Andrew Cashner. Gone. Matt Kemp. Gone. Melvin Upton Jr. Gone. Fernando Rodney. Gone. James Shields. Gone. Twelve out of thirteen draft picks from the first ten rounds of the 2016 Amateur Draft signed. Over $60 million in international signings so far, and that’s just since July 2nd.

One thing that all of these trades, draft picks, and international signings say to me is that Lake Elsinore is going to be the perfect place for Padres fans to watch baseball on a regular basis. And, it’s looking like it’s going to be that way for a couple of years, at least.

I’ll be honest, I should have written at least part of this earlier in the season. But the influx of talent to the lower levels of the minor leagues made it relevant again.

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Click here for the series intro and last week’s reports.

Chris Baker, SS, Low-A Tri-City

Taken out of the University of Washington in the 17th round of this year’s draft, Chris Baker is currently plying his trade in the Northwest League with the Tri-City Dust Devils. Having played all over the infield at Washington (competently, according to multiple reports), he’s played shortstop exclusively during his month and a half as a professional. Currently at the All-Star break, Baker’s slash line is .300/.397/.393 in 179 PA, with a 129 wRC+. That’s good enough for him to be selected for the Northwest League All-Star team.

Baker’s an interesting player, as I found out when I had the opportunity to watch the Dust Devils play a series in person a couple of weeks back. Offensively, he already looks comfortable at this level. The ball looks solid off of his bat, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bit more power develop before he’s through. Defensively, I thought he looked average/above-average, with a pretty strong arm. In each game of the series, there were some mental lapses on the bases and in the field. John Conniff at MadFriars saw Tri-City’s subsequent series and made no notes of such issues. Given this and reports I’ve read out of college, I’d venture to guess this isn’t a long-term issue worth being too concerned about.

While the draft position and rankings justifiably aren’t particularly sexy, this is a solid player who could end up being an interesting, “under-the-radar” type guy in the system. (Vocal Minority David)

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So you like prospects? We do too, so we decided to carve out a place at the corner of the bar where we’ll talk them. . . non-stop, like that annoying dude discusses his car collection. Each week (hopefully) we’ll grab a select number of Padres minor leaguers we’re interested in and write about them, discussing everything from advanced statistics to prospect rankings to developmental strategy to first-hand scouting reports. (The format, you’ll note, is inspired by Baseball Prospectus’ Monday Morning Ten Pack.)

Austin Allen, C, Single-A Fort Wayne
As I noted in BP2016, Allen’s Twitter bio ends with the phrase “Somewhere Hitting Baseballs Hard.” It’s no lie. The first time I saw him in spring training, his sweet left-handed swing caught my attention. I made a point of watching his batting practice most days, and it was always the same: easy swings, loud contact. As FanGraphs’ David Laurila observed in May, “he’s looking for balls up in the zone and thinking middle of the field,” which isn’t a bad idea.

Allen brought that approach with him into his first full professional season at Fort Wayne, where he earned Midwest League Player of the Month honors in April with a ridiculous .460/.539/.603 line that included ten multi-hit games and only four zero-hit games. The 6’4” 225 lb Allen has cooled considerably since then (.267/.304/.379 from May 1 to July 25, including an 11-game hitting streak that remains intact as of this writing), but his overall numbers are solid. The 2015 fourth-round pick out of Florida Tech has performed especially well against southpaws, hitting .359/.391/.495 against them.

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padrestwitterIt’s that time of year again. Two years ago, I published what I considered to be the most comprehensive list of Padres-related Twitter accounts that I thought every Padres fan should be following. I updated it as needed as players were traded or people changed jobs, but that just got time-consuming and monotonous.

I redid the entire thing exactly one year later, with new accounts added and others removed, mostly due to repetitiveness or just no longer existing.

I revisited it this month, and what follows are the results.

Some are informative follows. Some are humorous. Some are both. But all of them, I guarantee*, will improve your Padres Twitter experience.

