Players You’re Intrigued By But Know Little AboutPosted by in AZL Padres | Eugene Emeralds | Fort Wayne Tin Caps | Lake Elsinore Storm | Player Update | San Antonio Missions | Scouting Reports | Tucson Padres
Earlier this week I sent out a message on Twitter asking for followers to send suggestions of guys they were intrigued by, but knew little about. While the following seven guys aren’t necessarily the best prospects in the Padres’ system, each offers enough upside that they deserve some attention.
Henry Charles – Charles is in his first season of stateside baseball after spending all of last year in the Dominican Summer League. Although his AZL line of .254/.336/.336 isn’t overly impressive, he has the tools to be a solid regular in an outfield corner. His speed precludes him from playing in center field, but Charles may be able to stick in right with his above average arm. Charles isn’t an extremely physical player at the moment but should fill out his 6-foot-3 frame over the coming years. He’s got a solid approach at the plate and a pretty clean swing making him an intriguing option as a breakout player in 2013 or 2014, which is part of the reason I thought he deserved a spot in the Top 25.
Matt Clark – Clark is a bat first player that splits time between first base and left field, but even his bat can be questionable at times. In the extremely hitter friendly Pacific Coast League Clark has a .289/.364/.502 career line in 244 games with 45 home runs. Now 25 years old, Clark has never been added to the 40-man roster meaning any team that was interested in giving him playing time could have likely acquired him by now. Many times these guys get a shot at some point (see Bryan Lahair), but it seems clear the Padres are in no rush to see what Clark has to offer. He remains a valuable piece in the organization as a veteran presence and insurance option, but it’s tough to see much beyond that.
Duanel Jones – Jones did not crack the recent Top 25 because of a down year, but is definitely a guy. There’s still a decent amount of swing-and-miss in his game, but Jones has cracked down some on strikeouts this season. He has at least 60 raw power if not more, but that rarely comes into play during games. If you want a reason to believe in his offensive potential, Jones’ 23 doubles are quite promising and he draws a fair amount of walks for his experience level. Defensively Jones is still a complete mess at third base with few outside the organization giving him a shot to stick at the hot corner. His arm is plenty strong enough but to this point Jones hasn’t shown the ability to progress at third base in refining his defensive abilities.
Here’s video of Jones from Spring Training:
Uber Paz – Back in Spring Training I noted that Paz was having trouble repeating his delivery to the point that he was tipping his pitches. Fast forward four months and Paz is still going through the same troubles when facing far less experienced AZL hitters. His arm still holds a lot of promise, but until he can gain some form of consistency Paz will be unable to pitch with much success let alone start.
Here’s video of Paz from Spring Training:
Nate Freiman – Freiman is very much in the mold of Clark, in that he is a relatively untested bat-first guy who is likely stuck at first base. Freiman has a balanced swing that produces some of the easiest 65 power you’ll see even considering his 6-foot-7 frame. Now 25 in Double A, Freiman offers no physical projection and isn’t expected to further develop skills wise. He can play a decent first base but is clearly not one of the more agile first baseman you will see. Freiman may get a shot at some point, but his chances of sticking on an MLB roster for an extended period of time seem slim.
Burch Smith – Smith is a University of Oklahoma product who is in his first year of full-season baseball. At his best, Smith will sit in the low 90s with serious life on his fastball and an above average off-speed offering in the low 80s. That combination has led to a good amount of strikeouts and fly balls this season and has caused his name to pop up among scouts as a potential steal in the draft. It’s easy to get excited about Smith based off his box score lines this season but expectations must be tempered as evaluators are still just warming to him as more than just a name to watch.
Rodney Daal – Daal is likely the most interesting prospect of this entire group as he is still just 18 and has yet to appear in full season baseball. He is a bat-first catcher who still needs a decent amount of work behind the plate but should be able to stick baring unforeseen developmental problems. Still, Daal’s calling card will always be his bat, which currently shows a solid hit tool and probably 55 raw power. His approach at the plate is impressive for his experience level and will definitely be an asset in his development. Daal’s success could be a potential boost for baseball as he is one of the few players currently in the minors signed out of Europe.