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.
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).
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.
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.
Jason Klein from San Diego design firm Brandiose joins Rick and Chris as they chat about all design and minor league baseball, or as Jason calls it, “story telling.”
Jason shares some crazy ideas implemented by Brandiose previously never seen in minor league baseball, as well as some plans deemed too overboard even for the minors. The guys also discuss the current direction of the San Diego Padres brand, as well as details about Brandiose’s working process with teams from beginning to end. You can follow Brandiose on Twitter.
If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below or e-mail us.
I’ve noticed a lot of links to “Top XX Twitter Accounts Padres Fans Should Be Following” popping up here and there. I think all of these lists I’ve seen have been severely lacking. They seem to leave out some of the major accounts associated with the Padres, some of the best accounts in terms of interaction, and some accounts that are just good follows. Quite frankly, I’m not sure who would want to follow some of the accounts suggested by the lists I’ve seen.
I’m including myself in that. I’m still amazed that I have managed to get
900+ 1000+ followers. You people must be bored out of your skulls.
So, I decided to compile my own list. The difference between my list and all these other ones that have popped up: I didn’t limit how many. You should be following most of them — if not all — if you consider yourself a fan and want to get all the news, information, and opinions that are out there.
I follow just about all of these people/accounts because they put forth some great, honest information and/or opinions on the Padres. From the Padres front office to the lowly fan in the cheap seats and from San Diego, CA to Seattle, WA to Washington, D.C. and everywhere in between.
We caught up with John Conniff of MadFriars.com and FoxSports San Diego after his recent trip to AA San Antonio. The Missions have had some of the top prospects in the Padres’ organization this year such as Matt Wisler, Austin Hedges, Jace Peterson, Rymer Liriano and Corey Spangenberg. We’ll catch up with John after each one of his stops at the Padres Minor League system and get the latest scoop from an insiders point of view.
A big thanks goes out to John for taking the time to chat with us. Make sure you also check out his Players of the Month article today.