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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29) | 2008 (13)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [76-86] NL West
AAA: [56-88] Pacific Coast League – Tucson
AA: [60-80] Texas League – San Antonio
A+: [69-71] California League – Lake Elsinore
A: [69-71] Midwest League – Fort Wayne
A(ss):  [47-29] Northwest League — Eugene

Graduated Prospects
Yonder Alonso (1B); Yasmani Grandal (C); Anthony Bass (RHP); Brad Brach (RHP); Dale Thayer (RHP)

The Run Down
Pitching depth is the best asset of this San Deigo farm system.  From the upper levels down to the complex leagues, the Padres’ farm is flush with quality arms.  There are high-ceiling arms, and there are safe, high-floor guys, too.  That sort of depth is hugely important — strength in numbers usually prevails in the volatile practice of developing pitchers.  This top ten, however, is headlined by hitters.  Rymer Liriano, Jedd Gyorko, and Austin Hedges all bring high-impact upside for the fantasy game, and Gyorko could be providing plenty of value this season.  It might not be the best system in baseball, but it’s a damn good one.  We can look forward to this San Diego organization churning out fantasy-relevant talent in bulk for the next few years.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Rymer Liriano, OF:
  Liriano isn’t the safest prospect in this San Diego system, but his ceiling is the highest, and his fantasy upside is significant.  In 2012, the five-tool outfielder hit .298/.360/.443 in 74 games at High-A, before regressing to .251/.335/.377 down the stretch at Double-A San Antonio.  Liriano is an impressive athlete, but he’s yet to truly translate his raw tools into big time production on the field.  The 21-year-old will return to Double-A in April, where the Padres hope to see developmental strides early on in the 2013 season.  Once things start to click for an athlete as gifted as Liriano, it won’t be long before he’s big league ready.  ETA:  2014

2.  Jedd Gyorko, 3B/2B:  Gyorko already has three homers in big league camp this spring.  He’s battling Logan Forsythe for the 2B job, and it’s going to be tough for the Padres to keep him down if the continues blasting homers at this rate.  Still, questions remain about whether or not Gyorko, a natural third baseman, can cut it up the middle at the major league level.  If he can, he’ll be a great fantasy asset at 2B, with the potential to hit 20 homers and post good AVG.  If he arrives at third, however, he’ll be painfully average for the hot corner.  This is definitely a positional battle worth keeping an eye on for fantasy purposes.  Gyroko ranked #21 in my Top 25 Prospects for 2013 post.  ETA:  2013

3.  Austin Hedges, C:  Hedges is a glove-first catcher, which bodes well for his overall baseball future, but not necessarily so well for his fantasy future.  Fortunately, his tools at the plate aren’t for naught  — in his first year of full-season ball, Hedges showed unexpected pop, hitting 10 homers and posting a .172 ISO.  There’s upside here, but it might be several years before Hedges peaks as a hitter.  I’ve said it before:  be patient with catching prospects.  ETA:  2015

4.  Casey Kelly, LHP:  Kelly is battling with Freddy Garcia for the Padres’ last rotation spot this spring.  I wrote about him a few weeks ago in my Top 50 Prospects for 2013 post, where he ranked #37.  Click that link for more on Kelly.  ETA:  2013

5.  Robbie Erlin, RHP:  Also on that Top 50 listRobbie Erlin at #40.  The 22-year-old isn’t flashy, but his command is top-notch, and his approach to pitching simply wonderful.  Erlin should reach San Diego this year.  ETA:  2013

6.  Max Fried, LHP:  Fried brings the highest ceiling among the pitchers in this system, but he’s yet to throw a professional pitch outside of instructional league, so there’s plenty of uncertainty here.  The 19-year-old will bring his impressive frame and arsenal to the Midwest League for full-season baseball in 2013.  We’ll have a much better feel for his prospect status after he settles in.  ETA:  2016

7.  Joe Ross, RHP:  Like Fried, Ross brings a higher ceiling than either Kelly or Erlin, but he’s nowhere near as safe.  After destroying short-season hitters, Ross stepped up to Low-A Fort Wayne and lost all command of his arsenal.  Speaking of that arsenal, the raw stuff is quite good — three potential plus offerings (fastball, curve, change) have Ross looking like a front-end starter.  ETA:  2016

