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.
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.
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” …
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…
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.
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.