Grady Fuson, if you didn’t know, is in charge of overseeing the Padres minor league system, and he recently took exception with Baseball America’s ranking of the Padres farm system as 29th best, or 2nd worst, in the league.
As we’ve discussed before, the public perception of our farm system is bleak. Along with BA, Keith Law ranked the team at 19th, and John Sickles and Baseball Prospectus were also less than enthused. But neither of them were as harsh as BA, which is where Fuson’s directed his ire.
Said Fuson: “It’s impossible. It just has to be.”
Fuson, who oversees the farm system and the draft, said the Padres belong in the Top 10, not the bottom two.
“Let’s take the true Baseball America that we all know,” Fuson said Monday. “We all know that they love high school, first two rounds, and/or overpaid type players. The reality is that we are a little more selective in that group. So, in other words, we don’t take every high school guy that runs and throws, or that has a 93 mph fastball, just because he throws 93. We’re a little more selective with delivery, with a true ability on projecting some command down the road.
“When it comes to the offensive players, do I want (those) that can run and throw? You bet. But we are also very offensive-minded in our selections. With that said, I think we should be judged a little bit on the quality in the last three or fours years on the offensive players – not just the one-dimensional bangers – but with skills that can play. How can you define those guys as non-upside guys?”
One more time: “It’s impossible. It just has to be.”
I remember there was a time when it looked like the Padres were putting together an All-Star front office, with Fuson and Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta. I imagine it’s difficult to find anyone who would term the F.O. as an All-Star squad at this point, and Fuson’s defensiveness does nothing to help matters.
I realize that Fuson defending the minor league system is not a problem. It’s his job, afterall. And it’s good that he takes offense to BA’s dramatically low ranking, which I’m not necessarily endorsing. But top 10? Are we supposed to take Fuson seriously?
Does he actually think that the Padres have a top 10 minor league system?
Let’s assume for a second that Fuson actually believes his own non-sense. All of a sudden, I’m not comfortable with Fuson’s ability as a system builder.
From the UT article:
Fuson mentioned, among many others, Kulbacki, a left fielder who batted .332 with 20 home runs last year in 84 games with Single-A Lake Elsinore; pitcher Wynn Pelzer, a right-hander ticketed for Lake Elsinore’s rotation this year, who was 9-6 with a 3.19 ERA at Single-A Fort Wayne; and Hunter, a center fielder who batted .318 with 11 home runs in 134 games with Lake Elsinore.
“You can’t say that Kulbacki doesn’t look like an impact player,” he said. “Pelzer, this guy is smart. This is a guy that has good stuff. If Cedric Hunter’s career is Jody Gerut, that’s a pretty good big league ballplayer. I could see where somebody would say that is not impact, but that’s a pretty good big-league ballplayer.”
Moving past the craziness of comparing Cedric Hunter’s career to Jody Gerut’s injury-riddled one, Fuson sounds like a desperate man who can’t handle criticism. I’d say it’s because he can feel the ax coming, but Alderson has his back:
“Everybody sees the depth that we have in our minor league system. At this point, perhaps people don’t see one outstanding prospect. … Really, only one of our top-rated prospects had a disappointing year in any real sense, and that was Antonelli. Anybody else, like LeBlanc – we were pushing our guys to higher levels. So, that, together with the fact we had a very strong draft (in 2008) and a number of those players are ranked in our Top 10, and we had some great signings internationally – (being ranked 29th) just doesn’t make any sense. Of course, there were other publications that ranked us much higher.”
Of course, we’ve already discussed Alderson’s impending departure, but maybe his comments shed some light on an organizational content with a minor league system that is universally listed in the bottom half of the league (despite their own objection) and is so barren that the big league team is looking at Cha Seung Baek as its third starter. Afterall, it’s impossible that this team is the 29th worst in the league. It just has to be.