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The Padres top 10 prospects (according to the fans)

March 9th, 2012 by

Yesterday, I posted a list of the consensus top 10 prospects in our system according to the experts but what do they know? Well, actually, a lot. Nevermind that point. But just because they know a lot doesn’t mean there’s nothing else to know. For instance, for all their knowledge, I’m not sure how personally invested the experts are in the Padres so with that in mind, I looked at the people who are and found out what they thought.

The following list is compiled from the opinons of Geoff Young, Mickey Koke, Peter Friberg, the teams at Padres Prospects and Mad Friars, and the miscreants at the UTSD forums.

But first a disclaimer, though not the one you were probably expecting. While all lists were either made or updated after the Rizzo and Latos trades, one list left Casey Kelly off of their top 30. Assuming that this list simply forgot him and doesn’t think he’s only the second best Kelly in our system, I had to use more frog DNA to figure things out.

01. Yonder Alonso, 1B

DOB: April 8, 1987
Projects to start 2012 at San Diego (MLB)

02. Yasmani Grandal, C
DOB: November 8, 1988
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

03. Robbie Erlin, SP
DOB: October 8, 1990
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

04. Rymer Liriano, OF
DOB: June 20, 1991
Projects to start 2012 at Lake Elsinore (High-A)

05. Jedd Gyorko, 3B
DOB: September 23, 1988
Projects to start 2012 at San Antonio (Double-A)

06. Keyvius Sampson, SP
DOB: January 6, 1991
Projects to start 2012 at Lake Elsinore (High-A)

07. Joe Wieland, SP

DOB: January 21, 1990
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

08. Jaff Decker, OF
DOB: February 23, 1990
Projects to start 2012 at San Antonio (Double-A)

09. Casey Kelly, SP
DOB: October 4, 1989
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

10. Cory Spangenberg, 2B
DOB: March 16, 1991
Projects to start 2012 at Fort Wayne (Single-A)

A couple of things jump out. The fans expect more out of Robbie Erlin, as he ranked third on this list compared to tenth on the experts’. It make sense when you consider that Erlin has amazing numbers (career 1.15 BB/9) but lacks the tools of higher-end prospects and I’m not sure how often we fans got out to San Antonio.

The second thing that jumps out to me is that that the fans are not ready to believe in Hedges and Ross yet, which again makes sense when you consider access to in-person evaluation. Ross only has one professional inning under his belt while Hedges only has 34 plate appearances. I know I’m very excited for Hedges but I agree with the listmakers who’d like to see him do something before really getting on-board.

In place of Hedges and Ross, the fans put Decker and Sampson on the list, which I absolutely agree with. A bad rap seems to have stuck itself to Decker and he’s had a hard time proving that he’s no longer the stocky high schooler the Padres drafted in 2008. He won’t sell many jeans but as we all should know now, that’s not the point.

Finally, I just want to note that the top three on this list were one vote apart each, with Liriano not that far behind at four. If you’re looking for sweeping generalizations, it’s this: Alonso, Grandal, and Liriano are the stars of this system. For anyone looking for a bandwagon to get on, you’ve got three right there.

Posted in the seminary | 1 Comment »

The Padres top 10 prospects (according to the experts)

March 8th, 2012 by

As you (also) already knew, Keith Law over at ESPN named our farm system the best in baseball this winter. But who’s the best prospect in the best system? As I’ve never attended a minor league game before in my life, I have no idea but the internet is full of people who do. Specifically, Matt Eddy, Kevin Goldstein, Law, Jonathan Mayo, and John Sickels and these five give us the consensus you’re about to read.

But first, a disclaimer. Not all of these lists were published after the Latos trade that brought over Alonso and Grandal, or the trade that sent Rizzo to Chicago, so a little bit of frog DNA had to be used. It may not be the most accurate list (of different people’s opinions) but I think it’s close enough.

