Just when I thought it was safe to settle in for a little Sunday Night Baseball action, A.J. Preller struck again, pulling off the sort of Opening Day/Night blockbuster far more likely to show up in your fantasy league than the majors.

This time Preller and the Padres sent OF Cameron Maybin, “OF” Carlos Quentin, RHP Matt Wisler, OF Jordan Paroubeck, and the 41st pick in the 2015 draft to the Braves for RHP Craig Kimbrel and OF Melvin Upton Jr. Here are some thoughts on this fascinating head-scratcher/headache-inducer.

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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 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

Tier 1

1) Austin HedgesHedges 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

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Spring Training provides an opportunity for fans to view the lesser-seen pieces and dream upon the futures of players yet to take a single at-bat for the big league squad, but could dramatically alter the franchise’s trajectory. It’s escapism from the realities of an organization that has branded themselves as “snake-bit,” and that fans have seen as underwhelming. So, just hours from first pitch and the beginning of the 2014 season, here’s a look back at five days of (mostly) rampant optimism in the desert.

When parents plan their son or daughter’s first trip to Spring Training, they likely envision parcels of perfectly manicured grass. Sun-kissed mornings where millionaire ballplayers and long shots share a field and play a game with the same childlike wonder and enthusiasm that they hope, one day, their own child will possess. My son’s first Spring Training started a bit differently, as a complete stranger challenged me to a fight at Terminal 4 of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. In the end, it’s all about creating memories. So begins our journey.

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After grabbing Hunter Renfroe in the first round, the Padres continued their assumed strategy of aggressively pursuing hitting talent in the 2013 MLB Draft.

Dustin Peterson:

With their second pick of Day 1, the Padres selected Dustin Peterson – brother of 12th overall pick DJ Peterson – a high school shortstop out of Gilbert, Arizona. Peterson features a well-rounded skillset that projects him to have at least average physical tools across the board. He was always a known commodity but seemed to have carved his way into elite status later into his high school season.

Peterson’s simple swing should translate very well to professional ball as he features an extremely quiet lower half that lets his strong wrists whip the bat through the zone at an incredible rate. While Peterson has struggled with off-speed stuff to this point – like most players his age – his tools suggest a quick learning curve. Read More…