In case you missed it yesterday (and unless you were in Lansing, Michigan, you did – thanks MiLB.tv), the Fort Wayne TinCaps had one of their best overall performances of the year, beating the Lansing Lugnuts 11-4.

Logan Allen spun a gem, shutting out the Lugnuts for six innings, allowing a walk and three hits while striking out six. He retired the side in order three separate times and allowed mostly soft contact, including six groundball outs.  Allen has only allowed more than two runs in one outing this year, and continues to be the ace of the young staff.

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A look at a Padres prospect or two from each level of the system that had a noteworthy week.  Yes, Michael Gettys striking out 10 times in six games and The San Antonio Missions being just a game out of first place is interesting, but these are a few of the guys that have really impressed the past calendar week. Oh, and Franchy Cordero raised his batting average to .250, so I don’t have to just point out his slugging percentage is great and that he should be loved by all.

Brad Zunica – 1B/DH, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

2 for 12 (.167), 2 HR, 4 BB, 7 K, 3 RBI, 3 R

If you are a Ryan Schimpf fan, let me introduce you to Brad Zunica.  Zunica has a dozen hits on the year – half were home runs and four were doubles, leaving just two that were singles.  The dude’s ISO is through the roof.  Also, just like Schimpf, the dude can work walks and strikes out a bunch.  Despite having just two hits this week, he sported a .375 OBP with four walks.  On the year, he has a 24.1% walk rate, and a 41.8% strikeout rate.  At 21-years-old, he has the power you want, and hopefully he has time to trim down that K rate.
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what's brewing on the padres farm system

Cal Quantrill, RHP, High-A Lake Elsinore

Don’t tell Quantrill that the Cal League is supposed to be friendly toward hitters. He’ll stare you down, find the nearest baseball, and strike you out with 95 mph heat.

Quantrill’s latest masterpiece came against Rancho Cucamonga, on Tuesday night, against a lineup that included major-league rehabbers Logan Forsythe and Joc Pederson along with some legit prospects. Quantrill’s line: six innings, seven hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, and a career-high 12 strikeouts.

As others have noted, the most important thing the Padres can do with Quantrill is try to keep his arm healthy. Coming off Tommy John surgery in college, there’s no rush to push Quantrill up a level or work him for innings. We don’t know all that much about arm health, so just take it slow, monitor his condition after each start, and watch his innings and pitches. So long as the arm stays together, natural talent should carry Quantrill in whichever direction he points it.

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what's brewing on the padres farm system

Yuniet Flores, OF, High-A Lake Elsinore

Are you on board with A.J. Preller loading up on young international talent, but not quite patient enough to see if any of these teenagers actually pans out? If so, you’re in luck, because there’s one Cuban that the Padres inked to a deal last August that’s already playing at High-A Lake Elsinore: Yuniet Flores.

Of course, there’s a catch—Flores isn’t a teenage phenom, he’s 31 years old. He debuted with the Storm on Sunday and promptly went 4-for-6, including a walkoff single. After playing in a few more High-A games, he is off to a .462/.563/.538 start in 16 plate appearances.

Is that enough to get excited about? I’m not sure. I’m a long drive away from Lake Elsinore (hello from Texas), so I haven’t had eyes on him yet. His stats from the Cuban National League are good but not great (.298/.371/.409 over an eight-year period). In terms of what he brings to the table, well… I honestly can’t even find even a shred of a scouting report on Flores.

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A look at a Padres prospect or two from each level of the system that had a noteworthy week.  Yes, Michael Gettys striking out 12 times in six games and Ruddy Giron hitting a walkoff dinger are certainly noteworthy, but these are a few guys who have really impressed the past week. Oh, and Franchy Cordero is slugging .492, so don’t look at any of his other numbers, he’s great and should be loved by all.

 

Dinelson Lamet – SP, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)

5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 13 K, 3 BB

Go figure, in the most hitter-friendly place in the Padres farm system, the star of the week goes to a pitcher.  In his third start of the season, Dinelson Lamet set a Chihuahuas team record with 13 strikeouts.  More impressive is the fact that the Tacoma Rainers (Seattle Mariners affiliate) entered the game with the fewest strikeouts in the Pacific Coast League.  Lamet needed 96 pitches to set the record, and of his three hits allowed, only a homer by Gordon Beckham did any damage.  With a 0.69 ERA in 13 innings this year, there’s a nice chance that we could see Lamet in San Diego before the end of the season.

