Why I Hate Prospect Lists

Like Jayne Cobb’s hat, they make me look like an idiot. Here’s my list from 2003:

A few lowlights:

#18: Mike Nicolas

In 2003, Nicolas likely will serve again as Rusty Tucker’s primary setup man, this time at Double-A. He already has the ability to put the ball past hitters; if he keeps his walk totals down, he could be another Felix Rodriguez.

Or not.

#15: Ben Johnson

If he can learn to use his strength, Johnson still could turn into another Brian Jordan. But I don’t like his chances now as much as I did at this time last year.

Hey, he landed us Heath Bell. All is forgiven.

#14: Cory Stewart

Although he doesn’t have the pedigree of some prospects, Stewart is making a name for himself; he could develop into a #4 or #5 starter, or he could become a swing man in the Terry Mulholland mode.

Stewart was the third guy sent to Pittsburgh in the Brian Giles deal. Jason Bay was one of the others; he didn’t make my top 20.

#13: Mike Rivera

He won’t be Mike Piazza. He probably won’t even be Jorge Posada. But he might be a better version of Jim Leyritz, and a guy with that skill set should be able to have a career.

At this point, anybody is a better version of Leyritz, and I’m not talking about baseball.

#10: Eric Cyr

With the plethora of young arms in the system, and given his history of injuries (Cyr spent time on the shelf again this season — shoulder tendinitis), if Cyr is to make it with the Padres, it’s probably as a reliever. Out of the bullpen he can concentrate on throwing two pitches for strikes and possibly become a power lefty a la Embree, Arthur Rhodes, or Mike Remlinger. Look for Cyr to get more work at Portland as a reliever before getting the call perhaps as soon as late May.

I saw his name pop up in the Caribbean leagues this winter, can’t remember where. Doesn’t really matter.

#7: Josh Barfield

Right now the biggest things working in Barfield’s favor are his athleticism and his extreme youth: he doesn’t turn 21 until after the 2003 season. Keep an eye on him at Elsinore. If he learns to draw a few walks, he could be something.

You already know his story.

#6: Justin Germano

If Germano can avoid injuries, he could develop into a solid middle-rotation guy. He probably doesn’t have the upside of Peavy but he could follow in the footsteps of, say, Brian Lawrence. Who wouldn’t like that?

Hate to say it, but he probably doesn’t have the upside of Lawrence either.

#5: Jake Gautreau

Gautreau possesses a smooth left-handed swing that generates doubles power. His stroke sometimes gets a little long, and he doesn’t have the lift that a classic home run hitter has. His statistical record at this point is comparable to those of Brad Fullmer and Corey Koskie at a similar stage of development… He needs to get more comfortable at second base, be a little more patient at the plate, and stay healthy. If he can do those things at Mobile this year, with Mark Loretta’s contract up at the end of the year, look for Gautreau to make a push for a starting gig in San Diego when the new ballpark opens in 2004.

Stay healthy? Not so much. Gautreau developed ulcerative colitis and hasn’t reached the big leagues yet.

#4: Tagg Bozied

If he can build off his success in the AFL and make a strong showing at Mobile, Bozied could arrive in San Diego in September and compete for a job in 2004. His upside is a solid #5 type hitter in the mold of, say, Jay Buhner.

This guy could hit. He couldn’t do much else, but he could hit.

#3: Xavier Nady

If he can lick the injuries and build on what he accomplished during the final two months of last season, expect Nady to arrive in San Diego sometime around the All-Star break. Although he may not put up big numbers right away, he’ll eventually be a force in the middle of the order. The peak of .280 with 30+ homers I projected for him last year still sounds about right to me.

He’s come a lot closer to my expectations than Sean Burroughs ever will. Burn…

#2: Mark Phillips

If he can learn to be more efficient with his pitches and avoid the lapses in control that have plagued him thus far, Phillips has the chance to be a front-end power lefty in the mold of Mark Langston or Al Leiter. But for now, he’s still a work in progress with very high upside.

Sigh. I really thought this kid was going to be great. I was a little upset when Kevin Towers shipped him to the Yankees for Rondell White. Okay, I was a lot upset. Okay, I was livid.

Of course, Towers is a lot smarter than I’ll ever be when it comes to pitching, and I feel much better now that the team doesn’t stink every year. That and the B-12 injections.