*Guarantee void in Tennessee. And everywhere else, for that matter. I guarantee nothing except eventual death.
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Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:

  • Padres Negotiate With All, Strike Deal With None (FanGraphs) – Craig Edwards offers what I would call a very conventional take on the Padres, assuming that A.J. Preller and company were (or should have been) eager to sell and rebuild, talking about “limited budgets” and such. But I believe this misinterprets their intention, which I’ve mentioned before is to rebrand the team as something other than cheap and not simply rebuild again ($). Whether they truly believe they can contend this season, that’s the story they’re selling. They built the team over the winter the way they wanted to build it. Right or wrong, this is the plan, and they’re not going to abandon it just because popular opinion assumes they will do so. Besides, Preller’s inactivity adds to his aura of unpredictability. Everyone expected him to zig, but he zagged instead. As a bonus, people are still talking about the Padres. As a further bonus, there’s no evidence that Preller is pursuing Pablo Sandoval, as some would have the Padres do. [h/t reader Didi]
  • On the Genealogy of Trades, Part I (Hardball Times) – Speaking of trades, John Marsh has written (or at least started) a fascinating series. The first installment focuses on the 19th century, while Part II wonders which trades shaped the way baseball teams make trades, examining among others the infamous Curt Flood deal. Also at Hardball Times, Miles Wray reminds us that the Padres haven’t had an All-Star center fielder since 1989, when Tony Gwynn split time between that position and his more familiar right field. Wil Myers could have broken the streak this year if he’d stayed healthy. And, you know, been able to play center field.
  • My experience on the Cubaball tour (SABR) – Donald Plavnick recounts his recent trip to Cuba to watch and learn more about the history of baseball in that country. Remember all that stuff about Fidel Castro being a great pitching prospect? Fun, but no. Or as Peter Bjarkman puts it, “historical facts rarely stand in the way of enticingly good baseball folklore.” But hey, at least we have visual evidence that Castro pitched in some capacity. Even better, you can watch real Cuban pitcher Luis Tiant do his thing in the 1975 World Series. The Cubaball tour sounds like a great time and includes a stop at the soon-to-be restored Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s fabled home near Havana.
  • El Paso Notebook-2015 (MadFriars) – John Conniff didn’t travel quite as far but did return with tales of old El Paso. Well, okay, the Chihuahuas. Close enough for government work. Skipper Jamie Quirk likes his bullpen. On the offensive side, Conniff calls out Alex Dickerson, who is enjoying a fine Triple-A campaign despite hitting fewer home runs than one might expect from such a strapping young lad. The former Poway High star, who came to the Padres in a November 2013 trade that sent Jaff Decker to the Pirates, missed much of last season with a nasty heel injury that could have threatened his career. It’s good to see him back on track.
  • After stint in Minors, Gyorko’s found his swing ( – Speaking of El Paso and guys back on track, Jedd Gyorko says that he’s “starting to lay off some of the higher fastballs and the low sliders” since returning to San Diego. Meanwhile, Sac Bunt Chris has thoughts on the young second baseman’s batted ball velocity, among other things.

Exactly 364 days ago, I compiled a list of all of the Twitter accounts that Padres’ fans should be following. It did not come without controversy, as I had complaints from people who thought they should be on it throughout the course of the year.

I updated it in January, adding some and removing others. Since then the Padres made moves on and off the field, changing who should and shouldn’t be on the list.

I have updated it once again. Some accounts are gone, others have been added. Some are still not on it.

To be honest, some of these accounts I don’t follow. On @GhostofRAK, that is. However, I’ve included them because they have some connection to the Padres or Padres’ fans that might interest you.

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Here’s some stuff I read this week that you might enjoy:

  • Every Player In Its Right Place (Baseball Prospectus) – Jeff Long presents results of BP’s collaboration with a company called Ayasdi to create “similarity maps” that attempt to put players into various buckets based on shared characteristics. Many of the technical aspects are over my head, but I like the concept and will be interested to see where they take this.
  • Ayala High’s Jonathan Buckley pitches a winner against diabetes (Los Angeles Times) – Need a reason to love Brandon Morrow? Try this: “The player turned around and whether because of fate or luck, it was Morrow. For more than 30 minutes, he graciously talked to Buckley and his family, explaining that Type 1 diabetes would not prevent anyone from pursuing their dreams.”
  • What MLB scouts see when they watch the Chihuahuas (Sports Town El Paso) – Jason Green tells us what’s happening at Triple-A. His report includes thoughts from an American League scout on Rymer Liriano, Austin Hedges, Nick Vincent, and more. Meanwhile, BP’s Brendan Gawlowski saw El Paso right-hander Aaron Northcraft (acquired in the Justin Upton trade) and came away less than impressed. Further down the chain, Curt Rallo profiles Michael Gettys at Desire? As Gettys says, “I try to make every part of my game better, whether it’s hitting, hitting for power, base running, defensively. I try to be the best at every aspect. I work at everything.” Seems like a good plan. [h/t reader LynchMob for the Gettys article]
  • Introducing Deserved Run Average (DRA)—And All Its Friends (Baseball Prospectus) – Harry Pavlidis et al. have introduced a new pitching metric. This bad boy checks in at nearly 5,000 words, so cancel those afternoon meetings that you would have slept through anyway. If you’re still bored and/or awake after that, here’s an even longer (!) article on the same. Still need more pitching stuff? At Hardball Times, Saul Jackman examines Tyson Ross’ devastating slider, among other things.
  • Cardinals minor league strength coordinator breaks gender barrier in baseball (Peoria Journal Star) – This is good to see. Hopefully Rachel Balkovec isn’t categorically dismissed by closed-minded individuals the way former Padres massage therapist Kelly Calabrese once was by Keith “Just for Men” Hernandez. As Calabrese correctly noted back in 2006, “I don’t think the big issue is whether it’s a woman or a man, but just finding the person for the job.” [h/t SABR; follow the link for more goodies]

Jason Klein from San Diego design firm Brandiose joins Rick and Chris as they chat about all design and minor league baseball, or as Jason calls it, “story telling.”

Jason shares some crazy ideas implemented by Brandiose previously never seen in minor league baseball, as well as some plans deemed too overboard even for the minors. The guys also discuss the current direction of the San Diego Padres brand, as well as details about Brandiose’s working process with teams from beginning to end. You can follow Brandiose on Twitter.

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

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Here it is! All of the Padres bobbleheads that I own, in one single post! 57  168 (!!!!) different Padres, Chihuahuas, Beavers, Stars, BayBears, Quakes, Storm, Wizards, TinCaps, Emeralds, managers, announcers, mascots, dreamboats, skaters and sleepy voiced ex-owners. I’ve written in depth about many of these already, so if you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below and I’ll fill you in on them.

Some Additional Notes:

-The Tony Gwynn set of 5 was not a Padres affiliated giveaway and was reportedly a set that Alicia Gwynn teamed up with another company on. I can’t recall the year, or if they were given away somewhere or sold, but I’m about 99.9% sure that it was in 2001.

-I found out that the set that features Trevor Hoffman, Ryan Klesko, Mark Kotsay and Phil Nevin was indeed given away at a game on August 4th, 2002, but was for kids only. You could also go to Carl’s Jr. every Saturday for 5 consecutive weeks and purchase a combo meal to buy a different bobblehead for $4.99 though, which is what I did. My cholesterol levels have never been the same.

-The Jerry Coleman bobblehead was a San Diego National Bank item from 2001 and was given away to “special friends of the bank” only.

-A HUGE thank you to the Fort Wayne TinCaps for providing the Rymer Liriano, Mat Latos, Matt Wisler, Josh Van Meter & Burt Hooton bobbleheads to the collection!!

-Another HUGE thank you to the El Paso Chihuahuas for providing the Manuel Margot & Austin Hedges bobbleheads!

-For more info on the Chris Denorfia unreleased bobblehead, go here.

-I’ve never seen the 1980’s Twin Enterprises bobblehead before, but I scooped it up. It’s in the 1985-1990 uniform, however I have never seen any of these holding a baseball. Perhaps it was a custom one?

If you have any bobbleheads that aren’t listed here, that you’d like to contribute to my sickness the cause, then shoot me an e-mail.

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