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When the Padres lost a bidding war for Yoan Moncada a couple of years ago, it was, perhaps, a blessing in disguise. As good as Moncada is—and he’s potentially very, very good—missing out on him kept the Padres inside their international amateur spending budget in 2014-2015, helping to set up San Diego’s all-out assault on the current international signing market. In a sense, they traded Moncada for Adrian Morejon, Jorge Ona, Luis Almanzar, Gabriel Arias, Jeisson Rosario, Osvaldo Hernandez . . . and on and on.

Now, two years after the Red Sox inked Moncada to a $31.5 million deal, there’s a new Cuban phenom in town named Luis Robert. Like Moncada, Robert is very much a Physical Specimen, with speed, power, athleticism, and all the other attributes you’d expect from this sort of supremely talented prospect. A 19-year-old outfielder who will officially be cleared to sign with a major-league team in May, Robert is expected to sign before the next international signing period opens on July 4, when all teams will be limited by a (really dumb) hard spending cap.

If the Padres were drawing all this up when they decided not to match the Red Sox offer on Moncada back in March 2015, this is about how’d it go. With big-market teams like the Cubs, Red Sox, and Yankees currently on the sidelines for past spending sprees of their own, the Padres—yes, the Padres—got to throw money around like George Steinbrenner after a five-game losing streak. Instead of competing with the Dodgers and Red Sox for top international youngsters, the Padres were competing with teams like the A’s and Braves during the current signing period. And instead of coming up short, they got their guys. Give them credit, too, because they spent, busting past their international spending pool last July 4 while continuing to add talent over the winter.

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what's brewing on the padres farm system

Reinaldo Ilarraza, 2B, Single-A Fort Wayne

Forget the numbers—he’s struck out at a 34 percent clip in 24 professional games—the best indicator about what the Padres think about Ilarraza might be the assignment. He’s 10 days younger than the more hyped Fernando Tatis Jr., just 18 and already in Single-A ball. He’s nearly 3.5 years younger than the average player at this level.

After suffering though some injuries last year, it would have been reasonable for Illarraza to stay back in the Arizona Rookie League to start 2017, then progress to Low-A Tri-City by the summer. Instead, the Padres skipped that option and ambitiously sent him to full-season Fort Wayne, where he’s flanked by similarly young teammates like the Tatis, Eguy Rosario, and Hudson Potts. It’s clear that the Padres aren’t scared to challenge certain prospects, and with all four of these guys playing on the infield, there’s a chance they could play together a bunch in the minors.

Ilarraza, signed out of Venezuela in July 2015 for $300,000, gets good reports for his baseball instincts but isn’t without plus tools. He plays stronger than his 5-foot-10, 150-pound frame, and word is he has enough arm strength to play short in the long run. Right now, with Tatis at short, he’s playing mostly second base, but there’s a decent chance he’ll slide over to short more regularly once an opportunity opens. Not even listed in Baseball America’s Padres top 30, Ilarraza is an under-the-radar prospect to watch. (Sac Bunt Dustin)

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This space will mostly be used to discuss the previous day’s game, in some form or fashion, yes. Sometimes, however, we’ll diverge and talk about something else. (That silly Joel Sherman NY Post article was a strong contender, for example.) Today it’s Fernando Tatis Jr., a favorite prospect of this particular writer.

As I received the twitter notification from Phillip (@advancedstats23), the internet’s foremost collector of Tatis Jr. footage, I knew what I was in for.

The camera operator didn’t, apparently.

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Last week the Chicago White Sox gave shortstop Tim Anderson a six-year, $25 million extension, with two club option years that would double that amount. It was the largest amount given to a player with less than a year of service time.

On its face this looks like a relatively low-risk, high upside deal for Chicago. Anderson’s been one of their best prospects since being drafted and was ranked 45th on ESPN’s Keith Law’s 2016 top-100 list. If Anderson reaches his ceiling, or comes close, this is a major win for Chicago. If he sucks, well, $25 million over six years isn’t going to wreck your payroll.

The Padres have more than a few guys on the roster with exciting ceilings, some even more highly rated than Anderson was. It’s smart for any organization to try and lock up young talent as early possible, but it should be even more of an emphasis for the Padres, who are never going to rank in the top half of MLB payroll.