01. Rymer Liriano, OF
DOB: June 20, 1991
Projects to start 2012 at Lake Elsinore (High-A)

02. Yonder Alonso, 1B
DOB: April 8, 1987
Projects to start 2012 at San Diego (MLB)

03. Yasmani Grandal, C
DOB: November 8, 1988
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

04. Casey Kelly, SP
DOB: October 4, 1989
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

05. Jedd Gyorko, 3B
DOB: September 23, 1988
Projects to start 2012 at San Antonio (Double-A)

06. Cory Spangenberg, 2B
DOB: March 16, 1991
Projects to start 2012 at Fort Wayne (Single-A)

07. Joe Wieland, SP
DOB: January 21, 1990
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

08. Joe Ross, SP
DOB: May 21, 1993
Projects to start 2012 at Eugene (Low-A)

09. Austin Hedges, C
DOB: August 18, 1992
Projects to start 2012 at Fort Wayne (Single-A)

10. Robbie Erlin, SP
DOB: October 8, 1990
Projects to start 2012 at Tucson (Triple-A)

Notes:

  • Surprised to see Liriano at the top spot? He only came in first on Goldstein’s list, which was written before the Latos trade, so it looks like he benefited the most from the frog DNA.
  • Sickels and Mayo both ranked Alonso first but Law ranked him fifth.
  • Kelly was a divisive pick. He finished in three top threes but Goldstein and Sickels put him at seven and eight (respectively).
  • Keyvius Sampson actually received four top ten picks but none above seven and Law left him completely off his list.
  • James Darnell (Sickels) and Jaff Decker (Law) each received one tenth place vote.

Posted in the seminary | 3 Comments »

Prospect U+Me

February 26th, 2010 by

Now that all the experts have told us what they think of our farm system, I’ve gone ahead and created a cheat sheet that you can wow your uncles with. I went through Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and Minor League Ball, took their lists, plugged in the holes with frog DNA, and came up with this:

01. Donavan Tate, OF
02. Simon Castro, RHP
03. James Darnell, 3B
04. Jaff Decker, OF
05. Wynn Pelzer, RHP
06. Logan Forsythe, 3B
07. Cory Luebke, LHP
08. Edinson Rincon, 3B
09. Aaron Poreda, LHP
10. Lance Zawadzki, SS

Your 2010 San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects! Unfortunately, as there is none of my own opinion in this, I can’t give you any sort of meaningful analysis. But then that goes against the point of lists anyway.

Posted in players | 1 Comment »

You play to win the game?

February 4th, 2010 by

With talk of the Twins and Joe Mauer close to coming together on an extension, it would seem that Adrian has jumped to the top of the waiting list. Whether he’s waiting to be extended or traded is yet to be seen.

At last week’s Town Hall meeting, the Padres told the crowd that they were committed to the name on the front of the jersey and not the ones on the back, and Jeff Moorad was later quoted in the Union-Tribune saying “I think the fairest description of our point of view is that we continue to be committed to doing what’s best for the long-term interest of the organization. As a result, no player is untouchable. And while we’re mindful of players’ individual popularity, we won’t put one player ahead of the long-term interests of the club.” Jed Hoyer gives a more diplomatic response, saying that it is still early in the process, but it would appear that the writing is on the wall.

The details have yet to come out on the Mauer extension, but let’s assume he’ll exceed $25 million a year (and that’s being generous to the Twins). With their new stadium, the team should see a boost in payroll, but Mauer will still eat up a large portion of their moneys. For their sake, I hope the payroll gets bumped to the $150 million range, just in case Peter Gammons was on to something when he pointed out that no team has won the World Series in 25 years with one player making 16% of the payroll*.

*Hilariously, A-Rod made 15.88% of the 09 Yankees payroll

I quoted Gammons two years ago, just before Peavy signed his extension with our San Diego Padres. At the time, I referred to it as an “Eric Owens extension,” meaning it was more populist than strategic. For you younger readers, replace Owens’ name with David Eckstein and you’ll get the idea. A well-rounded team with dreams of a World Series ring cannot afford to sink so much into one player. But then, who’s to say we want a well-rounded team?

This is not a Twins blog, and I don’t presume to know anything about their team or the way it operates, but a quick glance across the baseball landscape shows me that a Mauer extension will be a tremendous success for everyone: the Twins will have won a victory for small-market teams everywhere, Mauer is a hero for ignoring the bright lights of the big markets, and baseball writers get a new Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn, Sr. (combined!) to gush about. At this point, a World Series win would be the icing on the cake.

