On November 18th, the Padres added four new players to the 40-man roster: shortstop Javier Guerra, pitcher Walker Lockett, converted pitcher Jose Ruíz, and outfielder Franchy Cordero. While Lockett has the greatest chance of making the big club this year (Ruiz and Guerra ended 2016 in High A Lake Elsinore), Cordero has a lot of potential and ended the year in Triple-A El Paso.
A little background on the newest member of the Padres 40-man: In 2012, the Padres signed 17-year-old Franchy Cordero out of the Dominican Republic for $175,000. Though he was 6’3”, San Diego figured him to play primarily at shortstop, though some scouts saw him as a third base candidate. After spending time with the Dominican Academy and in extended spring training, he broke into A-ball as a 19-year-old. His debut, however, failed to live up to the high praise bestowed upon him by numerous scouts who watched him in the Spring Training backfields in 2014 (notably Jason Parks, formerly of Baseball Prospectus and currently with the Chicago Cubs).
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.
In Episode 18 of the podcast we chat with John Conniff of MadFriars about the Padres farm system. What prospects does John expect to contribute in the majors this season? What pitcher is John’s sleeper prospect? What did Nelson Cruz say to John just before taking Wade LeBlanc yard in Portland? Where are the San Antonio barbecue joints that refuse to provide sliverware? We answer all these questions and more.
Check out the MadFriars Top 20 Padres Prospects for 2015 featuring commentary on the state of the organization and tons of scouting info on players.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below or e-mail us.
We caught up with John Conniff of MadFriars.com and FoxSports San Diego on his recent trip to Low-A Fort Wayne, Indiana. The TinCaps are the first full season team in the Padres’ organization and play in one of the best stadiums in the minor leagues at their downtown stadium Parkview Field.
This year’s team is one of the youngest that San Diego has ever sent to the Midwest League with six of their eight everyday players twenty-one years old or younger.
The stars of the club are first baseman Jake Bauers, third baseman Dustin Peterson and second baseman/shortstop Josh Van Meter, all of whom have yet to turn twenty.
Jake Bauers (Photo by Jeff Nycz)
We caught up with John for his recent trip to the Summit City.
This is a list of the best prospects in the Padres’ organization. To be eligible for this list a player must not have appeared in the majors. It’s a weird way to do things, but means more young prospects will appear. Prospects are ranked both by their ultimate potential and the likelihood that they will reach that potential. The easiest way to understand the rankings is to consider what order players would be selected in if the entire organization were eligible for a draft. Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) for each prospect is when they would reach the majors if they were able to reach their potential.
Notes carried over from the 2013 Top 25:
- Prospects have been split into tiers to help get a better idea of the talent gap between players (i.e. the difference between position 1 and 2 may not be the same as the difference between position 14 and 15). It is safe to assume that all players in a tier could be rearranged without much argument.
- Risk Factors have been included to help show the largest road block faced in each player’s development
1) Austin Hedges – Hedges split his age-20 season between High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio. While his overall offensive production doesn’t jump out at you, Hedges continues to be a tough out against advanced competition. He will head back to San Antonio to begin 2014, but minimal development is required before Hedges is able to contribute at the big league level. ETA: 2014