Padres Prospect Rap Sheet: April 17, 2012Posted by in AZL Padres | Eugene Emeralds | Fort Wayne Tin Caps | Lake Elsinore Storm | San Antonio Missions | Tucson Padres
Rico Noel, CF (High-A Lake Elsinore) – Noel’s production this season has to be a very pleasant surprise to the Padres after tasking him with learning how to switch hit this last offseason. He was 12-for-32 heading into Monday’s game with seven steals in as many attempts and hitting a robust .370 against righties in 27 at bats. Noel is never going to be a big power guy, but with his speed and contact skills you’d like to see a few more extra-base hits. With an insane 91.5% career steal rate even if Noel is limited to singles you’re almost guaranteed to see him on second soon enough.
Jace Peterson, SS (Low-A Fort Wayne) – It’s been a great stretch for Peterson so far hitting leadoff for the TinCaps. With three doubles, a triple and a homerun Peterson has shown a strong bat to go with his three steals. Defensive production is still a concern as he continues to show plus tools in his arm and glove, but at this point he hasn’t been able to put them together.
Casey Kelly, RHP (Triple-A Tucson) – Kelly’s season was off to a fantastic start – 2.25 ERA in 12 innings pitched – before news came down before his start on Monday that he was headed to the 7-day disabled list with a sore elbow. At last check there was no definitive word on exactly what plagued Kelly or a firm time table.
Austin Hedges, C (Low-A Fort Wayne) – The defensive-minded backstop has done nothing but impress with his bat this season, hitting .286/.394/.536 in 28 at bats. Although he’s only managed to catch 32% of base stealers according to the box scores, at least three of those successful steal attempts can be pegged squarely on Peterson and Travis Whitmore failing to complete the play at second base.
Jason Hagerty, C (Double-A San Antonio) – Hagerty is never going to be a big power guy, but two home runs and a miniscule strikeout rate so far this season have given him some well-deserved attention. Now firmly planted as the third-best catching prospect in the system, Hagerty may just be able to fly under the radar long enough to surprise some people.
Keyvius Sampson, RHP (Double-A San Antonio) – Sampson has been nothing short of overpowering in his first taste of Double A. In 9.1 innings he’s struck out 10 while walking just one and allowing two earned runs. Sampson generated serious buzz in Spring Training with word that his curveball looked much improved. With a plus fastball and a 60/65 changeup, Sampson needs little more than a solid-average curveball to be a number two or really good number three starter in the majors.
Cody Hebner, RHP (Low-A Fort Wayne) – Much like Sampson, Hebner has been dominant in his two outings this season striking out 12 men in 10 innings while allowing just two earned runs. With a big fastball and an ever-improving curveball Hebner should be able to remain productive throughout his first year of full-season baseball.
Signs of Struggling:
Rymer Liriano, RF (High-A Lake Elsinore) – It’s been pretty obvious that Liriano has been pressing early in the season. He’s been swinging at a lot of bad pitches, which is not at all a characteristic of his game. While he hasn’t been on base much, 0-for-3 on steals may be the biggest surprise so far.
Corey Adamson, OF (Low-A Fort Wayne) – Adamson’s lone hit on the season was an impressive homerun on a cool day in Michigan. While .042 will turn heads for the wrong reasons, Adamson is still finding himself as a player and is likely still a year away from really producing consistently.
Luis Domoromo, LF (High-A Lake Elsinore) – It’s been a rough go so far for Domoromo in his first taste of High A, but he’s looking great in batting practice and should turn around his early season struggles soon.
Donavan Tate, LF (Low-A Fort Wayne) – Tate has been an impressive catalyst at the top of the TinCaps’ lineup this season when he’s gotten on base, but the unfortunate part of that equation is that it doesn’t happen too often. He has such a physical frame that you’d like to see more than one extra-base hit in 38 at bats, but it’s clear Tate still has a lot of developing to do on the diamond.
Joe Wieland, RHP (Triple-A Tucson) – Wieland became the first top prospect to make his 2012 debut when he was called up to replace Dustin Moseley in the Padres’ rotation on Saturday. While Matt Kemp understandably schooled him, Wieland did manage to make a few adjustments to his delivery to help keep the ball down in the zone mid game. His stuff has come a long way over the last year and a half, but he’s never going to be the type of guy that can work up in the zone. The Padres were impressed with the way Wieland handled himself early in Saturday’s game, but there’s been no word yet to the extent of his time on the 25-man roster.