what's brewing on the padres farm system

It’s Prospect Week here at Padres Public, so I’ve decided to pop my head out of my apocalypse bunker, at great risk to my own personal safety, to discuss a matter of great import: whether or not Hunter Renfroe is actually going to be good. This message may self-destruct at any moment, so please read quickly but carefully.

Last week, ESPN Baseball Senior Writer, prospect analyst, and Top Chef enthusiast Keith Law released his top 100 prospects for 2017 ($). There was a bit of controversy surrounding Law’s list, as he ranked newly acquired White Sox uber-prospect Yoan Moncada, seen by many/most as a top 5 prospect, #17 on his list, noting Moncada’s ridiculous upside but worrying about his low contact rate. Responding to a reader question about Moncada’s strikeout rate, Law noted that “it’s not just the number, but how a player ends up there,” a suggestion that Moncada’s strikeouts are rooted in a deeper, more troubling problem, such as pitch recognition and/or plate discipline, or problems with his swing mechanics.

Over the weekend, MLB.com released their own top 100 prospect ranking for 2017, and on that list Moncada was 2nd only to his former organization’s top prospect, Andrew Benintendi, with no mention of any problems with his contact rate, and actually noting his increased patience in the 2nd half of the season as one of his many positives.

What makes this relevant to you, Padres fans, is that a very similar difference of opinion seems to have been a major reason in the range of rankings in Padres OF prospect Hunter Renfroe this off-season. Renfroe ranked 42nd on MLB.com’s list while, for the 2nd year in a row, he did not rank on Law’s top 100 list.

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what's brewing on the padres farm system

Through a winter of despair comes a beacon of hope . . . it’s prospect week here at Padres Public!

Today we’ll have a cumulative top 10 list and some Big Picture discussion. Throughout the rest of the week, we’ll discuss specific players more in-depth, re-heating the cooling winter hot stove with some overdue prospect fodder.

First, the prospect list. As most all reputable prospect outlets have released top prospects lists (we’re still waiting for Keith Law and a few others), we decided to combine them together with a top-secret algorithm and spit out an overall top 10. Without further ado, using the lists from Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Chris Crawford, FanGraphs, Mad Friars, and—yes—Padres Public, voila:

1. Anderson Espinoza, RHP
2. Manuel Margot, OF
3. Hunter Renfroe, OF
4. Cal Quantrill, RHP
5. Adrian Morejon, LHP
6. Luis Urias, 2B
7. Jacob Nix, RHP
8. Chris Paddack, RHP
9. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS
10. Michael Gettys, OF

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Listen to A.J. Preller talk enough, and you start to realize that he’s not necessarily all there in the moment. I don’t mean that negatively—I just mean that he’s probably thinking about something baseball-related as he finishes each sentence. His mouth is saying one thing, but deep inside his baseball-obsessed mind, synapses are firing at will about Dominican prospects and such.

The Padres had a press conference for Wil Myers earlier this week. Here, I’ve tried to figure out what Preller might have actually been thinking when he said various things.

What he said: Obviously, uh, here today to announce the—you know—to announce the signing of Wil Myers to a six-year contract extension.
What he was thinking: I wonder if there are any flights to Venezuela available tonight.

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The Padres released their 2017 promotional schedule on Tuesday. You may have missed it at first, as they did it via press release and posted it on social media around 4:15pm.

Padres Jagoff posted a piece about it on Gwynntelligence Wednesday morning, in which he compared the Padres 2017 giveaways and promotions with the ones from the Dodgers, Cubs, Indians, Red Sox, and Giants. To say he was underwhelmed would be an understatement.

Promotions and giveaways are supposed to be an incentive to get you out to the ballpark when you wouldn’t necessarily have gone. If you get something of perceived value – on top of the basic product – the product becomes more valuable. It’s not even Economics 101, it’s high school Intro to Economics, that one class that they only made me take for a single semester in my senior year.

The Padres are not good. The expectation is that they’re going to lose a lot of games this year. Now, they won’t necessarily tell us that straight up, but it doesn’t take an astrophysicist to do the math. So, why would their promotional schedule be so underwhelming? I would think they would like to get people in the ballpark on Saturdays, however these promotions probably wouldn’t inspire anyone on the fence to get to Petco Park this season.

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Padres and Pints: the Podcast! semi triumphantly returns with old friend Jonah Keri. Rick and Chris get down to business chatting about the Wil Myers contract extension, the state of the Padres farm system, plus the snoozefest that is the 2017 Padres promotional lineup.

Jonah joins to discuss the history of Tim Raines Hall of Fame candidacy plus Trevor Hoffman’s chances next year. Jonah also spits an amazing rant on owner Dean Spanos’ “work” building a stadium to save the San Diego Chargers.

Check out Jonah’s podcast here.

Also, shout out to friend honorary family member of the podcast Megan Olivi for her appearance in this week’s episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia!

