Padres Organizational Audit: Third 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 –
Coming off of a 2010 campaign were he graded out as one of the top third basemen in the league, Headley fought through a tough, injury filled 2011. While he was long considered the third baseman of the future by the Kevin Towers led Padres regime, Headley is entering his second year of arbitration and should receive a healthy raise, which may cause San Diego to think twice about his value to the team with the positional depth at third in the minors.
It’s impossible to take too much from Darnell’s performance after being called up. 18 games is far from a sample size, but he was able to show that he can hit with a good approach against advanced pitching and that he will not be able to cut it at third base. While that may not seem like a good thing for Darnell, it actually means that he should get more playing time with the left field position currently in a state of flux in San Diego.
Top Prospect –
Gyorko is one of the few bright spots from the Padres’ 2010 draft class thus far, but – luckily for the organization – he has been nothing short of amazing. In 2011 Gyorko led the minors in hits (192) and doubles (47) while jumping a level and holding his own on a 100-win San Antonio team. Scouts are split on his defensive ceiling but most believe Gyorko’s glove will be an adequate compliment to his impressive bat. A few more months in San Antonio and time in Tucson this year should set him a path to make his MLB debut sometime in 2013.
The Rest –
Few prospects can match Rincon’s raw offensive tools at such a young age. In his age 20 season he was pounding the California League to the tune of a .329/.394/.497 slash line with 24 doubles in just 74 games. A midseason HBP fractured Rincon’s Hamate bone, costing him about half of the season. While he will be healthy by the time Spring Training rolls around in 2012, it may take until the All-Star break or later for Rincon’s power stroke to fully return. Another trip through Lake Elsinore is expected for the 6’1” Dominican native who may be playing his last full season at third base due to his terrible actions and instincts for the position.
One prospect that may be able to fit into that elite category of youth and offensive upside with Rincon is Duanel Jones. Jones may easily posses the greatest raw power of any Padres prospect, but he has yet to develop the type of hitting approach to actualize that great ability. At just 18 years old Jones was able to flash his tools in an 18-game stint in Eugene after crushing AZL teams with a .500 slugging percentage in 37 games to start his stateside career. But, like Rincon, Jones is almost assuredly going to be forced to move off of third at some point, which will diminish the value of his cannon arm. Although he’s extremely unrefined at the moment, don’t be surprised if Jones starts to put it together in the next two years and shoots up prospect boards.
Rounding out third base prospects is another intriguing bat who has struggled at the position. Quintana was beginning to find himself in the Dominican Southern League when the Padres decided to promote him to the AZL League to replace Jones at third for the last stretch of the season. Quintana showed a solid approach at the plate but booted three balls in just eight games on defense. The bright side of the story is that the Padres were impressed enough to tab him as the co-defensive player of their instructional league this fall.
Guys You Don’t Need To Worry About Unless Something Crazy Happens –
Jarrett Hoffpauir, Pedro Feliz, Jake Blackwood