Thursday, August 25, 2005

Padres minor league system is WEAK?

Weak? Many knowledgable baseball personnel are claiming that the Padres system is weak and I don't understand why. While our efforts have been frugal they have been productive also.

How does Clay Hensley and Craig Breslow sound? Were they even on Baseball America's or Baseball Prospectus's radar before being called up and handling the major league hitters so well?

In addition to Barfield, Johnson and Carrillo, the only players that Baseball America deemed worthy of note, there is also:

Portland: Nick Trzeniak catcher, former 1st round pick hitting .393 or what about that hitting machine that hasnt been stopped at any level, Paul McAnulty? Tim Stauffer who has already shown that he will be a middle of the rotation major league starter. There are also some lesser caliber prospects that might do well such as Tag Bozied, Jon Knott, Chris Oxspring or Greg Sain.

Mobile: Our top catching prospect, George Kottaras is there and doing quite well. In addition, there is the emergence of Steve Baker who is hitting .304 at Mobile after hitting .344 at Lake Elsinore. Lesser prospects there like Sean Thompson, Corey Smith and Jared Wells could surprise.

Lake Elsinore: What about Khalil's running mate in college, Michael Johnson hittin .300 and slg .601? Colt Morton is finally showing he could be a real prospect. after being selected an all star in the midwest league, he has hit .313/.405/.688/1.093 with 7 hrs in 17 games since being promoted. While Adam Bourassa hasn't hit for much power, he has shown the ability to get on base, walking 25 times while striking out just 13 times for a .428obp and a .356ba. Despite his chunky body, Fernando Valenzuela Jr has proved he can hit, although he would have to be considered a long shot.

Below this there are a lot of good looking kids that have yet to prove whether they are prospects or suspects but they have time to show it. 2005 was or at least appears to have been, a very good draft year. Time will tell.

Looking back at our recent drafts, we can see quite a few players that have been successful or that are fairly sure bets to contribute at the major league level.

1998: Sean Burroughs=majors, Brian Lawrence=majors, Jeremy Fikac=majors
1999: Nick Trzesniak=AAA, Jake Peavy=majors,
2000: X Nady=majors, Justin Germano=majors,
2001: Tag Bozied=AAA, Josh Barfield=AAA, Greg Sain=AAA, Jason Bartlett=majors,
2002: Khalil Greene=majors, Paul McAnulty=AAA, George Kottaras=AA, Steve Baker=AA, Jared Wells=AA
2003: Tim Stauffer=Majors, Colt Morton=A+, Fernando Valenzuela jr=A+,
2004: Matt Bush=A- and a host of other hopefuls(a bad draft it appears)
2005: Cesar Carrillo=AA, a host of others with 6 or 7 having real potential.

Where are we weak? In addition to the above players we have a major league ready centerfielder, Freddie Guzman, who spent the entire year on the d/l with a surgically repaired elbow. We have Ben Johnson and Paul McAnulty that are about ready to step up as corner outfielders. We already have developed a major league ss, 3b and 1b. Now we have a 2b, Josh Barfield, that is near ready. Our system appears deep in catchers with Trzesniak, Kottaras and Morton all having potential. Jake Peavy and Oliver Perez headline the list of pitchers we have sent to the majors recently and we have Tim Stauffer and Cesar Carrillo close to ready.

The Padres minor league system might not be the strongest around but they are far from being weak.


Anonymous David said...

A couple of different thoughts:

In '98, they used the 17th round pick on some kid named Lawrence. That said, when you manage only two decent major leaguers (Fikac doesn't fit that bill, nor do Bartosh or Cyr), that's not good for a draft.

In '99, they had SIX picks in the top 51, and the best they did out of it was a guy who six years later is playing well in his first third of a season in AAA. That's VERY POOR!

Obviously, the entire player development team has turned over since that time, and the current guys have developed better prospects (although none of Bozied, Sain, Baker or El Torito can be considered strong prospects), but this is still a below-average system.

Also, if you're willing to consider Fast Freddy a prospect (he's just another Tom Goodwin), you really shouldn't write off last year's draft class with guys like Mike Ekstrom, Matt Varner, Big Kyle Blanks, Clayton Hamilton, and the Gritman just yet.

3:51 PM  
Blogger hank said...

Not quite sure I agree with you on Fikac. He did quite well in the majors, with the Padres, until injured. he managed to spend three years in the majors. Do you have any idea what percentage of drafted players have that distinction? Less than 5 percent.

So in 1998 we got 3 players that spent at least 3 seasons in the majors..

despite squandering 5 first round picks in 1999, we still managed to come up with Peavy that year. That in itself keeps it from being a total loss. Gerik Baxter might have been even better than Jake but he died in the car crash.

I do agree that Guzman's upside might be Tom Goodwin but geeesh. for several years Goodwin stole 50 bases and hit .280/290 for KC. I would take that for the Padres centerfielder/lead off man.

You are correct, I suppose I was so disappointed that I just overlooked all the decent prospects that came out of last years draft. Tks for bringing me back in focus.

6:20 PM  

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