As a fellow Padres fan, I don’t have to tell you that we don’t even have a cake. Our enjoyment of our star player has been hijacked by seemingly non-stop trade rumors and our young core doesn’t really add up to much more than a Hostess snack cake. The 2010 PECOTA Projections put us at 74 wins and last place in the NL West. Las Vegas, for its part, gives us 80/1 odds of winning in October, putting us ahead of only the real train wrecks of the league. What we do have, despite everything I just said, is hope. With Blanks and Latos and Cabrera, the future looks brighter, and we still have a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove-winning first baseman, even if just for now.

With all that said, I pose this question to you, the loyal readers:

What would you rather the Padres do?

Would you rather see the team trade Adrian Gonzalez and maximize their resources in hope of building a small market contender like Colorado or Tampa Bay? Or would you rather see the team commit to Adrian and take their chances with one superstar making up to a third of the team’s payroll, crowning a new Mr. Padres in the process, even if it lowers our already low odds? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in hot stove, players | 15 Comments »

Have you ever wanted to see Jaff Decker dance?

January 27th, 2010 by

How about Allan Dykstra? Drew Cumberland? Blake Tekotte?

Alright, here you go:



Thanks to Lady Gaga, for inspiring us all.

Posted in misc | 1 Comment »

Some good news in my life: 6/15 Sacrificial Links

June 16th, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksIt’s times like these we look at our Padres’ 1.5% chance of making the playoffs, and decide to sit in and enjoy our cesspool of self loathing. Or we can stick our head out of the ground, look at what bright rays of light appear on the horizon, and enjoy a beautiful summer in San Diego.

Wait, The Padres’ ace, and potential trade bait for players the team can build a foundation upon is out for a month, possibly the rest of the year? What was the first option again?

Kevin Goldstein on the Padres’ Draft

Starting with the extra young’ns, the boys at Mad Friars posted a free interview with Kevin Goldstein, prospect guru of Baseball Prospectus. I think most Padre faithful are by now familiar with Donovan Tate.

Is he perfect? No, but in terms of star potential there was no position player like him in the draft. Obviously, he has risk, but no one comes close to his ceiling.

What you might not know is the Padres got great deals on players further down in their draft. One of whom, Everett Williams, scouts expected to go in the first round, while the Padres nabbed him with the 52nd pick overall in the second. And it isn’t just Goldstein who said this, though he does say that Keyvius Sampson, The Padres’ third round pick, could also have been selected in the first, but fell due to signability concerns. As a fan, I love that. We’ll take him.

You know it’s not only the high picks, but they took some players in later rounds that will also cost some money and didn’t flinch. If you are a Padres fan, you have to hope this is the new direction they will go in the future.

Jim Callis of Baseball America, same questions, *finger point to him*

Good info all around, what sticks out for me are Callis’ concerns about Tate. Callis does rave about what an athlete he is, but we already knew that. Lets look at Jim’s response to some possible roadblocks John Conniff might see in Tate’s bat.

I’ve seen [Tate] at a few showcases and while yes I can see some of the concern, it’s not at the same level of Anthony Hewitt, who the Phillies took last year in the first round. But its also going to take some time, I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the system either.

I agree with Ray, who has said it before, and Jim, who is saying it now. The team should give Tate all the time he needs. Repeat after me, “I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the sysetm.” Now say it again.

Jaff Decker is a monster

Padres low A outfielder Jaff Decker is the second most successful 2008 draft pick, according to Baseball America. He is Baseball Prospectus’ peak translated Equivalent Average runner up, meaning he has the second highest EqA for someone of his age in his league, based on the advanced all-around offensive metric. More traditionally, his line of .283/.455/.543 for a high school draftee in his first full year looks really really really really awesome.

…it’s even more startling once one realizes he’s a supplemental first-round pick out of high school from the ’08 draft. Decker leads the MWL in on-base percentage and ranks fourth in slugging, as he’s had no trouble converting his plus raw power to game power (that’s eight home runs in 39 games)

Lake Elsinore third baseman and all-star Logan Forsythe gets a nod from Baseball America as well, second in the league in peak adjusted Equivalent Average and Equivalent Runs, plus a .327/.475/.540 line for second in good old OBP as well.