8.  Matt Wisler, RHP:  In a full season at Fort Wayne in 2013, Wisler was awesome:  2.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 113/28 K/BB in 114 IP.  He doesn’t quite offer the high-impact potential that we look for, but he’s extremely polished and he commands a deep repertoire.  Wisler could reach Double-A at age 20, and looks like a good bet to develop into a solid mid-rotation arm.  ETA:  2015

9.  Cory Spangenberg, 2B:  The 2011 first-rounder had a frustrating year at High-A, hitting .271/.324/.352 in only 98 games thanks to injury.  A year ago, many saw him as the best 2B prospect in the minors.  Now, he’s a few bad months away from dropping off the radar.  A quality hit tool and plus speed are Spangenberg’s best assets.  He’ll look to get back on track at Double-A in 2013.  ETA:  2014

10.  Donn Roach, RHP:  Roach’s two-seamer is a weapon.  With heavy sink and good location, Roach draws loads of groundball contact (3.53 GO/AO between High- and Double-A in 2012).  If he continues to pound the lower half of the zone with that sinker, the Padres could find him useful as soon as this season.  ETA:  2013

From Around The Web

  1. BnB says:
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    Liriano is actually out for the year after Tommy John surgery. Shouldn’t change his prospect status much, but the bio above might be different with that info…

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Thanks for the update. Certainly changes the ETA. Not sure how that nugget escaped me, but probably knocks him down behind Gyorko if I’m re-ranking.

  2. TheNewGuy says:
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    Good list man. One point on Gyorko, he’s already 2B eligable on ESPN, I’ve already picked him up in one league. So even if he breaks camp at 3B he’ll be a fantasy asset worth using at 2B/MI spot this season.

    • TheNewGuy says:
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      @TheNewGuy:
      Also just looking at your top25 prospects for 2013, how many of the top guys would you currently own in a standard 12 teamer? Just looking at who’s worth adding in a standard 12 team mixer aside from the obvious one in Miller. See you have Taveras over Myers which is interesting.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        In a deep mixed league w/ active managers, you could stash Taveras, Myers, Profar, even Wheeler. And guys like Miller, Teheran, Skaggs, Ryu, Straily are draftable based on their immediate opportunity.

        • TheNewGuy says:
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          @Scott Evans:
          So you reckon Miller, Teheran and Skaggs (along with Straily, dont really consider him a big prospect) are the 3 guys most likely to start the year in the Bigs? Might try a future amd present strategy, rostering a present guy in Miller and future guy in Taveras. That is if Profar, Taveras etc need to be rostered right away (like with Trout, Harper last year).

          Any concern about Skaggs late season beating last year? Only a few starts I know but I feel Teheran and Miller might have more immediate success this year.

          • Scott Evans

            Scott Evans says:
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            Skaggs hit a stamina wall — not concerned. Miller (or Rosenthal), Skaggs, Teheran all have best shot at making opening day rosters. Easton’s job looks safe too.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Yes, but if he arrives as 3B, there’s no playing time for him. Headley has the hot corner on lockdown.

  3. apoxonbothyourhouses says:
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    Hedges isn’t just “glove first”. His hitting was quite good this past year and scouts RAVE about his potential.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Well his glove is the main attraction, so yeah, by definition, he’s kind of a “glove first” catcher. That doesn’t mean his tools at the plate are poor though, which is why I ranked him #3 — those power figures I listed are really impressive for a catcher prospect in his first year of full-season ball. If there were no fantasy spin in these rankings, he’d be #1.

    • Sean says:
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      @apoxonbothyourhouses: Most of the prospect sites I’ve seen this Spring rave much more about his glove than his bat; he’s seen as a potential .270 15 HR guy, which is ownable, but not a stud.

  4. Ryan says:
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    I’m in a 20 team h2h dynasty league. I am next to pick in my draft. The following are the best players available: Kevin Gausman George springer Gary Sanchez yasiel puig oswaldo arcia Bruce Rondon Michael Wacha.l zach lee

    Any of these guys worth taking?

    c jp arencibia
    1b prince fielder
    2b neil walker
    ss andrelton simmons
    3b miguel cabrera
    inf evan longoria
    lf michael morse
    cf norichika aoki
    rf justin upton
    of carl crawford
    util travis snider
    bn yunel escobar
    bn jurickson profar
    bn miguel sano
    bn ryan lavarnway
    bn peter bourjos

    sp clayton kershaw
    sp cliff lee
    sp yu darvish
    sp daniel straily
    rp sean doolittle
    rp mat belisle
    rp wade leblanc
    rp philippe aumont
    p mat thorton
    p barry zito
    p zack wheeler

  5. Scott Evans

    Scott Evans says:
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    Gausman

  6. Pat says:
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    I believe Kelly, the former ss prospect, is right-handed.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Yes, should read Erlin LHP, Kelly RHP — not sure how that got mixed up. Apologies.

