It’s been kind of a busy week for me. On Monday, I posted a piece on the surprisingly awesome season Seth Smith is having. Amazingly, Seth Smith is still alive, well, and hitting the crap out of baseballs. This minor miracle would be enough to satiate me for a week, but it was also my anniversary this week. Four wonderful years of marriage. Good times. To celebrate, she dragged me to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, and I dragged her to a minor league baseball game. Because the most important thing you need to know about marriage is that if you do something they want to do, you might be able to guilt them into doing something you want to do. Democracy. America.

Anyway, the Padres’ Low-A affiliate, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, traveled east to the Greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area this week for a three game series against the Lake County Captains. The Captains play about 45 minutes away from my home on the opposite side of town, and I hemmed and hawed on whether to make the trip, but when I found out that there were seats available in the front row directly behind home plate, I decided we had to make the trip. So we headed out on Tuesday for the 1pm start, and my wife was absolutely thrilled to find out the game would be delayed 45 minutes due to a small amount of pre-game rain.

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This is a list of the best prospects in the Padres’ organization.  To be eligible for this list a player must still possess their rookie status.  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.

Two new wrinkles to the rankings:

  • 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)
  • Risk Factors have been included to help show the largest road block faced in each player’s development

Tier 1 Read More…

While many who read this site are intimately familiar with the Padres’ system – I’m looking at you Padres Prospects readers – we at Padres Public don’t like anyone to feel left out. What follows is a high-level view of sorts of the topics and players you need to be ready to discuss when you and your buddies are sitting around a table enjoying one of San Diego’s finest beverages after Fan Fest.

Austin Hedges is good, and he could be really, really good

It’s easy to get excited about prospects in the low minors. Typically they have shown enough production to believe that their physical tools just may mature into something wonderful, but aren’t quite old enough to expect immediate success.

Hedges is a 2011 draftee that signed for a then second-round record $3 million bonus. He was heralded as the best defensive player in the entire draft by Baseball America and just about everyone else who had either gotten to see him in person or had heard the now urban-legend level stories of his sub-2.0 second pop times.

2012 was Hedges’ first full season of games at the professional level and he more than held his own offensively – .275/.341/.446 – while successfully leading an extremely wild pitching staff.

This offseason Hedges’ name has been bandied about by a few outlets as San Diego’s best overall prospect, and for good reason. He has the potential to be a perennial Gold Glove catcher while putting up above average numbers offensively.  The production bar for catchers has fallen so far that even if Hedges fails to progress, he still has a better than even shot at an MLB career by playing well above average defense.

That being said 2013 will provide an interesting perspective on the Padres’ 20-year-old backstop as he heads to the hitter-friendly California League on his way through the system. Josh Byrnes and Co. have already shown a willingness to push players through the system, so be sure to get out to Lake Elsinore before it’s too late. Read More…