#1: Khalil Greene

Although he’s not particularly big, Greene is strong and generates good power to the gaps with his compact swing. He projects as a middle-of-the-order offensive threat in the vein of Rich Aurilia (the guy who hits .280 with 20+ homers a year, not the 2001 freak version). In the field, what Greene lacks in quickness and arm strength, he makes up for in instincts and quick release. He’ll never be mistaken for Ozzie Smith, or even Ozzie Guillen, but he should be an average defensive shortstop or perhaps slightly better. Greene probably has enough bat to withstand a move out of the middle infield, but with the Padres lacking any other legitimate options at shortstop within the system, he will be given every opportunity to prove that he can play the position at the highest level.

You know what? I think I mostly got this one. Hooray for me…

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48 Responses »

  1. I wasn’t really an uber-Padres fan before Petco (so I don’t know about Khalil’s history in our system) but was Khalil really underwhelming in the field in the lower levels? The first thing that ever got my attention when it came to him was the plays he made in the bigs. Especially one of the throwback jersey nights in 04 where he made like 3 completely ridiculous plays.

    I still think that Barfield might still pan out, but he still seems to be struggling with plate discipline.

    Any update on the ST discount stuff?

  2. Your list was not too bad G.Y. other than Mark Phillips which is understanable. The Padres had nothing but crap in thier system at the time so it was a complete crap shoot as to which players (if any) would make the majors.

  3. I had Tim Stauffer and Brad Baker ranked #1 and #2 in 2005 so I also qualify for the genius award.


    Lessons learned (1) be very skeptical of any minor league pitcher best pitch that is a change (although I’m falling for it again this year with Wade LeBlanc #5) and to go with Rob Neyer’s line – there is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

    Although I think I have improved, its still tough which makes it fun.

  4. #1: Yeah, there was serious talk (not necessarily by the Padres) that Greene wouldn’t stay at shortstop. He played a lot of third base at Clemson.

    As for the ST stuff, I’m meeting my buddy for lunch today to talk details. I’ll have more info possibly this afternoon, but more likely tomorrow.

  5. Mark Phillips may have been one of the greatest head cases of all time. Nearly 6’4″ – blessed with a mid 90′s fastball, good feel for a change, decent curve and absolutely no work ethic. Consistently came into camp out of shape and failed to build on any progress that he made during the past season.

    Never made it past A ball


    Most of the people who post here would have killed for the types of gifts that Phillips was given.

  6. 1 … re: KG’s fielding at the lower levels … I first saw KG in Eugene, his first pro home game … during infield before the game … he stood out *instantly* … he was smooooth … he was natural … he was instinctual … he was confident … it was obvious he wouldn’t be in Eugene for long … both because of his glove and because of his bat … I’m not a scout, and I know I don’t have the critical eye to see all the tools … but I know “eye-popping” when I see it … and KG was eye-popping-ly good …

  7. #5: I saw Phillips pitch a few times at Elsinore and thought he had a higher ceiling than Oliver Perez. As I mentioned in last year’s book, Phillips and Dennis Tankersley were two guys that surprised me — and not in a good way.

  8. Re: 6 just goes to show that you cant trust any ML defensive scouting reports.

  9. 5 … perhaps “work ethic” is a gift also? And also perhaps it’s an issue of “vision” … not being able to see the long-term value of working to improve what may already seem to be good-enough … of not being able to see that the guys who do make to MLB are not just the guys with the most talent but the guys who figure out how to mold that talent into winning skills …

    Can an organization, such as the Padres, teach “work ethic” and/or “vision”? I’ll bet they try …

  10. Re: 9 sounds like lack of maturity more than anything else (see Bush, Matt).

  11. #4: Check that, I just talked to my friend and we’re meeting tomorrow, so ST update prolly on Thursday.

  12. 11: Cool. Thanks for the info. My wife and I are totally on-board and we’re completely stoked about this.

    6 & 8: I pretty much got the idea that scouts aren’t always brilliant watching Kouz this year. He had some struggles, especially mid-season, but I think he was MUCH better than advertised.

  13. #12: Awesome. It won’t suck. ;-)

  14. I guess I’m a bit surprised that JJ Trujillo didn’t pan out. Watching him in the MWL when he was closing out every game was amazing. Also, for the record, Cyr was in the Can-Am League last year, but finished it out with Triple-A Las Vegas (3-6 5.56ERA in 12 appearances). But like you said, “doesn’t matter.”

