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San Diego Padres 2011 Minor League Review

Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America:

2012 (8) | 2011 (8) | 2010 (20) | 2009 (29) | 2008 (13) | 2007 (29) | 2006 (29)

2011 Affiliate Records

MLB: [71-91] NL West

AAA: [65-79] Pacific Coast League – Tucson

AA: [94-46] Texas League – San Antonio

A+: [96-71] California League – Lake Elsinore

A: [69-70] Midwest League – Fort Wayne

A(ss): [46-30] Northwest League – Eugene

The Run Down

San Diego’s system is, without a doubt, among the best in baseball, and that holds true regarding fantasy.  Recent trades are looking incredibly smart, as they’ve traded away big league pieces for multiple prospects, all of whom appear to be panning out.  Alonso, Grandal, Wieland, Erlin and Kelly were all acquired from other systems, and they’re all on the verge of breaking through with the Padres. Liriano, Gyorko and Spangenberg headline the homegrown talent, which is a bit further from the majors.  But this system is flush with talent and fantasy owners should familiarize themselves with these names.  And as usual, the Petco effect applies – keep an eye on these pitchers, especially.

Arizona Fall League PlayersSalt River Rafters

Anthony Bass (RHP); Jeff Ibarra (LHP); Miles Mikolas (RHP); Jason Hagerty (C); Jedd Gyorko (3B); James Darnell (OF)

Graduated Prospects

Cory Luebke (LHP); Logan Forsythe (2B)

Players of Interest

Hitters

Yonder Alonso | 1B:

After posting a .943 OPS in 98 trips to the plate with the Reds last year, it’s clear that Alonso is ready for a full-time role in the bigs.  He should have that opportunity this season with the Padres.  While his power probably falls short of Rizzo’s, Alonso has better on-base skills and he certainly has the ability to hit for a higher average.  For now, he likely falls in with the rest of the boring NL first basemen, but he has a chance to separate himself from that group as he settles into his role.

Yasmani Grandal | C:

The Reds pushed Grandal aggressively in 2011, playing him at three levels, beginning at High-A and ending at Triple-A.  After slashing .305/.401/.500 across those stages, it seems his bat is ready for a shot at big league pitching.  His defense, however, needs more work.  Barring an outstanding spring, Grandal will open up 2012 with Tucson, but expect to see the 23-year-old behind the plate in San Diego at some point this year.

Pitchers

Joe Wieland | RHP – SP:

Wieland’s been pegged by many as a fourth starter, but supreme command is allowing him to project beyond that profile.  He features a four-pitch repertoire and he’s precise with each offering.  His stuff will be tested versus more seasoned hitters in Triple-A, but if his success continues, Wieland could be starting games at Petco this year.

Robbie Erlin | SHP – SP:

Erlin, along with Wieland, was acquired via Texas in the Mike Adams swap.  Also like Wieland, he doesn’t light up the radar gun, relying on deception and plus command, instead.  While there are some differences in approach, for fantasy purposes, Erlin and Wieldard are extremely similar.

Casey Kelly | RHP – SP:

Kelly, at his point, isn’t quite as complete as either Wieland or Erlin, but with a bit more refinement to his secondary pitches, he could reach the majors before both.  Kelly throws a heavy sinker and induces groundballs often.  I’m still waiting for his production to catch up with his ability, but it’s important to note that he was a fulltime shortstop as recently as 2009.

Honorable Mention

Hitters

Jedd Gyorko | 3B:

Gyorko hit .365 in the California League but regressed somewhat when he reached Double-A, posting a .288 average.  He returned to form during AFL play, though, claiming the batting title with a .437 mark.  Gyorko’s had nice power figures to this point – 30 HR in 2011 – but expect that aspect of his game to dwindle when he steps inside Petco.  With Chase Headley entrenched at third, Gyorko won’t arrive ‘til 2013 at the soonest.