Posted in draft, sacrificial links | 4 Comments »

Countdown to 3: Donavan Tate

May 4th, 2009 by

With the Padres possessing the third overall pick in this year’s MLB First-Year draft, we at the Sacrifice Bunt will be going through some of the different players that might be available once San Diego goes on the clock.

This counts Stephen Strasburg out. Sorry.

Leading up to draft day, we’ll help you get better acquainted with the various prospects, starting right now with Donavan Tate.

Biography

The 6’3″, 200 lb. Tate, who’s not to be confused with the actor Tate Donovan, is the son of former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Lars Tate. A two-sport star, Tate has actually committed to playing football at the University of North Carolina, after being courted by such programs as USC, Michigan, and Alabama. If he enrolls, Tate will have his eye on joining the school’s baseball team as well.

Currently a quarterback, it’s unclear where Tate will play on the baseball field if he suits up for UNC.

Scouting Data

Tate is a five-tool outfielder, and might be the toolsiest player in this year’s draft. During his football tryouts, Tate was clocked running a 4.4 40 and benched 300 lbs. On the diamond, his arm’s been clocked at 95 mph. And for good measure, he could probably sell a mean pair of jeans.

He’s received comparisons to the other Chris Young, hopefully meaning that he’s a center fielder with range and power, and not that he’s a hack machine.

He’s still in high school though, which means that many of his tools are very raw; it’s still unclear how he’s going to hit in the bigs. And with UNC waiting for him, his agent will no doubt use that in negotiations, making him a harder sign.

P.S. His agent is Scott Boras.

Performance Data

As Tate is still in high school, I have no idea where to start looking for his stats. If you do, please drop a link in the comment section. Thanks.

Where does Tate fit in the organization?

Tate is a legit centerfield prospect, which is something the team doesn’t really have. The current centerfielder of the future is Cedric Hunter, and many question whether or not he’ll be able to stick out there. Other centerfielders in the system include Jaff Decker, who’s currently playing left field for Ft. Wayne, and Will Venable, who lacks great speed.

There are questions surrounding Tate, but they don’t have to do with his defense.

He would also be a break from the drafting habits of the past couple of years. The Padres haven’t taken many high school players at the top of the draft, with Decker being one exception. To give you an idea of what this can mean, here’s an excerpt from an interview Mad Friars had with Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus:

Mad Friars: For an organization that has drafted heavily in college players, how do you explain that seven out of your Top 11 are either high school players, draft-and-follows, or Latin American signings?

Kevin Goldstein: It’s my theory that no one should draft all college players and fewer teams still do. In general, unless you are talking about elite college players, many have a lot of polish but they also have a tools weakness, which limits their ceiling. I use the Blue Jays as an example, a team that used to just draft college guys, where you end up with a lot of players like Aaron Hill and Russ Adams. They are fundamentally sound but are they going to make a huge difference? No. The Padres do go college heavy but this year you are beginning to see a new era with them. In Latin America, they spent some money on players that are young and with high ceilings. College players like savings bonds, pretty secure investment, but you are not going to be able to go out and buy the Mercedes with that investment either. Latin American and high school players are like Tech stocks. Often you lose, but when you hit, it’s really sweet.

The Padres find themselves in a fantastic position this year, where they can grab (almost) anyone they want, and they hopefully won’t find themselves in that spot again for a while. There are plenty of safer picks to take in this year’s draft, which we will cover in the coming weeks, but Tate might be this team’s opportunity to take a chance.

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Scout.com More Optimistic About Padres System

March 25th, 2009 by

While Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus weren’t particularly kind in their relative ranking of Padres prospects, Scout.com (home of Padres prospect site Mad Friars) is enjoying a cold glass of Padres kool-aid, Melvin Nieves style.

Our Padres appear in the upper echelon of teams when considering total players on the list, with 4 prospects in the top 100. First base monster Kyle Blanks tops the Padres farm hands at 39, unfortunately a bit low to be considered “elite”. This  confirms with about everyone else that the team lacks star caliber talent.

Right field prospect Jaff Decker follows Blanks, sliding in at 46th. Center fielder of the future Cedric Hunter and high upside pitcher Mat Latos (Only one T, I’m looking at you gaslamp ball) round out the list at 71 and 80, respectively.

