Sometimes, What’s Brewing On The Farm can’t contain all of our hot prospect takes. Last Call is a semi-weekly installment sure to quench any remaining prospect thirst you might have.

The best thing about the newly minted What’s Brewing On The Farm feature at Padres Public is how it’s become a perpetual content generator. The Padres have finally embraced the #FullLuhnow (#FullHoyer?) and are tanking games with the greatest of ease; the All-Star hype has given way to an admission that the team is, in fact, currently engaged in a full rebuild.

All eyes are on the farm system, and – as Billy and I discussed last week – a lot of those eyes are no longer focused on what many perceived to be the crown jewel of the Craig Kimbrel deal: Javier Guerra. This season has been disastrous.

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Andrew Cashner. Gone. Matt Kemp. Gone. Melvin Upton Jr. Gone. Fernando Rodney. Gone. James Shields. Gone. Twelve out of thirteen draft picks from the first ten rounds of the 2016 Amateur Draft signed. Over $60 million in international signings so far, and that’s just since July 2nd.

One thing that all of these trades, draft picks, and international signings say to me is that Lake Elsinore is going to be the perfect place for Padres fans to watch baseball on a regular basis. And, it’s looking like it’s going to be that way for a couple of years, at least.

I’ll be honest, I should have written at least part of this earlier in the season. But the influx of talent to the lower levels of the minor leagues made it relevant again.

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A Home Run Derby On an Aircraft Carrier? A Home Run Derby On an Aircraft Carrier.

The Lake Elsinore Storm today announced that the home run derby for the California/Carolina League All-Star Game in June would be part of the Midway Classic.

What is a “Midway Classic,” you ask? Think of it like the Monday before the MLB All-Star Game, with – like the MLB version – a home run derby, but on THE FLIGHT DECK OF A FREAKIN’ AIRCRAFT CARRIER!

This is all happening June 20th, the day before the California/Carolina League All-Star Game at the Diamond in Lake Elsinore.

Home plate for the competing hitters will be located approximately 250 feet from the bow of the USS Midway, and the hitters are expected to hit an estimated total of 150 balls into San Diego Bay.

I mean, I can’t think of anything better than this. Home runs are literally going to take flight.

MLB can have players try to hit ball on top of the Western Metal building all damn day for all I care.

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The Lake Elsinore Storm announced today that the SDSU Aztecs and USD Toreros will play a baseball game at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore on Thursday, February 25th at 6:00pm.

“I am proud to have the Lake Elsinore Storm and their beautiful ballpark involved in the inaugural Tony Gwynn Week events. The spectacular job the Storm staff did hosting the 2015 NCAA Regionals makes this venue an immediate player in the world of college baseball.”
Jack Murray, Tony Gwynn Classic founder and director

The game will act as a tuneup game for the inaugural Tony Gwynn Classic — a tournament featuring SDSU, Bryant University, University of Kentucky, UC Santa Barbara, USD, University of Nebraska, Tulane University, and Arizona University — being held February 26-28 at both schools. The teams will be split into two four-team brackets and the winners will meet in the championship game on Sunday, February 28 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

Tickets for the Tony Gwynn Classic can be purchased at their website.

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The Lake Elsinore Storm, the Padres High-A affiliate, released the logo for the 2016 California/Carolina League All-Star Game, which will be held at The Diamond of Lake Elsinore on June 21st.

The logo, which was designed in-house and prominently features the iconic “Storm Eyes,” draws inspiration from California culture while paying homage to the 75th year of the California League. Founded in 1941, the league will celebrate its “Diamond” year at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore on June 21.

The logo, which was designed in-house and prominently features the iconic “Storm Eyes,” draws inspiration from California culture while paying homage to the 75th year of the California League. – via Lake Elsinore Storm

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Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:

  • Notes from the Field (Baseball Prospectus) – Chris King tells the story of Colt Daninos, a high school pitcher who has faced some adversity, to put it mildly: “Colt was born with a rare disease known as DiGeorge Syndrome. It is caused by a missing chromosome in his body and has many symptoms, including neuromuscular problems, learning disabilities, congenital heart disease, and many others. It has required Colt to undergo surgery 14 times; it required his entire spine to be fused together. It keeps him reading at a third-grade level and will likely prevent him from attending college.” This article is so full of awesome. You might need tissues. And heck, as long as we’re all having a good cry, go ahead and read this bit about the guy who proposed at a Tampa Bay Rays game.
  • James Shields on his Changeup, Longevity, and Age (FanGraphs) – Eno Sarris examines Shields’ signature pitch, mixing good research with good quotes. As for Shields, dude gets it: “The game evolves. Everyone around the league knows I have a changeup. Sometimes, if you see the guys are sitting on it, you’re going to throw other pitches.” Seems like common sense, but not everyone applies it. In other pitching news, Craig Kimbrel recently blew a save, which was unexpected enough that Jeff Sullivan had to dissect it. More pitching? David Kagan talks radar guns, which sort of qualifies and is interesting in any event. And speaking of radar guns, Ben Lindbergh wrote something cool [h/t Craig Elsten] that mentions Randy Jones.
  • Tate, Padres Haven’t Given Up On Career (Baseball America) – Bill Mitchell reminds us that Donavan Tate remains in the organization. The third pick overall in the 2009 draft, now 24, is at High-A Lake Elsinore (whose Diamond somehow didn’t make Baseball America’s list of best ballparks in the minors). Tate still believes in himself: “I can play at a high level. I can compete with anybody, so I think this is going to be a good year.” While his optimism is admirable, he is way behind the proverbial curve. Big-league success is probably unattainable at this point, but life success remains within his grasp. Here’s hoping. [h/t Mike Couzens]
  • The Mental ABCs of Postmodern Baseball: Searching for Every Possible Edge (Bleacher Report) – Scott Miller notes the growing trend among organizations to have a dedicated specialist that helps players with the mental side of baseball: making sure they get enough sleep (which Russell Carleton has discussed ($) in the past), improving their concentration skills, etc. Former Padres pitcher Bob Tewksbury has worked with the Boston Red Sox for much of the last decade in such capacity. And we’ve talked with San Diego resident Geoff Miller about his work with several big-league teams. It’s good to see decision-makers taking this area of expertise seriously. [h/t Corey Brock]
  • For ex-Dodgers star Matt Kemp, Padres offer chance at fresh start (SI.com) – Ben Reiter chats with Kemp about injuries, aging, and more. Money quote: “I can still run, but I can’t run like I used to run. I got to do a lot more maintenance, making sure my body is right. When I was younger, I could just get out of bed, go play a game and be good. I’ve got to warm up, get those muscles loose to get ready for a game. It’s a process now.” [h/t Brady Phelps]

