2012 Spring Training Notes: Peterson, Jones, Stokes, Liriano, Decker, SpangenbergPosted by in Spring Training
This is the second installment of our 2012 Spring Training Notebook, which chronicles time spent on the backfields in Arizona watching Padres prospects. Check back for more notes and observations on top players and batting practice, game and bullpen videos still to come.
Jace Peterson – Peterson didn’t see too much action in games while I was in Arizona. During batting practice he showed a much quieter swing than he had featured as an amateur – a testament to Padres coaches and Peterson’s own work ethic – and had a definite athleticism to his game.
At this point the best thing for him is to get as many at bats as possible. As has been noted before, Peterson is focusing fully on baseball for the first time in his life. His game is raw on both sides, but the ceiling is there. The 4.2 he ran to first on a double play was a bit lackluster, but Peterson will normally sit in the 4.0-4.1 range hitting left handed, which is above average.
I’ve heard from more than a few people in the industry who aren’t completely sold on Peterson’s baseball future, but the tools are there for him to fight his way into the Padres’ future.
Duanel Jones – Jones is a pretty impressive looking guy if you’ve never seen him in person. Officially listed at 6’3”, it looks like the 18-year-old has out grown that a bit.
In BP Jones shows off his above average raw power with towering fly balls to left field with great backspin, but then will lose any sense of barrel awareness for his next few swings. His timing isn’t well refined at this point – to be kind – but he’s well on par with the other raw teenagers around him.
Once Jones begins to refine his timing you’ll start to see much better use of his hands in his swing. He’s going to be a bit of a hacker for a while – and likely will strikeout a good amount throughout his career – but the natural bat speed and leftover physical projection are both enough for him to be special.
Defensively, Jones has been in the lineup primarily as a designated hitter this spring, which speaks to his skill set on that end. A third baseman at the moment, Jones has a very strong arm but clumsy actions at the hot corner. A move to first base is likely in his future – with a quick outfield trial possible as well – but the Padres will look to hold that off as long as possible.
Mykal Stokes – Stokes is a good-looking athlete who’s wirey strong. The Padres have been trying him as a leadoff man, but Stokes’ approach will leave a lot be desired.
The speed is legitimate on the basepaths and often saves him on poor reads in center field. He showed great awareness and instincts running the bases, which should come as no shock considering his 21 career steals in 24 attempts.
It’d be ideal to see what Stokes could do with consistent playing time against players of his same development level, but that likely means keeping him back for a spot with the Eugene Emeralds in June.
Rymer Liriano – Liriano has quickly become the crown jewel of the low minors for the Padres. He was constantly receiving one-on-one coaching from members of the San Diego staff and mostly worked on specific swing mechanics throughout his in-game action.
Liriano’s BP is on another level at most times. His wrist and forearm strength compare favorably to just about every player on the field and his barrel awareness is extremely advanced for his age.
He’s not quite the overall physical specimen that Donavan Tate is, but it’s hard to find an area to complain about on Liriano. Most scouts don’t expect him to keep his 65 speed, but Liriano hasn’t shown any signs of…slowing down…(sorry) yet.
Cody Decker – The only real newsworthy item here is that the Padres have been giving Decker a shot at third in morning workouts. The down side here is that thus far he’s been Edinson-Rincon like at best.
The good news is that Decker looks completely healthy after last season’s ankle woes.
Cory Spangenberg – There are no guarantees when dealing with prospects but Spangenberg looks more like a career .300 hitter than anyone I’ve ever seen in person in the minors. He’s got the best hands in the system and an amazingly mature approach to plate coverage for a player with such little advanced coaching.
Pessimism usually rings louder when projecting Spangenberg’s power potential, but he has a good enough approach and surprisingly large frame to develop into average power.
Spangenberg has looked much more comfortable at second base compared to 2011 turning double plays and fielding ground balls up the middle. He’s athletic enough to develop into a plus defender up the middle with fringe-average arm strength.