Kyle Blanks was the lone representative in Baseball America’s list, at 50. Latos, outfielder Kellen Kulbacki, and Dominican pitching talent Adys Portillo are on the Baseball Prospectus board at 69, 84, and 100, respectively.

There is no question the farm isn’t where I’d like it to be, but this additional source paints the system in a better place than a certain other Sacrifice Bunt writer seems to think.

List here, breakdown here.

Posted in players | 1 Comment »

2008 Draft Recap: The Best of the Rest (Part 2)

June 17th, 2008 by

On Friday, I began reviewing the 2008 Padres Draft. This is a closer look at the remaining first day draftees and some choice selections from the second day of selections.

#42 – Jaff Decker, OF/P, Sunrise Mountain HS (AZ):

Despite Decker’s plus power, a lot of teams scouted him as a P as he throws a 93 MPH fastball with a good curve. I’ve seen comparisons from Matt Stairs to Brian Giles although he looks like the lovechild between Joba Chamberlain, Paul McAnulty, and the Little League World Series version of Sean Burroughs. That’s to say he’s got a live arm, good offensive approach, and well, he’s kinda short and stocky. The kid has a plus arm, great defensive instincts, and had 14 HR in 72 AB last season. I’ve got to be honest, I’m not crazy about this pick. Yes, he’s incredibly talented and is much more athletic than he appears, but his projections at the next level will have to be near the most optimistic end of the spectrum to possibly justify going after him at this spot.

Dacker confirmed that early next week he’s crossing the T’s and dotting the lower-case J’s on the nearly $890k contract that will put him in a Padres jersey next season.

#46 – Logan Forsythe, 3B, U Arkansas Fayetteville:

One of the great things about Forsythe is his versatility. Not only is he seen as a good defensive 3B, but DePodesta indicated that he’s played all over the diamond for Team U.S.A.:

Logan is a 3B for the University of Arkansas, though he played all around the diamond for Team USA last summer (he has also caught in the past).
Known for incredible makeup, Logan has been a coach and fan favorite. He played the entire summer for Team USA with a broken foot and refused to come out of games. Furthermore, he continually showed his best performances against the best competition and in the biggest moments.

In short, we think this is a very well-rounded player with great intangibles.

Now, I’m not so sure that drafting a guy with amazing versatility and then bragging about him playing on a broken foot is a way to win over many critics, but DePodesta obviously has different values than I do. I guess that’s just a way of saying he’s a “gamer.” And he isn’t the only person who believes that Forsythe could be an impact player behind the dish. Keith Law, while down on the rest of our draft, seemed to have nothing but good things to say about him:

[The Padres] got a potential sleeper in Logan Forsythe, who is a much better hitter than his overall stat line indicates and is a potential convert to catcher (he’s caught some before, and one team that worked him out as a catcher predraft said he was a natural fit there).

I don’t know what Law is referring to when it comes to implying that he’s a better hitter than his stats indicate, but a .353/.479/.533 line is impressive nonetheless. What impresses me is how creative the Padres have become when drafting catchers. Prior to the Ramon Hernandez acquisition, San Diego had a dark period when it came to backstops. Since, we have experienced a rather bright period and a lot to look forward to with Mitch Canham, Nick Hundley, and Colt Morton. One of the major similarities between these players is they weren’t necessarily full-time backstops. Plus they have the athletic ability to play elsewhere, allowing additional versatility.

To bring in a player like Forsythe, who has the potential to be as good, if not better, than some of our most recent catching draft picks is a thrilling prospect.

#111 – Sawyer Carroll, OF, U of Kentucky:

Carroll’s 2008 was a monstrous season; it speaks for itself, really:

AVG AB R H 2b 3B HR RBI TB SLG BB SO OBP SB – Attempts
.419 234 69 98 22 3 19 83 183 .782 44 33 .514 12 – 12

Carroll was just named to his fourth consecutive first-team All-American selection and ranked among one of the best in the SEC across the board offensively:

Carroll led the SEC with a .419 average and 83 RBI, ranking second in slugging (.782), second in on-base percentage (.514), fifth in runs scored (69), third in hits (98), second in doubles (22), fifth in home runs (19), second in total bases (183) and sixth in walks (44). Carroll, a senior from Henryetta, Okla., exited UK as a third-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres, walking away as the career record-holder in batting average (.386).