The Padres have been burned in the past with this strategy (RIP Corey Luebke), but bad results shouldn’t discourage good process. Fortunately for us, AJ Preller is an extremely smart dude, and I doubt any previous organizational failings in this area would prevent him from pursuing an extension for his one of his young players.

Here are a few guys I think the Padres should look to extend:

Manuel Margot

Maybe the best prospect the Padres have had since Anthony Rizzo (I’M SORRY), Margot’s been ranked consistently high the last two years on every prospect list that matters. Plus hit, defense, and speed tools also make him a fairly safe prospect, giving him a rare combination of high ceiling and high floor.

Travis Jankowski is a nice player, and I think an outfield with him in left and Margot in center would be tremendous defense porn. Using Anderson’s contract as a barometer, I think something like a five-year, $20 million deal with three club option years at $15 million, $20 million, and $25 million, respectively. The full value of the deal could potentially be eight-years, $80 million.

Austin Hedges

Remember when Hedges was drafted and everyone said he if learned to hit he’d be reeeeeeeeally good? Well, Hedges learned to hit. Don’t talk to me about inflated Triple-A stats or how El Paso is a great place to hit and blah blah blah. I don’t care. There’s more than enough evidence that Hedges’ power potential is very real. An 80 defender at catcher with 25-30 HR ceiling? That’s a Famer, y’all.

One other thing working in Hedges’ favor is the lack of catching prospects behind him. Austin Allen was very good last year (.320/.364/.425) at Fort Wayne last year, but he was old for the level and isn’t a sure thing to stay at catcher. Luis Torrens is a Rule 5 pick and may not last the year. Christian Bethancourt isn’t a catcher anymore. Locking up Hedges makes too much sense.

I’d go six-years, $30 million, with two club option years at $12.5 million and $15 million, respectively. That’s eight-years, $57.5 million at full value.

Cory Spangenberg

Spang has always been one of my favorites for reasons I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s the combination of speed, defense, and athleticism. Maybe it’s because he’s a Jed Hoyer draft pick (I’M SORRY, AGAIN). I don’t know. But I know I dig the skill-set and pedigree.

At first glance, Spang doesn’t seem like an ideal extension candidate; far from it. He’s never healthy; he’s played in just 142 games the last three years. The Padres have second basemen coming out of their ears. Say what you will about Ryan Schimpf and Carlos Asuaje, but at least those guys have stayed healthy and performed when given the opportunity. And I haven’t even mentioned the team’s best hitting prospect, Luis Urias.

So, why extend Spang? He’s easily got the highest ceiling of all the MLB-ready options. He’s the best defender and baserunner of the group, and he’s got a long enough track record going back to minors that shows he can hit and get on base. He’s also defensively versatile. Not Alexi Amarista versatile, like, actually versatile. He’s got the range and arm for third base, and I could see him settling into a super utility role once Urias is ready.

So, what could a deal look like for Spang? His injury history would make significantly cheaper than the previous two. I’d give him a four-year, $15 million with a pair of club option year at $10 million each.

what's brewing on the padres farm system

Franchy Cordero, CF, Triple-A El Paso

When I last wrote about Franchy Cordero, he was just knocked out of the #30 spot in MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings for the Padres. I thought he’d be back on their list and he was in fact rewarded for a solid season by returning to the list at #25. But an even better reward for his last season was the Padres placing Cordero on the 40-man roster. Cordero also played quite a bit this spring as he appeared in 17 games and had 27 at-bats for the big-league team. He did not hit all too well, going 5-27, and slashing .185/.343/.370. Good news here was he hit a double and two triples and stole two bases, so he did show some productivity while playing solid defense in the outfield.

Cordero should begin the season in El Paso playing for the Triple-A Chihuahuas. He was reassigned to the minors by the Padres on the 19th of March. If Manuel Margot breaks camp with the Padres, Cordero will most likely man center field. If Margot is sent down for team control considerations, then Cordero should be in right. Either way, Cordero will provide excellent insurance in case the injury bug bites the Padres in the outfield. With Jabari Blash all but assured of making the 25-man roster, it would make sense for the next outfielder up to be Cordero. (Billy Lybarger)

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