Four years ago, I started a project out of, quite frankly, spite and disappointment.
I now feel a responsibility to maintain this thing I started.
Because the Padres Twittersphere is an ever-evolving entity. Players and people leave, sometimes even of their own accord. Some who have stayed have changed their Twitter usage to not be all that interesting of a follow anymore. Still others just seem to have given up the medium altogether.
Some do a bit of all of that, sailing off into the distance in silence, like a sailboat in the night.
So, here we are. The fourth iteration of my “Padres Must-Follow” Twitter list.
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.
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)
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.
It’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.
A Home Run Derby On an Aircraft Carrier? A Home Run Derby On an Aircraft Carrier.
The Lake Elsinore Storm today announced that the home run derby for the California/Carolina League All-Star Game in June would be part of the Midway Classic.
What is a “Midway Classic,” you ask? Think of it like the Monday before the MLB All-Star Game, with – like the MLB version – a home run derby, but on THE FLIGHT DECK OF A FREAKIN’ AIRCRAFT CARRIER!
This is all happening June 20th, the day before the California/Carolina League All-Star Game at the Diamond in Lake Elsinore.
Home plate for the competing hitters will be located approximately 250 feet from the bow of the USS Midway, and the hitters are expected to hit an estimated total of 150 balls into San Diego Bay.
I mean, I can’t think of anything better than this. Home runs are literally going to take flight.
MLB can have players try to hit ball on top of the Western Metal building all damn day for all I care.
The Lake Elsinore Storm announced today that the SDSU Aztecs and USD Toreros will play a baseball game at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore on Thursday, February 25th at 6:00pm.
“I am proud to have the Lake Elsinore Storm and their beautiful ballpark involved in the inaugural Tony Gwynn Week events. The spectacular job the Storm staff did hosting the 2015 NCAA Regionals makes this venue an immediate player in the world of college baseball.”
Jack Murray, Tony Gwynn Classic founder and director
The game will act as a tuneup game for the inaugural Tony Gwynn Classic — a tournament featuring SDSU, Bryant University, University of Kentucky, UC Santa Barbara, USD, University of Nebraska, Tulane University, and Arizona University — being held February 26-28 at both schools. The teams will be split into two four-team brackets and the winners will meet in the championship game on Sunday, February 28 at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Tickets for the Tony Gwynn Classic can be purchased at their website.
The Lake Elsinore Storm, the Padres High-A affiliate, released the logo for the 2016 California/Carolina League All-Star Game, which will be held at The Diamond of Lake Elsinore on June 21st.
The logo, which was designed in-house and prominently features the iconic “Storm Eyes,” draws inspiration from California culture while paying homage to the 75th year of the California League. – via Lake Elsinore Storm
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.
On this weeks podcast, we are joined by both old friends and new friends.
Now that the rosters have been set, John Conniff of Mad Friars returns to give the scoop on the Padres Minor League system. Bryant Webster of Woe, Doctor! fame makes his debut as the Padres & Pints Storm correspondent and interviews the Lake Elsinore Storm skipper Michael Collins. Lastly we chat with Tyler Zickel, the Assistant Director of Media Relations for the Lake Elsinore Storm, and get the scoop on a wide array of things for the upcoming 2015 season.
It’s a fun romp through the Minor Leagues! Join us!
PS-I was on some good drugs during all the interviews thanks to my knee surgery. So apologies if I sound off.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below or e-mail us.