I find it hard to believe that Carroll was overlooked because he was a senior, but I really can’t come up with any other reason as to how somebody who absolutely dominated SEC play for four seasons drops to the third round and nobody takes a chance.

A little deeper digging, however, reveals that there might be some merit to his modest draft position. Carroll wasn’t necessarily a power hitter prior to this season. As DePodesta chronicles in his blog, Carroll hit the gym, packed on some serious muscle, and saw his HR total jump from 3 to 19. Perhaps many believed that this season’s power surge was an anomaly, but DePodesta and company are willing to take the chance. Can’t say I blame them provided the potential outcome of Carroll replicating these results in Petco Park someday.

#135 – Jason Kipnis, CF, Arizona State U:

Despite DePodesta’s evidence to the contrary, Jason Kipnis is not destined to be a CF.

Jason has played both CF and LF for ASU, though he has become the primary CF as the season has continued. He is a left-handed hitter who hits at the top of their lineup and has had a monster year, hitting .363 with a .484 obp and .677 slg. He’s a pesky player who is a very tough out, hitting the ball to all fields and running the bases aggressively (24 bases so far this year). Over the summer last year, Jason hit .318 with a .505 obp and a .591 slg while stealing 24 bases. Despite a limited projection in terms of physical size, he plays very hard and is surprisingly strong – 13 homers this year and 9 over the summer.

The summer statistics that DePodesta references are from his time in the wood-bat Valley League last season, where Kipnis was not only named an All-Star, but also won the Home Run Derby. Sure, he was a contestant despite having only 2 HR at the break compared to his 29 walks and competed under the pseudonym “Kevin Bishop,” but he still won, dammit.

True, he has the ability to hit for average, great patience at the plate, suitable power, solid base running abilities, and the range to be a CF. It’s just that damned arm. Kipnis, a former red-shirt freshman for Kentucky U, was originally slated to play SS before being dismissed from the team due to rules violations. He eventually transferred to ASU, moved to the OF, and was a bookend in a lineup that featured offensive juggernauts Ike Davis and Brett Wallace (both first-rounders). Granted, the last thing this club wants is a malcontent, noodle-armed CF (Milton Bradley meets Dave Roberts?), but he’d likely be well-suited to fill out LF in Petco Park.

There have been comparisons to former ASU standouts Travis Buck, Andre Ethier, and Chris Duffy…but other projections are a little less glowing:

Kipnis caught on quickly as the new player at ASU, and ranked right with power hitters Brett Wallace and Ike Davis as key contributors as the Sun Devils raced out to a fast start to 2008. A smooth, lefthanded swinger, he was hitting .350-12-61 with 21 stolen bases as the team entered the final week of regular season play. His aggressive style of play, speed and occasional pop made an impression on Arizona-based scouts, but he didn’t show enough raw speed to profile as a fixture in center field or raw power to play regularly on a corner. His arm is best suited for left field. Kipnis is a draft-eligible sophomore who is not physically developed, and another year in school could significantly improve his standing in the draft. There is a prevailing thought among scouts that he could even re-invent himself as an offensive-oriented second baseman with another year in school.

We’ll see how he turns out, but the good money is on Kipnis being a capable but comparatively light-hitting LF, or an offense-minded 2B.

#165 – Anthony Bass, RHP, Wayne St. U:

Thank your local area scout, Anthony Bass. If it weren’t for Padres’ scout Jeff Stewart, you would likely be a second day draft pick. As Bass recounts to his school paper, The South Ends News:

“All of a sudden I got a phone call. I didn’t recognize the number,” Bass said.

It was from Jeff Stewart, the Padres area scout, congratulating Bass on being the 165th selection of this year’s draft. It wasn’t strange that the call came from Stewart, but it was ironic in the fact that Stewart had informed Bass’ advisor that the Padres didn’t consider him a top-10 round draft pick.

