Padres Prospects Worth Watching in 2010: Hitters

In lieu of a top prospects list, I thought this year I’d highlight a few kids I’ll be keeping an eye on for various reasons. We’ll cover 15 hitters today and 15 pitchers next week. To the list:

  • Mitch Canham, C, 25 – I rated Canham the Padres #16 prospect coming into 2009. He hasn’t advanced as a hitter and there are still questions about whether he can stay behind the plate. It’d be nice to have a legitimate catcher in the system just in case Nick Hundley isn’t as good as I think he is. Maybe Canham will be a late bloomer, a la Will Venable, but right now, I’m not seeing it in his .275/.361/.399 career line (1090 PA).
  • Sawyer Carroll, RF, 24 – Last year’s #17 prospect is a little old and hasn’t shown much home-run power yet, but the rest of his offensive game is solid, as evidenced by the career .304/.400/.483 line in 850 PA.
  • Drew Cumberland, SS, 21 – Middle infielders with top-of-the order skills (career line of .292/.377/.392 in 692 PA, 41-for-49 SB) don’t grow on trees, but can he stay healthy? Last year’s #11 prospect has never played as many as 80 games in a season.
  • James Darnell, 3B, 23 – His .899 fielding percentage in 2009 doesn’t look good, but that bat makes up for a lot. Darnell, ranked #14 last year and identified as a sleeper, owns a .319/.428/.542 career line in 630 PA. Although it’s unclear what position he’ll end up playing (guess here is corner outfield), he could move quickly.
  • Jaff Decker, LF, 20 – Last year’s #4 prospect is a hitting machine who has posted ridiculous numbers (683 PA, .313/.466/.516) in his first two pro seasons. The main concerns with Decker are that he doesn’t look like Adonis and that he possesses old player’s skills (see Grieve, Ben).
  • Allan Dykstra, 1B, 23 – Speaking of old player’s skills, last year’s #8 prospect presents an intriguing case. The Padres reworked Dykstra’s stroke last year and he struggled. For his career, he’s hitting .230/.401/.379 in 569 PA. The OBP gives hope, but he needs to step up the rest of his game in a big way.
  • Logan Forsythe, 3B, 23 – Last year’s #18 prospect is five days older than Darnell but played a level higher in 2009. Although Forsythe’s performance dropped significantly after a mid-season promotion to San Antonio, his overall numbers as a pro (641 PA, .297/.430/.429) are strong. He isn’t as strong an offensive force as Darnell but is more likely to remain at the hot corner.
  • Jonathan Galvez, SS, 19 – His first exposure to baseball on the North American continent went well. I don’t put much stock in Arizona League numbers, but an 18-year-old middle infielder who hits .295/.399/.503 at any level gets my attention. I’d ranked him #10 last year.
  • Kellen Kulbacki, RF, 24 – I love his bat (.284/.370/.472 in 841 PA for the career), but 2009 was a lost season (he played just 36 games due to shoulder problems). Kulbacki is old and doesn’t play a premium position. If healthy, he could be a force, but the clock is ticking for last year’s #2 prospect.
  • Rymer Liriano, CF, 19 – I’m slowly warming to Liriano. In his pro debut, he struck out in 40% of his plate appearances; last year, while moving to a more advanced Rookie League, he cut that number to 24%. He is raw and has a long way to go, but there is upside. For his career, he has hit .268/.342/.445 in 483 PA. I didn’t rank Liriano last year, but if I were doing a top 10 for 2010, he’d probably be in it.
  • Yair Lopez, LF, 18 – I noticed this kid last summer, when he hit .293/.419/.420 in 222 PA (those are his career numbers, too) as one of the younger players in the DSL. Lopez isn’t as heralded as Luis Domoromo but is worth tracking.
  • Jorge Minyeti, 2B/3B/SS, 19 – Minyeti’s jump to the North American continent didn’t go quite as smoothly as that of Galvez. I had Minyeti ranked as the Padres #27 prospect coming into 2009 and identified him as one of my sleepers. He led the DSL in walks as a 17-year-old before slipping last year. Still, a career line of .267/.423/.345 is enough to keep him on my radar.
  • Edinson Rincon, 3B, 19 – Like Lopez and Minyeti, Rincon (#30 last year) is a guy whose DSL numbers jumped out at me. When healthy (not often), he has produced (.289/.400/.413 in 604 PA), although the career .784 fielding percentage portends a move to a less demanding position. His bat should play anywhere.
  • Donavan Tate, CF, 19 – Due to a variety of injuries, Tate has yet to make his pro debut. Often compared to ex-Padre Mike Cameron, Tate will get a chance to show whether the organization’s movement away from “safer” college picks in the first round was justified.
  • Everett Williams, CF, 19 – The Padres tabbed another toolsy high school outfielder with their second pick in 2009. Williams got into 10 games last summer, hitting .279/.354/.488 in 48 PA at Peoria and Eugene.

Those are some hitters I’ll be watching in 2010. Next week, we’ll check in on the pitchers.

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7 Responses »

  1. I’m excited about Tate, Williams and Darnell. I’m really hoping Tate can achieve his high-ceiling potential.

    One notable omission on this list is Matt Antonelli, which shows how far he’s fallen. It’s really too bad — but that’s what two poor Triple A seasons will do.

  2. It’s great to see so many players from the DSL team on the list … 5 of them … hmmm … do you think they each have about a 20% shot at making a contribution to the Padres in the future? That seems high … but certainly fun to project. Remember Yefri Carvajal? Like Antonelli, also not on the list … they are probably together on the “one last chance” list …

    I wonder if it will help having these young Latin players form a core of a team together in 2010? … might they all play some together at Eugene or Ft Wayne this year? There seems to be a gap in org between these 2 teams … but I guess that’s filled by “extended spring training” …

  3. Thanks Geoff, this is a helpful primer to help with my resolution to follow the minor league squads a bit more. Woeful ignorance no more! Looking forward to the pitchers…

  4. Decker is intriguing. Obviously, he can hit. I really don’t see him in a Pads uniform at all though. Trade bait would be fine, as long as we get a good arm in return.

  5. Jaff Decker, .466 OBP in 683 PA’s fresh out of high school at 18 and 19. I just don’t see that as an Old Man skill!!! This kid rocks! I can’t wait to see him in person. Hopefully he’s still at Elsinore when I get back to SD this summer and hasn’t already been promoted to San Antonio. I guess that wouldn’t be all bad; I wouldn’t mind sipping Margaritas on the River Walk after a Missions game. :-)


    More appropriate to the coming pitchers post, but good reasons to watch Carrillo and Latos closely here. I’m thinking Latos needs to spend a month on the DL for a hang nail doing nothing but conditioning and then another month of very careful working back into throwing shape mid-season. Seriously, the team is not going to contend and we do not need to risk the best young arm we’ve developed since Peavy.