With the first rounds of the Vedder Cup in the books and report day just around the corner for Padres minor leaguers, this is as good a time as any to take a quick look at 10 names likely to get the call at some point this summer.
*In no particular order*
1) Jedd Gyorko – Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Were it not for service time concerns, Gyorko very well could be the Padres’ Opening Day second baseman with Logan Forsythe serving as a roving substitute around the diamond. Gyorko from day one should show an above average hit tool and average to a tick above power while cleanly handling the balls he’s able to get to playing second. One factor that can’t be ignored in Gyorko’s situation is that the Padres have yet to place him on the 40-man roster. This combined with future service time concerns may force Gyorko back to Tucson for the time being.
2) Jaff Decker – For many reasons, 2013 could be Decker’s last season with the Padres – which may be best for both parties. As recently as 2010 Decker was considered a Top 100 prospect in all of baseball, but a mix of injuries and odd performance have left his status with the team up in the air. If everything breaks right, Decker can provide the Padres with average defense, a high on-base percentage and some power…but if he gets off to yet another rocky start don’t be surprised if Decker’s moved.
3) Donn Roach – More and more it sounds like Roach is quickly becoming an organizational favorite. He offers a lethal sinker and passable secondary offerings. Roach could immediately serve as a utility pitcher of sorts that’s available for multiple-inning outings that provide great value over the long season. But if the Padres are willing to give him more development time, Roach could settle in to a nice career as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
4) Keyvius Sampson – Sampson already has two legitimate MLB-caliber pitches in his mid-90s heavy fastball and above average changeup. Sampson’s main barrier at this point is the continued development of his curveball. If he’s able to turn it into an average offering Sampson will shake the bullpen profile many see for him.
5) Robbie Erlin – Erlin is a pretty well known commodity and is almost guaranteed to see MLB time at some point in 2013 if healthy. If you get a chance to see him pitch pay close attention. You won’t see many pitchers as tactical and calculated as Erlin.
6) Jonathan Galvez – Galvez is extremely limited by his defensive ability, meaning his opportunity will have to come either by trade or injury – ironically the two most used words in Padres blogging. He will show an above average hit tool with a solid approach at the plate. Galvez’ arrival in San Diego may depend on his speed bouncing back to pre-injury levels.
7) Matt Jackson – Jackson is a quality pitcher that uses smooth, consistent mechanics to make up for his lack of raw stuff. He’s never going to over power hitters, but if Jackson can continue to show a solid approach against advanced hitters he’ll quickly earn a shot to prove himself in San Diego.
8) Matthew Andriese – Andriese is a personal favorite who could be a fast riser after more than holding his own at Lake Elsinore last season. He’s got a three-pitch mix that is well refined and enough experience to be pushed up the ladder.
9) Kevin Quackenbush and 10) Matt Stites – Bullpen prospects typically fit one of two molds: 1) absolutely electric stuff that doesn’t hold up for more than 30 pitches or 2) refined pitchers taking advantage of inexperienced hitters. Both Quackenbush and Stites performed like the first scenario in 2012 but profile as more of the second. Due to the fungible characteristics of bullpen arms and the brief nature of their careers it makes little sense to hold Quackenbush and Stites out of San Diego if their early season performances are on par with past production.
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