Padres Organizational Audit: First BasePosted 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 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 -
Guzman could be the leader in the clubhouse headed into 2012 for better or worse. It is no secret that he lacks the physical tools and instincts to be a great defender, but even getting by as a passable first baseman proved to be difficult. Because of this Guzman will likely split time in left field, especially if Anthony Rizzo shows improvement from an abysmal 2011 in San Diego. Add in the fact that Guzman was basically considered an org player prior to a .312/.369/.478 stretch in 76 games and he becomes the biggest Wild Card in town.
While many assumed Blanks would become an everyday first baseman as his body matured, he has shown that he can play left field at least averagely. Only 14 of his 55 appearances came at first base this year and it doesn’t sound like the organization sees a future for him at the position. We’ll get more into Blanks’ situation in the left field edition of this series.
Top Prospect -
Rizzo has been considered the long term option at first ever since arriving in the Padres’ organization last fall. Even with a very rough MLB debut – .141/.281/.242 – his ceiling offers San Diego the chance at having an All Star first baseman yet again. Rizzo offers a unique blend of power and patience on offense and above average defensive skills at first. Unless he takes control of the starting job in Spring Training expect to see Rizzo back in Tucson to begin 2012.
The Rest –
Decker went from being a non-descript 22nd-round pick to intriguing bat in 2010 when he hit 28 home runs to go along with 35 doubles in the California League. He hit a bump in the road this season, missing all but 59 games due to an ankle injury. Decker has plenty of doubters who point to his below average hit tool and stout stature, but if he can start making more contact he may have a shot at a cup of coffee.
While Freiman boasts a career .837 OPS as a pro he lacks the overall ceiling and polish to register highly on prospect lists. With a 6’7” 225-pound frame he has big raw power and generates huge amounts of back spin with his upper-cut swing. Already old for his level Freiman will have to show that he is able to put up premium offensive numbers if he hopes to continue to move up in the organization.
In two professional seasons Cunningham has failed to show the kind of power and offensive prowess he flashed in his final two years at Murray State. With just 10 career home runs and a .406 slugging percentage Cunningham may have already hit his wall as far as skill level. The Padres have tried to play him in left field and right field, but with most of his playing time coming at first base and designated hitter it’s clear what they think of his defense.
Powers was taken just four rounds after Cunningham in the 2010 draft and, thus far, has served in a very similar role. He got off to a very rough start to his career in 2010 but arrived in Fort Wayne this year and ended the season with an impressive .338/.422/.538 slash line in 76 games. Powers showed a bit of versatility in 2011 by playing more than a handful of games at third base – 15 – but does not profile as anything more than a first baseman.
Guys You Don’t Need To Worry About Unless Something Crazy Happens –
Zach Kometani, Daniel Garce, Paul Karmas