“My advisor told me that he got a phone call from Stewart, and he was so upset because his organization didn’t look at his guys as being top-10 round draft picks, when I was on his list as one of those guys,” Bass described. “In other words, they weren’t really looking at me. So my advisor crossed them off the list.”

But a change of heart could be a major gain. Bass, who throws in the 93-94 MPH range, has touched 96 MPH and is expected to crank it up there permanently with proper training at the next step. There are even some that see him as a Division-II Tim Lincecum:

Bass reminds scouts of a Division II-version of San Francisco Giants pitching sensation Tim Lincecum, with a full back-arched delivery, overhand release point and head-jerk on release. While Bass’ raw stuff isn’t quite in Lincecum’s class, few other pitchers are either. Bass does maintain a 90-94 mph fastball, though, and there are reports he’s been as high as 96 mph this spring.

He’s a little rough around the edges, but he has the raw talent to work with. Besides that, he’s the complete antithesis to the type of pitchers the front office has been working with recently, and will help improve balance in the team’s system.

GANG OF FOUR (OR SIX)

Prior to the draft, a lot of websites speculated that Reese Havens – who ended up going to the Mets – was at the top of the Padres’ draft board. Keith Law suspected this was because the Padres were looking at him as our next SS. I find that hard to believe seeing as every other blog thinks he’s best suited for a corner IF or 2B due to his lack of range.

That being said, it brings up a good question: are the Padres not so enamored with the idea of Khalil Greene as a long-term fixture at SS? Despite Havens going to the Mets with the 22nd pick, the Padres still managed to draft four SS. Six, if you take stock in DePodesta’s projections. Either way, the general focus at the position revolved around plate discipline and hitting to contact. So, if you’re a betting man, I’d wager against Greene having as much leverage with this organization as he did the past offseason when contract talks heat up again after his 2009 campaign.

Here are a couple of the more note-worthy selections at SS.

#255 – William Weems, SS, Baylor U:

A slick fielder, Beamer is known as one of the best defensive shortstops in this draft with great hands, a plus arm, and above average range.

Sounds familiar, huh? Well, it should because it kind of resembles our current

Offensively, he’s a switch-hitter who is more of a contact hitter who does a good job of controlling the strike zone.

…nevermind.

Patience, an ability to hit for average, and defense?! Be still, my heart. However, this may be a case of our crack squad of scouts betting on Weems’ high-end projections while biting off a little more than they can chew. Early spring reactions read similar across the board – high praise for defense, major questions with the bat:

[Weems] was much better as a switch-hitter, especially from the left side. He also got to a lot more balls in the field and had one of the best range factors among league shortstops. But Weems still continued to try to make major league highlight plays when he had little or no chance of throwing out a runner, often at the expense of messing up some more routine plays. He’s viewed by scouts as an above-average shortstop in all phases, however. The key with Weems will be how far his bat takes him. He hit .321-9-59 as a sophomore at Baylor and has shown power with aluminum (17 homers in two years) that he has never shown with wood in summer ball (no homers in two years).

After his junior campaign, however, those questions still exist as his .270-7-30 line didn’t inspire much confidence. Pending a painstakingly careful examination of his reaction to a slider low-and-away I’ll reserve further judgment, but the optimist in me believes that Willy Weems (hehe) could be the ideal SS for Petco Park.

#525 – Derek Shunk, SS, Villanova U:

As DePodesta tells us:

A big, physical SS at 6’2″ and 215 lbs, Derek just finished a stellar college career that saw him hit over .300 in each of his four seasons including over .350 in each of the past two.

His .349 AVG, .467 OBP, and .539 SLG all led the Villanova Wildcats. Just as his .933 FLD% was the team worst (for players qualifying with 100+ TC). Shunk is more of a doubles-hitter, and benefits from a patient approach with gap power more than the long ball. Essentially, his game is the polar opposite of Greene’s.

