his bat and posted a 2:1 walk to strikeout ratio with College of Charleston this season.
One To Keep An Eye On –
Daal is a 2010 international free agent signee who the Padres’ European scouts found out of the Netherlands. Although he is one of the youngest hitters in professional baseball, Daal has a great approach and was widely regarded as one of the best hitting prospects in all of Europe. Like most young players Daal had an extremely up and down year that featured him going just 1-for-18 in June but then bouncing back for a .344/.475/.438 month of July. He’ll start 2012 at just 18 years old so expect to seem him back in Arizona rookie ball.
New Addition –
The Padres made a splash on the international free agent market this year by inking Ruiz to a $1.1 million deal. Widely regarded as the best catching prospect available in Latin America in 2011, Ruiz brings advanced defensive ability and above average raw power to the organization.
Guys You Don’t Need To Worry About Unless Something Crazy Happens –
Eddy Rodriguez, Jhonaldo Pozo, Ali Solis, Guillermo Quiroz, Kyle Phillips, Rocky Gale, Jeremy Rodriguez, Ross Brayton