  15. 14 … I remember rooting for JJ Trujillo … I read a story about him … and iirc, he was a mediocre college player who asked his coach what he had to do to make the big leagues … the coach advised him to become a “trick pitch” pitcher … well, he made to the Padres, but just for 4 games, 2.7 IP … which has to be simultaneously maddening and satisfying …


    … a “Chad Bradford wannbe”, ala Carlos Gomez …

  16. Re: 17 wow those 100IP and 97K’s he had last year must have pushed him over the hump…

    What? Goassage didn’t pitch last year? Then how did he get in the Hall this year?

    Oh right the writers finaly pulled thier heads out of their !

  17. Congrats to Goose! its 9 years overdue.

  18. Wonder what hat the committee will make him wear?

  19. I’m very happy for Goose, but the lack of support for Raines is appalling. Full rant at Knuckle Curve.

  20. 20 … he gets to choose, right? NYY, no doubt …

    Former-Padres 3 years in a row … Gwynn in 2007 … Goose in 2008 (along with Dick Williams) … Rickey in 2009 … nice …

  21. 22: I’m pretty sure the Hall decides for you these days. I think Winfield’s choice of the Padres was the impetus for such a change, as it was suggested at the time that he only picked the Padres so that he could be the first Padre in the HOF.

  22. Goose is in; that is awesome! I’m surprised he’s going in solo though. I figured at least one of the backlog OF would go in, and Rice was darn close, but no cigar. It’s nice that Blyleven is getting some recognition, but sad it is not enough to get him in.

    A lack of support for Raines? I’m stunned; stunned I tell you! ;-)

    At least he outpolled Justice. I was really dubious about whether he would or not.

  23. 23: The Hall does decide for the players now. I think it had to do with Boggs saying he wanted to go in as a Devil Rays player. Winfield did get some sort of position with the Padres for choosing them, although Steinbrenner hired a private investigator to defame him, so I can see why Winfield wouldn’t choose the Yankees.

  24. BP’s STAT OF THE DAY warms my heart on this cold wintery day in Oregon …

    Top 5 2007 NL Starters, by SNLVAR

    Player, SNLVAR

    Jake Peavy, 9.1
    Tim Hudson, 7.9
    Brad Penny, 7.3
    Brandon Webb, 7.1
    John Smoltz, 7.0

  25. 18: Ordinarily I’d agree with you, but in the case of releivers I think it’s understandable that the HOF voters are trying to sort out what makes a HOF Relief Pitcher. They have to do the same with the DH, albeit to a much lesser extent.

    They clearly had their heads up you know where when they put Sutter in before Goose, but I think it’s understandable why they’re still struggling to put relievers in perspective.

    Gossage’s mother passed away in 2006. Very sad the voters couldn’t have figured out he was better than Sutter and put him in while she was still alive.

  26. #16 Cyr was picked up by the dodgers again this year on a minor league contract. like it matters

  27. I really think that you should be up for the hall once every 5 years, that way it will force the writers to stop playing the “he’s a HOF just not a first ballot one” game.

  28. If it WERE his choice, I wouldn’t necessarily assume he would wear a NYY hat. I know there are some players who are not completely happy about their time spent incarcerated in the Yankee/Steinbrenner organization. Kind of a love-hate relationship. Winfield is a good example.

    He spent 6+ years (in two stints) with the Yankees, 5 years with the Chisox, 4 with the Pad’s and some more split between a bunch of other teams.

    It would be awesome if he wore a Padres hat. I doubt it though.

  29. 30: The “He” in the 2nd & 3rd paragraphs is in reference to Goose, not Winfield. sorry!

  30. #22 – Rickey in 2009? Did he ever officially retire? I think catching that fould ball last season counts as active duty since he wouldn’t give it to a fan. (I just don’t want him taking votes from Dawson :) )

  31. Goose traveled so much that I think the Hall will put him in a Yankee cap just because he spent more time there than anywhere else.

    Geoff, didn’t know you were a Browncoat. Shiny!

  32. #33: Absolutely. If it’s Sci Fi and it got canceled prematurely, I probably like it. You should’ve seen me geek out when the entire cast showed up to Comic-Con a few years ago. Ah, just gave myself goosebumps…

  33. #34 I got hooked on DVD… the writing on that show is fantastic. I always fall into great writing, regardless of subject matter. It’s why I like The L Word (okay, admitted: Hot women kissing each other helps) and Rome. That said, I do admit to being partial to Sci-Fi. I’ve loved the genre since I was a kid.

    Threadjack over: Back to Baseball talk now…