Spring and Early Season Padres Prospects Notes: Part 1

It’s been a crazy few weeks since both the MLB and MiLB seasons started. Due to unforeseen circumstances that would be extremely boring to retell here, the Padres Prospects Spring Training Notebook kept getting pushed back to the point where now it seems to make more sense just to roll it into an overall spring/early season notes piece. Below are notes and observations from both in-person looks while in Arizona and conversations had since the season began. Be forewarned, the Spring Notes are extremely raw in presentation, which we’ll call a tribute to the environment they’re taken from.

Max Fried

Spring Notes: extremely easy delivery that he can repeat, not much wasted movement, very efficient, almost looks like a right-handed pitcher because his delivery looks so natural, physically looks a lot like Clayton Kershaw with slight differences in foot strike and a little bit of Cole Hamels mixed in; fastball has great life, he’s mostly pitched in the 89-91 range but it seems like there’s 2-3 more MPH in the tank; throws curveball both in the dirt and for strikes, very unique for his age, great vertical movement and tight spin; changeup is raw, he shows solid depth on the pitch but needs to speed up his arm before facing advanced hitters, could be an average to plus offering but will need a lot of work; body is mature for his age, still shows some projection, above average athlete; extremely coachable, was asking for instruction from Padres coaches and seemed open to adjustments.

Early Season: Fried has really impressed on the mound thus far in his three starts as he’s been forced to rely on his pure stuff when his control has left him. Primarily showing two pitches: a consistently low-90s fastball and his trademark curveball that is dropping in for strikes. When his fastball command has waned, Fried has already shown the ability and know-how to pitch backwards. As conditions become more favorable look for Fried to settle in with more consistency from start to start.

Joe Ross

Spring Notes: body is much more mature than 2012, last season he looked like a kid with a live arm and now appears to be maturing into his frame; fastball has been explosive out of his hand; offspeed that was non-existent last spring now appears to be a legitimate offering; should have no problem going a full season.

Early Season: It appears that Ross is settling in nicely as the ace of a young TinCaps staff. Outside of a start in extreme weather conditions, Ross has been every bit as good as the Padres could have hoped. April is typically a brutal month for Midwest League hitters so it will be interesting to see if Ross can stay ahead of the curve as the season progresses.

Duanel Jones

Spring Notes: his stance at the plate looks much better than 2012, Jones starts out now in a more athletic setup with his knees bent and hands at a comfortable height, look for him to translate more of his raw power to game situations and better utilize his previously raw hit tool.

Early Season: So far so good for Jones results wise, but thus far in his 48 at bats he has just 1 extra-base hit. The sample is still far too small to draw conclusions either way, but it’s at least encouraging early on to see Jones not fighting the changes to his game.

Zach Eflin

Spring Notes: appears as advertised with a highly-projectable frame that already offers mid-90s heat; at the point where he is just beginning to refine the areas of his delivery (balance, front shoulder, arm slot) that will give him the needed consistency to battle professional hitters; he’s receiving a full season assignment to start his career which should tell you a lot about how the Padres view Eflin’s current skillset and makeup.

Donn Roach

Spring Notes: could watch him throw sinkers all day; smooth delivery and clean arm action product a low-90s two seamer that generates incredible arm side run when his mechanics are sound, tends to lose his balance and open up his shoulder early which leaves his trademark pitch flat and out of control; secondary offerings are mostly refined but average at best which leaves him without a swing-and-miss pitch when his sinker isn’t dancing.

Early Games: We’ve already see the ill effects of Roach lacking great secondary pitches as he’s gone through spurts where he’s getting BABIP’d to death and is forced to rely on his sinker when a strikeout is needed. With the current state of the Padres’ MLB staff and Roach’s early success it seems likely a midseason callup will be in order.

Matt Wisler

Spring Notes: helium, tons and tons of helium; reportedly hit 98 in short outings early in March, currently sits 93-96 in extended outings; shows a wipeout slider that has become an above average offering and a changeup that is presently a tick below average with some projection; does not show typical balance or leg drive seen in power pitchers, physically his delivery will remind you a lot of Josh Beckett with a lower leg lift (think vintage Beckett), the delivery works for him and doesn’t put him at any greater risk than other pitchers face.

Brian Adams

Spring Notes: be still my heart, definitely a candidate for #TeamSwoon (Wisler and Austin Hedges are the charter members), playing baseball full time for the first time in his life and oozes tools; shows present 65 power in batting practice, 60 speed and 60 arm strength; good instincts in center for his experience level, but needs work; no approach to speak of at the plate; hit tool is currently well below average and fails against premium velocity, but there’s an immense gap between present and future ability; lottery ticket with one of the highest athletic ceilings in the system; chances of getting more than 500 at bats above Double-A…slim.

Early Season: He flashes all the tools that make him so special, but thus far we’ve seen a lot of the growing pains as well for Adams. He’s currently striking out at about a 25% rate while walking less than 5%.


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  • Great stuff, Jeff! Awesome, very detailed. Appreciate the perspective.

  • M boyer

    What about Matt Lollis?