stormLooking for something to do to satisfy your baseball urges? Don’t feel like traveling to Peoria, AZ for Padres Spring Training? Want to take batting practice on the field? Like drinking beer? Or eating bratwurst?

Well, I’ve got the perfect event for you guys to attend this Sunday, and it’s all free. Well, free to attend. You’ll have to pay for the beer and bratwurst. Hey, at least I’m honest.

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Sometimes it’s fun to revisit places we’ve been. It’s good to see how the world has changed, how we have changed. Every so often here at Son of a Duck, we’ll grab an old Ducksnorts article out of the vault and mark it up with red pen. Enjoy!

[Original article posted 7/11/99]

Last month the all stars from two Class-A leagues clashed at the Lake Elsinore Diamond to display their talents and bring victory to their league. My wife and I left work early and drove the hour or so up I-15 to the check out the game.

We parked in a dirt lot (overflow parking for the big crowd) adjacent to the stadium, and as we made our way into the state-of-the-art facility, the home run hitting contest was just getting underway. After the obligatory stop at the gift shop to pick up a Lake Elsinore Storm cap, we stood in the concourse and watched Chin-Feng Chen, of the San Bernardino Stampede (Dodgers), knock a ball out of the park. Visalia Oaks (Athletics) first baseman Todd Mensik ended up winning the contest.

The lot has since been paved, and there are now houses behind it. I’ve had so many Storm caps over the years, I can’t remember which one this was. I’m thinking red and black, the one my late pug Toby ate. This was the year I saw the Angels’ Ramon Ortiz make a rehab start for the Storm, pitching against Padres prospect Mike Bynum.

And I’m still baffled at Chen. Dude was a big-time prospect (Baseball America had him ranked no. 17 before the 2000 season) who never made it, never even got a chance, logging a total of 25 plate appearances over four cups of coffee with the Dodgers before returning to his native Taiwan. He played in the 2007 World Baseball Classic and the 2008 Olympics, and now plays for the Chinese Professional Baseball League’s Lamigo Monkeys. (I can’t find stats, but here’s video of Chen drawing a walk against his former Dodgers teammate Hong-Chih Kuo in September. Also, that crowd is seriously into the ballgame.)

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Well, one of them.

Last night during the Padres defeat of the Phillies the news came out that the Eugene Emeralds had agreed to a new player development agreement with the Chicago Cubs, ending their 14-year relationship with the Friars.

So, where would the new Padres affiliate play in the Northwest League next season?  The options were either Boise, the Cubs’ old affiliate, or Pasco, WA (aka Tri-Cities), formerly affiliated with the Colorado Rockies.

Then…

So that left just one possibility:  the Tri-Cities Dust Devils.  Unless the Padres were looking at a team in the New York-Penn League.  Which is doubtful, to say the least.

All of this followed the announcement earlier this week that the Padres had agreed to a 2-year extensions with the Fort Wayne TinCaps as the Low Single-A affiliate and the San Antonio Missions as the Double-A affiliate.

Today, the Padres announced that Tri-Cities would be their Short Season Single-A home and that the Lake Elsinore Storm had also agreed to a 2-year extension to remain the High Single-A affiliate.

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Chase Headley with an RBI double. (Photo: Lake Elsinore Storm)

Chase Headley with an RBI double. (Photo: Lake Elsinore Storm)

Lost in the promotional shuffle of TNT Tuesdays (tallboys and tacos), Wackie Weenie & Wine Down Wednesdays (self-explanatory), and Thirsty Thursday ($1 beers), the Lake Elsinore Storm also happen to field a pretty good ball club. After defeating the Lancaster JetHawks on Monday, the Storm (20-12) now lead the California League’s South Division by two games and have won 10 of their last 11.

While the offense-crippling home park does no favors for the offense, the pitching staff have cozied up to their home digs quite nicely. What’s more, with the Padres shuffling the rehabbing Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, and Casey Kelly through town for the next several games, Lake Elsinore is the temporary destination spot for fans who want a more intimate ballpark experience with noted Major Leaguers. Read More…