THE LONG SHOT

There’s always that one guy drafted in the middle of the second day who the front office will woo with more money than their draft slot would regularly dictate. Generally there are issues regarding health or signability that drive their value down, but in other years would yield a higher draft slot. Such is the example of these few players:

#465 – Brett Mooneyham, LHP, Buhach Colony HS (CA):

Simple issue: signability. Sure, Mooneyham signed with Scott Boras, the biggest asshat of all agents, but the real reason he tumbled down the draft board was because he has already committed to Stanford. Not only was he ranked #78 in Baseball America’s 2008 Top 200 Draft Prospects*, he’s also an incredibly gifted student and many believed that this combination of athletic talent and intellect would be worth the risk of a high second or third round pick. Some sites even said that a Top 10-15 pick wasn’t out of the question given his talent. As for DePodesta’s take:

Brett is 6’5″, 215 lbs, throws up to 94 mph and has a plus curveball. Furthermore, Brett’s dad, Bill, was a first round pick in 1980. Sounds pretty good, huh? That’s why Baseball America rates him as one of top 100 prospects in the draft, and many people believe that he is the best left-handed high school pitcher in the country. At this point, though, Brett is planning to attend Stanford in the fall.

Geez – no need to play your poker face, Paul…

There are hopes that the Padres drop a ton of cash in his lap and he bypasses Stanford altogether, but the outlook is bleak given how much further he could progress up the draft board in the next three season — a fact that he’s well aware of:

“It would have to be something really, really special,” Mooneyham said of the Padres’ offer. “Going to Stanford only comes around once and not a lot of people get that chance.

“I’m going to take my time and think about it. To pass that up would have to take a lot.”

So, as of now, it looks to be a dead issue. However, there’s still the possibility that the Padres could offer him a monster contract or get creative, and it wouldn’t be the first time a team played smart with a potential Stanford Cardinal. The Washington Nationals and Jack McGeary have an interesting contractual understanding where McGeary is Nationals’ property, but still attends Stanford for academic purposes. Under MLB and (I’m assuming) NCAA guidelines McGeary can’t use Stanford facilities or be in any way affiliated with Stanford athletics, yet he is permitted to join the Nationals’ minor league ball clubs starting in June of each year. Granted, this is a unique situation in which McGeary is more of a contractual test subject than anything else at this point, but the team was able to make concessions.

Do I expect this to happen? Probably not. But it’s still worth hoping that a player with his sort of credentials ends up in a Padres’ uniform. Plus, if my gut feeling is correct and the Padres cut ties with Khalil Greene, who better to replace his SoCal, surfer looks?

*For comparison’s sake, first day draft picks Allan Dykstra (#38), James Darnell (#58), Jaff Decker (#62), Logan Forsythe (#76), and Blake Tekotte (#85) are the only other players San Diego drafted in the Top 200.

#675 – Chris Wilkes, RHP, Dr. Phillips HS (FL):

Despite going to a high school with the weirdest name ever, Wilkes has a decent fastball (low-to-mid 90’s) with adequate handling of his change-up and curveball. Unfortunately, Wilkes already has a scholarship on the table from Ole Miss this fall–as their QB. Don’t know why you’d draft a guy who’s unpolished even as a high school pitcher and who already has a scholarship to a major university in another sport. But it’s not like I have the front office experience to make a case against this pick.

Here’s to hoping he can be the Padres’ very own Darrin Erstad (I don’t really mean that).

#705 – Nick Conaway, RHP, (No School):

Out of the 16 RHP selected by the Padres, Conaway was second to last. Yet, most every write-up would have you second-guessing the draft board:

Nich was the closer for U Oklahoma last spring during which he had a dominant season. His fastball has reached 97 mph, and he compliments it with a power curveball…his big fastball and 85 k’s in 63 innings last year enticed our scouts to keep in touch with him this spring.

What’s more – he posted a 12.08 K/9 and .209 BAA to lead the Big 12. Fantastic! Draft him high and sign him up! However, that’s where you’d be wrong. Conaway, as you can obviously see, didn’t list a school last season and those stats are from 2007. The reason they aren’t updated is because he didn’t play this year. Following his strong showing with Oklahoma in 2007, Conaway underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery last fall, dropped out of college (although he was planning to transfer to another school), and missed his 2008 season.

Although he has has overpowering stuff at times, his stat line wasn’t the most glamorous. In fact, a closer who posts a 3-3 record, 2 SV, and a 4.83 ERA is downright ugly. Yet, the potential upside yielded a low-risk pick in Round #23.

Bear with me…Part III is due Wednesday and should be short-winded in comparison.

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