(Outro music is Lipstick by Not My Weekend)

Discussed things:

San Diego Padres top prospects chat with Kyle Glaser of Baseball America

Chargers’ greed-driven L.A. move puzzling given several reasonable options to stay by Jonah Keri

If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below or e-mail us.

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It’s old news now, but both Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte were signed to contract extensions recently. By Section 2, Clause 4b of the internet’s manual on baseball writing, we’re still allowed to write about it.

Myers inked the bigger deal: six years and $83 million with an option for a seventh year, a contract which buys out three—and potentially four—of his would-be free agent years.

It’s a good deal in a basic, big picture sense. Myers is fun and young and the Padres have money to spend. The payroll over the next couple of years is going to sink to near-embarrassing levels, and even though this deal won’t technically do much to raise it (for now), it’s still a good way for Padres brass to show that they’ll continue to shell out money when necessary.

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Trevor Hoffman got 74 percent of the vote for the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, which put him one percentage point—or five measly votes—away from getting the Cooperstown call.

Even though I wrote that I wouldn’t have voted for Hoffman if I had a ballot of my own, I can certainly understand the argument that he’s a Hall-of-Fame level player, and I can further understand the disappointment for a city of sports fans looking for something to cling to.

Hoffman didn’t get in because he came up five votes short, obviously, and also because he’s something of a borderline candidate (also potentially because of a Boston bias). Nobody really knows how to handle relievers, and Hoffman—much as it pains me to admit—isn’t close to the Mariano Rivera level of relief pitcher dominance. Nobody is, really. So he hovers on the Hall periphery, gaining more support from the old-school voters than from the younger ones, more support from the west coast than from the east coast.

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Today’s the day. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced at 3pm PST today. Who will get in? Who will be snubbed?

I’m not a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). I know, big shocker there. But I am a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBBA). And, like the BBWAA, the BBBA votes for the Hall of Fame every year, using the same rules and the same ballot. Does it mean anything? Not in the least. But it’s fun.

Like a lot of BBWAA members, I believe in making your Hall of Fame vote — official or not — public for all the world to see and yell at you for.

Here’s how I voted.
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According to multiple reports the Chargers will announce today they are bolting (sorry) for Los Angeles.  Dean Spanos will meet with his staff shortly, ostensibly to inform them of this decision.

It’s probably too late to start a petition to keep the team name and colors here (al la what Cleveland did when the first Browns left).  I’d absolutely support that initiative, by the way.

Dean Spanos leaving town will have a profound impact on the Padres.  I wonder how they will react today.  I hope they have thought it through and have an actionable plan in place.  They’ve had two years to prepare.  Their world is different starting at 8am this morning.

The Padres have been the second banana in San Diego for as long as Major League Baseball has been played here.  Even during their brief forays into baseball respectability, and the occasional playoff appearance, the Chargers dominated the narrative.  Now, I know using local sports talk-radio as a barometer isn’t the best idea, but for the last two years those who listen have been treated to incessant conversations about the stadium issue, new developments, theories, recriminations, speculation, and so on.  It didn’t matter how well or poorly the Padres were playing, or what stupid thing the Padres did, San Diego Charger stadium discussions dominated.  Only when a story became national news (like the medical file flapex) did some lip service get paid to the Padres and what they were doing; it was then rapidly swamped by more stadium discussion.

The Padres had the perfect cover.  Now that cover is gone.

Although the Chargers are moving barely 150 miles up the road I can’t imagine news about that football team will continue to be the top story for the local media.  All eyes should shift to the one Major-League franchise left. The Gulls will get some additional coverage, sure, but hockey is a niche sport (which is too bad, because it’s awesome).  The Padres have sucked for the past six years and only the diehard fans really complained and discussed it.  Now the casual sports fan will be paying more attention because there’s really nothing else to talk about.

Get ready, Padres.  You’re front and center on the San Diego Sports Stage.  If we ever needed our baseball team to both play well and have a realistic chance for a playoff appearance, it’s right now.

Tom Verducci, respected baseball writer and talking head, wrote an article earlier this week about why he won’t vote for any known steroid users for the Hall of Fame. That’s a fine premise, really, and even though I clearly disagree, I can’t rail against the mind-set too vigorously. It’s fair, I guess.

What I can rail against are the specifics of Verducci’s article because, you know, I have both the time and awareness for nuance. Without going full FJM-style, here are a few things to chew on:

At one point, Verducci compares Fred McGriff to Barry Bonds, wondering what would have happened if McGriff went to BALCO and Bonds did not, going so far as to jerry-rig a virtual final stat line for each player. Okay, fine. The kicker is that Bonds would have still out-homered the Crime Dog, 599 to 564, and that’s without mentioning the obvious: that Bonds was a world-class outfielder and base runner and that McGriff, despite his full endorsement of Tom Emanski’s fielding videos, was a sub-par defensive first baseman with 72 career stolen bases.

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