What’s Brewing On The Farm: May 5, 2017

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.

Luis Robert, OF, Free Agent

The Padres held a private workout for Robert on Tuesday, and Dennis Lin reported that international scouting director Chris Kemp and other high ranking scouts/officials were in attendance, but, curiously, not A.J. Preller.

Lin later noted that the Padres have scouted Robert for years, so it doesn’t necessarily mean anything that Preller wasn’t there. Still, it’s a little odd. Signing Robert will probably cost the Padres something like $20 million on the low side, penalties included, and possibly a lot more. It’s one of those big organizational decisions, one where you seemingly want to maximize every bit of information you can get.

One of the things with Cuban players is that there aren’t generally a ton of scouting opportunities. Sure, there are international tournaments and things of that nature, and Robert has been out of Cuba for a while now, but it’s not like a Dominican player, where scouting opportunities are ample. The Padres likely haven’t had that many looks at Robert, especially recently, so it’s strange that Preller, who essentially works as the Padres top scout, wasn’t there to get in one last first-hand look.

Where else would Preller want to be, anyway, than out on a baseball field scouting an amateur player? I agree with Padres Jagoff; this feels like a sign that the Padres probably aren’t going all-in on Robert, but I’ve been wrong before.

Donavan Tate, QB, University of Arizona

News broke the other day that Tate, the Padres No. 3 draft pick back in 2009, is headed to college to play football, with the Padres footing the bill for his tuition.

You’re probably rolling your eyes at this, but c’mon, it’s a good story. Tate’s baseball career never worked out, for a cavalcade of reasons (injuries, off-field issues, trouble with the curve), but he’s going back to school with a shot at making it at a big time college football program. Tate was a top football recruit coming out of high school, where he signed a letter-of-intent at North Carolina, instead opting to play professional baseball.

Signed for a cool $6.25 million by the Padres back in 2009, Tate was part of a high-upside draft class that included outfielder Everett Williams and righty Keyvius Sampson. It didn’t work out, obviously, which is just the nature of the game (and many Padres draft classes). The Padres covering the college tuition is standard procedure, a good side of a system that’s generally heavily tilted pro-team.

Good for Tate.

Luis Urias, SS/2B, Double-A San Antonio

Urias got four hits on Tuesday—his third four-hit game already this season—and three walks on Wednesday, and he strikes out less often than Cal Quantrill on twitter. His slash now, as a 19-year-old in Double-A, is .340/.429/.534. And yet, in a recent chat, Keith Law said this:

Chandler: How much longer until Luis Urias gets on a top 100 list? The youngest player in the Texas League and a .347/439/.551 slash line isn’t enough?
Keith Law: Have you ever seen him play? Or even seen him walk around?

Then Law responded via twitter to his answer late last night, nullifying everything I wrote below. Let’s just pretend that [someone] said that Urias isn’t a good prospect because of his physicality/stature/body.

. . .

Yeah, yeah, he’s no Yoan Moncada. Look, [someone’s] no doubt good at his job, and it’s important that he provides us with context beyond the stat line, because *cough* anybody *cough* can read a stat line. Scouting’s super important at any level of the minor leagues, and if there’s some limiting physical factor that’s going to catch up to a prospect once they reach The Show, it’s good to point that out.

But Jesus H. Christ, the guy’s OPSing just south of 1.000 as a teenager in Double-A, with a .194 ISO, and a career strikeout rate of 7.5 percent. It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where that player isn’t a top 100 prospect, even if he walks around like me after Thanksgiving dinner. There’s a point where performance trumps scouting, and Urias is standing on top of it, beating his chest, probably barreling up a belt-high fastball.

Beyond the offensive performance, Urias has drawn some solid reviews for his glovework at second base, and he stuck as a regular at short for a month, when Jose Rondon missed time. We already know about the top level bat-to-ball skills, and he’s shown developing power at the dish this season. What are we concerned about here? His foot speed? If Urias can play an acceptable second base in the majors and hit somewhere in the neighborhood of .300 with some pop, he’s Jose Altuve minus 30 steals. Not every big leaguer has a Moncada-like physique.

Of course, it is early in the season. [Someone’s] clarification that his point was more about small sample size makes more sense, and there’s still a long way before we can reasonably compare Urias to the current version of Altuve without looking foolish. But, right now, he looks like a legitimate prospect. And I still think [someone’s] chat answer was a bit strange.

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  • David Jay

    Chris Kemp answered the questions you’re asking about the number of views on Robert, etc. He gave a different answer than you came up with… http://www.scout.com/mlb/padres/story/1775852-the-hunt-for-luis-robert
    Also, it’s not fully correct to assume that AJ either acts as the Padres’ top scout or relies on his own in-person views of a player above the input of Kemp, Post, White, Schumm, Shaffer and others, all of whom have seen him as well.

    • Hey, David, thanks for the link. Good stuff, as usual.

      Didn’t Kemp admit in that piece that they’ve only had like 10 looks at Robert, compared to 50 when they signed Ona?

      And good point about Preller. I didn’t necessarily mean it that way, just that Preller, more than any other current GM (probably?) is really hands-on with the scouting, so it was at least a little strange that he wasn’t there.

      Appreciate the info.

      • David Jay

        Definitely the case that they got more looks at Ona, who was off the island for almost 16 months before he signed. But they’re getting more current looks on Robert than they did on three of their top five picks combined in last year’s draft.

      • Thanks. Appreciate the coverage/knowledge from MadFriars.

  • James Adams

    Hasn’t the rumor been that Robert already has a handshake deal with another team? Now just has to wait until May 20th to sign. No need for Preller to make the trip if that is the case.

    • David Jay

      While Keith Law tweeted that last week, it doesn’t appear to be borne out by any information anywhere.

    • Beersy

      If another team has a handshake deal with Robert already, why would the Padres bother to even work him out?

  • Beersy

    Preller was probably the GM making the hand shake deal with Robert’s “advisors”.