I finally created a Twitter account earlier this month, if you’re into that sort of thing. 

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The 40-man roster crunch forced the Padres to make a decision last week: keep Reymond Fuentes on the 40-man roster and clear room by moving someone else allow him to be exposed (and likely taken) in the Rule 5 draft;* or trade him. The Padres chose option two, dealing the left-handed slap-hitting speedster to the Kansas City Royals for 23-year-old lefty reliever Kyle Bartsch. Fuentes’ departure leaves Casey Kelly as the last remaining piece of the late-2010 Adrian Gonzalez-to-Boston deal still in San Diego.

*Clarification: Fuentes was on the Padres 40-man at the time of the trade. The question boiled down to whether the Padres should have kept him on the 40-man or dealt him to clear room for someone else. The premise of the article remains the same. Thanks to reader Ryan Stall for the heads up. 

When he came over from Boston, Fuentes was clearly the third piece in the deal that included Kelly and Anthony Rizzo, but also hardly a throw-in. Taken in the first round of the 2009 draft out of Puerto Rico, his appeal came in the form of unrefined tools. After the 2009 season, Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus ranked Fuentes as the 10th-best prospect in Boston’s system, filling his scouting report with positive traits: explosive, fantastic bat speed, uses all fields, 70 running speed, and a Perfect World Projection as a .300 hitter with game-changing speed.

Fuentes’ skills took time to develop, as he hit just .270/.328/.377 in his first full season in Boston’s organization as a 19-year-old in Single-A. Upon moving into the Padres system, Fuentes didn’t build on the scouting pedigree, hitting just .275/.342/.369 with 44 walks and 117 strikeout in 573 plate appearances in the offense-happy Cal League. Fuentes’ development spiraled sharply downward in 2012, when he barely cracked a .600 OPS in his first shot at Double-A San Antonio. There were still positives signs: the base running and defense remained solid, for one, and his age (21 at the time) offered hope for a turnaround.

That turnaround came in a second tour of Double-A, where Fuentes finally realized how to convert baseball tools into baseball performance, slashing .316/.396/.441 while markedly improving his strikeout rate. He capped off 2013 with a 1.000-plus OPS in Triple-A Tucson, though that came in just 67 plate appearances. Last year was a mixed bag: Fuentes started at Triple-A El Paso, but a punch-less sub-Mendoza Line batting average earned him a demotion to Double-A. Back in San Antonio, Fuentes picked up right where he left off the previous year, hitting .324/.386/.453 in 194 plate appearances. He got the call back up to Triple-A in July and used a nine-game hitting streak to boost his Triple-A batting average to .277, at one point, before an injury in late July cut his season short.

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We’re now a week into September, which means that we’re a week into expanded MLB rosters, as teams may now promote any player on their 40 man roster to the active roster. The Padres are finished with their call ups, leaving them with 32 players on the active roster. That should be plenty of extra beef, right? You’d think, but it wasn’t.

On Saturday night against the Rockies, the Padres played 12 innings, using 7 relief pitchers after Joe Wieland’s return from Tommy John surgery lasted just 2.1 innings. Thankfully, it was performance and pitch count that got Wieland, not anything relating to injury. However, because of the short start, the number of pitchers used, and the number of pinch-hitters that the Padres were forced to use throughout the game, they ran out of position players. In the top of the 11th, with runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs and the pitcher’s spot coming up in the lineup, all 14 position players on the roster were either in the game or had already been used and removed, and the Padres were left with using Andrew Cashner, who lined out to center and end the scoring opportunity.

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In case you weren’t paying attention…

Always enjoy responsibly. Don’t read and drive.

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At the start of the off-season, Padres GM Josh Byrnes had a left-handed hitting outfielder as one of his top priorities. Whether that player would platoon or play everyday was to be determined. They ended up trading their most effective reliever to the Oakland A’s for outfielder Seth Smith, a left-handed corner outfielder who’s pretty damn good against right-handed pitching (career .279/.357/.487).

The addition of Smith was met with a lot of criticism, specifically on Twitter. Padres fans fucking love relievers. I don’t know why. Maybe because some of the best Padres teams have featured dominant relievers? Probably. Whatever the reason, the attachment to obscure players is puzzling. Not that I think Luke Gregerson is at all obscure.

Dammit, I’m getting distracted. Back to my point.

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Last month, Avenging Jack Murphy wrote about removing distractions and concentrating on the game at hand. It was very well thought out and informative.

This is not going to be anything close to well thought out. As far as informative, that is a matter of opinion.

Say hello to my stream of consciousness.

As the season winds down, and the Padres fight to stay out of last place in the NL West, I find myself paying less attention to Padres games. I sit down to watch them, even closing the laptop and putting the phone across the room like AJM wrote about, but I have a hard time remembering things like how runs scored or when pitching changes occurred.

Now, these are either early signs of Alzheimer’s, of my short-term memory being reduced to that of a goldfish, or the Padres have started to lose my attention to the pickup soccer games going on in the park behind my house.

Quite frankly, I’m hoping it’s one of the first two. Because I hate soccer.

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It’s been a crazy few weeks since both the MLB and MiLB seasons started. Due to unforeseen circumstances that would be extremely boring to retell here, the Padres Prospects Spring Training Notebook kept getting pushed back to the point where now it seems to make more sense just to roll it into an overall spring/early season notes piece. Below are notes and observations from both in-person looks while in Arizona and conversations had since the season began. Be forewarned, the Spring Notes are extremely raw in presentation, which we’ll call a tribute to the environment they’re taken from.

Read Spring and Early Season Padres Prospects Notes: Part 1

Burch Smith

Spring Notes: lighting quick arm, has touched 100* MPH in favorable conditions, quickly moving up internal boards as an organizational favorite; delivery shows a decent amount of deception and is capped off by low arm slot; employs a “drop and drive” style in delivery which is somewhat concerning for future control and currently causes him to pitch up in the zone; decent secondary offerings including a changeup with sink and a looping curveball. Read More…

Last weekend I journeyed to Peoria, Arizona for Spring Training. I watched workouts on the backfields of the Peoria Sports Complex and then watched games at  Surprise Stadium on Friday and then back to the PSC on Saturday. I also logged an obscene number of hours on a bar stool at the Moon Saloon where the wagering of proposition bets passed the time. This is an account of those events.

We sit in a bar in Yuma on a Thursday night. I slowly sip on a Coors Light while Bell Biv Devoe delivers reminders that New Edition spawned something that inexplicably generated money and entertained people. That’s good for people in 1990 but not me. It’s 2013 and I’m in Yuma.

In roughly 15 hours we (Marshall and I) will be in Peoria, Arizona to meet up with a few others from Padres Public. I look across the bar as I awkwardly add baseball apps to my phone and notice a guy drinking beer. He looks like Brady from Lob Shots. The similarities are uncanny and I want to snap a picture to tweet to Brady but I know such an action would be pure folly. You don’t take a picture of another dude sitting across the bar from you. This is Yuma.

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