Padres Prospect Mailbag: OctoberPosted by in Mailbag
Some questions have been slightly edited to be shorter and more direct. If you have a question for the next Padres Prospect Mailbag, shoot us an email: email@example.com
Why is Jason Hagerty barely playing in the Arizona Fall League? Are the Padres in charge of his playing time or does the team’s manager decide it? – Kevin
Hagerty is in an odd position as a Taxi Player in the AFL. This simply means that he is only eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mostly this is a roster spot filled with pitchers who are only in Arizona for light amounts of work and position players who are either under-developed for the competition level or just there as a warm body.
While he has definitely been struggling – .200/.273/.267 – Hagerty is at the end of a very long season that saw the first real level jump of his career. His sparse playing time has been most evident on defense where Hagerty has three throwing errors in six games.
Outside of Taxi Squad players playing time is divided up fairly evenly with top performers like Jedd Gyorko getting the nod over struggling players to make the game more appealing to the few fans in attendance. The Padres and other organizations give the players certain things to work on while in Arizona but don’t necessarily have a direct say in playing time unless they explicitly express their preferences to the coaching staff – likely taking place behind the scenes. Things like pitch counts are heavily monitored by the player’s parent organization.
What are your thoughts on Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod skipping town? – Tim
It’s a tough situation to say the least. Hoyer and McLeod were a big part of this organization’s culture and were a few of the key members of the front office who implemented the current procedures that have led to so much success in the player development department.
Although two years may not be long enough for a permanent culture change, Josh Byrnes and Jeff Moorad share Hoyer and McLeod’s belief that this team needs to be built through internal options and thus needs to be competitive in obtaining amateur and minor league talent. Expect the streamlined communication processes Padres scouts currently use to continue along an aggressive approach to the draft.
One thing to keep in mind assessing blame (which I assume you put on Hoyer and McLeod for saying they “skipped town”) is that we have no idea how this situation actually unfurled. The only “facts” that 99% of people reading this mailbag have are from media sources that have elected to leak information – likely for their own image – not from actual occurrences behind closed doors. The golden rule – and dirty secret – about anonymous sources is that usually whoever comes out looking the best is the party whose hands got the dirtiest.
Who takes over for McLeod? Is this a big blow to the scouting department? – Antonio
One thing that’s important to remember is that McLeod was just part of the scouting department. Jaron Madison, AJ Hinch, Chris Gwynn, Randy Smith and countless other scouts are a huge part of the Padres’ success in the draft and the international free agent market.
McLeod brought a very strong eye for talent into the organization and he will be greatly missed, but he was far from the straw that stirred the drink.
Expect AJ Hinch to be elevated into McLeod’s position with Jaron Madison possibly being rewarded with a different title or extra responsibilities.
What three current Padres prospects do you see having the most impact at the MLB level over the next three years? – Derek
This question is a little tricky. While there will be a few prospects that debut in the next three years who have higher ceilings than the three prospects below, age and current ability were heavily considered towards projecting who would have the most impact for the Padres.
Anthony Rizzo – 2011 was a severe disappointment at the MLB level but Rizzo still has all of the talent needed to be a productive first baseman on a contending team. He offers some of the biggest power potential in the system and should have a good enough hit tool to realize that power. While an All-Star level first baseman may be on the high side of his projections – unless Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols head to the AL – Rizzo will at least be an above average regular in the not too distant future.
Robbie Erlin – Erlin created a ton of buzz this season by showing that his stuff and elite-level control will play – and dominate – top competition. Transitions from the minors to the majors are never easy, but Erlin has a distinct enough skillset that should allow him to be a productive player right away.
James Darnell/Jedd Gyorko – I wanted to go out on a limb and pick Casey Kelly (or even just one player) but I do think that one of Darnell and Gyorko are going to get significant playing time in the next few years. Both still need more time in the minors to refine their game, but it’s easy to see Darnell having a few productive seasons in left field or Gyorko turning into the hit machine that many believe he can be at third base.
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