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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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padrestwitterIt’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.
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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.

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Rick and Chris debate the merits of juices vs beer, talk about the San Diego Padres front office comings and goings over the years, finally solve the mystery of the location of “Tri Cities”, and try to think of things to say about Eric Stults for (hopefully) the last time.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below or e-mail us.

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Well, one of them.

Last night during the Padres defeat of the Phillies the news came out that the Eugene Emeralds had agreed to a new player development agreement with the Chicago Cubs, ending their 14-year relationship with the Friars.

So, where would the new Padres affiliate play in the Northwest League next season?  The options were either Boise, the Cubs’ old affiliate, or Pasco, WA (aka Tri-Cities), formerly affiliated with the Colorado Rockies.

Then…

So that left just one possibility:  the Tri-Cities Dust Devils.  Unless the Padres were looking at a team in the New York-Penn League.  Which is doubtful, to say the least.

All of this followed the announcement earlier this week that the Padres had agreed to a 2-year extensions with the Fort Wayne TinCaps as the Low Single-A affiliate and the San Antonio Missions as the Double-A affiliate.

Today, the Padres announced that Tri-Cities would be their Short Season Single-A home and that the Lake Elsinore Storm had also agreed to a 2-year extension to remain the High Single-A affiliate.

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