Sunday, February 28, 2010

Top 100 Prospects

Every spring Baseball America publishes its Top 100 Prospects list. I touched on this a little bit during my last podcast, because their list for 2010 came out last Tuesday. The Padres have four players on this year's edition:
  1. Donavan Tate (#53)
  2. Simon Castro (#57)
  3. Jaff Decker (#82)
  4. James Darnell (#90)
Because some of the Padre rising stars (Mat Latos for one) don't appear on this year's list, some might question it's accuracy. Baseball America helpfully publishes their criteria for inclusion.

The rankings follow [Baseball America's] standard prospect guidelines, which means any player who has not exceeded 130 at-bats, 50 innings or 30 pitching appearances in the major leagues (without regard to service time) is eligible. As always, our view is not necessarily to what a player will do this season, but what his ultimate major league ceiling is, weighed against the likelihood that he will reach that ceiling.
Latos threw 50 and 2/3 innings last season, so he missed being eligible for this list by 3 outs. Oh, well.

I am not going to pretend I'm a subject matter expert when it comes to Padre Prospects. I did some quick research on these 4 players, and present those tidbits for you here.

  • Tate: Padres #1 pick in the 2009 draft, right out of High School in Carterville Georgia. Outfielder. He was taken #3 overall, behind Stephen Strasburg (#2 on the list) and Dustin Ackley (#11). He broke his jaw during an ATV accident last December.
  • Castro: 6'5" Right Handed Pitcher. He has been in the Padre system since he was 18, four years total. Spent the 2009 campaign in Ft Wayne (A ball). Last year he was good, and it was his best year to date (K/9 of 10.1, K/BB 4.24, 1.105 WHIP).
  • Decker: Acquired as a 2008 supplemental pick. He has a great eye (19.2% walk rate last year, BB/K ratio of .92) which will serve him well going forward. Outfielder.
  • Darnell: Drafted in 2008. Played the end of last season at Lake Elsinore (high A), where he had a .930 OPS. Currently at 3B. Some scouting reports while he was still in college questioned his agility defensively around the bag, and projected he might end up manning a corner OF position as he progresses through the minors.
There are two other points I want to make. First, every ML team is represented on the Prospect list. Some show up only once (Cardinals and Diamondbacks), but every team has someone identified. The Tampa Bay Rays led the league with seven (yes, you read that right) men listed. The Chicago Cubs have the highest number (5) of any NL team. The Padres' four ties them for fourth-most on the list, with teams like the Giants, Rangers, and Red Sox. That says a lot about the Padre draft these past 2 years.

Second, should the Padres decide to trade Adrian Gonzalez they will want to maximize their return. Therefore I would look seriously at every farm system even or ahead of them on this list. There's been a lot of talk this off-season about Gonzo landing in Boston. Most of this is fueled by what Boston can offer (Clay Bucholz, as an example) and because Jed Hoyer came from there. There are other fish in the ocean, however - this list bears it out - so Hoyer would be well-served to gather as much intel on those other teams as he can.

Because they can send value back to us as well.

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