  7. thegreater says:
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    10 team, 6×6 w/ holds and OPS – three Keepers per team, and I get the first pick. Trout is available due to league contraction. Which three to keep (draft pick round assigned listed)?

    Beachy SP (9)
    Darvish SP (12)
    Middlebrooks 3B (16)
    Howard 1B (14)
    BJ Upton OF (2)
    Freeman 1B (8)

    I also have Stanton, Votto and J. Reyes, all of whom would cost me my first pick. Thoughts and advice?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Keep Freeman, Darvish, Middlebrooks & draft Trout.

      • Hats for Bats says:
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        @Scott Evans: If he’s taking an OF in the first round (Trout) wouldn’t Howard potentially be a bargain 1B at round 14? While ST stats don’t mean much, he’s healthy this year and is hitting well. Coming off a clean off-season with normal off-season workouts/conditioning, one can expect him to at least bounce back to near form. To me that could mean 35 HR & 100 RBIs.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Yeah, Howard has the potential to bring enormous value for a 14th rounder, but I side the safer 1B option, Freeman, in this 3-keeper format. Howard’s too risky for me.

  8. Hats for Bats says:
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    “Rymer Liriano, OF: Liriano isn’t the safest prospect in this San Diego system” – with a last name like that how can any fantasy baseballer (Grey’s mom’s term) trust. Slight snicker when the first comment mentioned his elbow

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Ha! He never had a chance, did he?

  9. TheNewGuy says:
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    Could D’arnaud have a chance to start the year in the majors? Thought he was nailed on, but then Grey tells us that John Buck still exists and is on the Mets.

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Mets aren’t ruling it out, but my guess is no. Think they’ll let him mash in Vegas for two months before arriving.

      • TheNewGuy says:
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        @Scott Evans:
        Immediate pickup when he comes up? My thinking is no, because catchers take much longer than other players to arrive offensively. Look at Devin Mesocraco, he still hasnt ‘arrived’- so glad I traded him away as a prospect.

        • Scott Evans

          Scott Evans says:
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          Yeah, the development curve on catchers is usually longer, so certainly proceed with caution, but I still imagine he’ll be rostered in all formats as soon as he’s up. Not sure I’d blow all your FAAB cash on him… or drop anyone of value… but he’s quite a talent & wouldn’t surprise me if he offered good value right away.

          • TheNewGuy says:
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            @Scott Evans:
            Yeah hes worth a shot when he gets called off, dont have FAAB in my leagues. Considered it one year but never made the plunge, this could be the year. Are you a fan of it?

            Also one last thing re catchers just to keep the theme going, Mike Zunino when should we expect to see him in the bigs. Another must add? (seems like theres more must add guys every year which is cool). Kinda suprised he wasnt on your top 25 guys.

            Just keeping you going on here man, bet you must get lonely with everyone all commenting on Greys threads!

            • Scott Evans

              Scott Evans says:
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              I’m a big fan of FAAB leagues. Just seems more fair to me than the standard waiver order system. Plus, it adds another layer of nuance to managing, which I adore.

              Zunino is another proceed with caution guy… I like D’Arnaud quite a bit more, though.

              And thanks for keeping my threads in mind! I’m okay with having lighter comment traffic, though… And for the record, most of Grey’s comments are just him logging on as fake users, asking himself made-up team questions, anyway.

              • TheNewGuy says:
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                @Scott Evans:
                Haha thats probably true.

                Yeah FAAB sounds a cool idea as an extra strategy. Is it only used to bid on for waiver wire guys then, or is it somehow for every free agent (weekly league maybe)?

                Let me know if you write for any other sites too man, always liked your work.

                • Scott Evans

                  Scott Evans says:
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                  There are different ways to do FAAB. In most cases, it’s just for guys on waivers, and once they’ve cleared, they’re FA’s & eligible for anyone to pick up. But there are also leagues with no a weekly bidding system for all unowned players.

                  And I’m strictly at Razzball for now, but I’ll be sure to let you know if I branch out.

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