James Darnell | 3B/OF:

Darnell slashed .410/.406/.547 between Double-A and Triple-A in 2011, and earned a September promotion.  His bat is intriguing, as well as his ability to play multiple positions.  He’ll start 2012 in Tucson, but Darnell is ready for big league ball and he’ll be called up if needed.

Rymer Liriano | OF:

Lirano’s still a long way from the bigs, but it seems something clicked for him last year at Low-A, and he’s poised to post some gaudy numbers in the California League this year.  The 20-year-old is a genuine five-tool-type and he’ll be a guy to watch as he pushes through the system.  Expect a 2014 arrival, but he could pan out more quickly.

Cory Spangenberg | 2B:

Spangenberg is among the best second base prospects in the minors.  He projects to hit for average and be on base often.  Elite speed will allow him to do some work on those basepaths, too.  He’ll begin 2012 in High-A along with Lirano, but being that he’s a bit more polished, San Diego might promote Spangeberg more aggressively.

  1. Juan says:
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    @Grey: What do you think of Allen Craig with 2B eligibility in Yahoo leagues? Will he be able to get enough AB over Jay with Beltran moving to center?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Juan, This all depends on whether or not Beltran can handle center. Craig’s bat is too valuable to be squandered on the bench, so I believe he’ll work his way into a regular role. This might not be ’til mid-season, though.

  2. The Talented Mr. Dope Man says:
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    Any projections for James Darnell this year?

    Wish they would just give up on Chase Headley and give Darnell a shot… he’s leaps and bounds better.

    • royce! says:
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      @The Talented Mr. Dope Man, Darnell’s value is in his bat, and Petco would likely operate to nullify that value, so it seems the Padres would rather stick with Headley’s good defense. Plus Headley is developing a swing that would work better at Petco- his LD% at home last year was around 25%. Of course that only yielded something like a .240 average at home, but what’re you gonna do?

      I think Darnell will land the utility job out of spring training, and get some starts to increase interest for a trade, because Gyorko is more likely to take over for Headley.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        @royce! & Dope Man, I agree with royce on this one. Darnell might be closer to the bigs for his ability to serve both as a fourth OF and a backup at third, but ultimately, Gyorko is the future 3B in San Diego. And that’s not a bad thing – Gyorko can hit.

  3. Sean says:
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    Joe Ross will top this list by this time next year, you can book that.

    • YourMomsBoyfriend says:
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      @Sean, perhaps we should get some pro data first before we anoint him as the “top of this list this time next year”.

      i would venture to say that R. Liriano is much more likely to be #1 after playing in the Cal League next year.

      • Scott Evans

        Scott Evans says:
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        @YourMomsBoyfriend & Sean, Ross is still a teenager & he’ll get his first crack at full-season ball this year. We’ll see how he handles it. I think Liriano is a better candidate (at this point) to headline this list next year, but barring something unforeseen, Ross will be included.

  4. chata says:
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    Scott ,
    thanks for doing this report .
    nice job .
    appreciate it .

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @chata, thanks for the kind words… and thanks for reading!

  5. Cole says:
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    Do you have a projection for Alonso? Do you think he will be rosterable in an NL only league as a CI?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      @Cole, He’s not the clear-cut starter, with Jesus Guzman still in the mix. I think Alonso wins the gig though, and if/when that plays out, yes he’ll certainly be rosterable in NL only and deep leagues, and he might be worth a speculative add in standard mixed leagues, too.

  6. Bill says:
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    Who is Joe Ross?

  7. YourMomsBoyfriend says:
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    RHP. From Sickels:

    11) Joe Ross, RHP, Grade B-: Could theoretically be the top pitching prospect in the system a year from now. More advanced than brother Tyson at the same age, and has a higher physical upside than the pitchers ahead of him, but let’s get some data first.

    • YourMomsBoyfriend says:
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      @YourMomsBoyfriend, reply fail

  8. Dave says:
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    Any word on Drew Cumberland ? Former top draft pick

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