what's brewing on the padres farm system

It’s Prospect Week here at Padres Public, so I’ve decided to pop my head out of my apocalypse bunker, at great risk to my own personal safety, to discuss a matter of great import: whether or not Hunter Renfroe is actually going to be good. This message may self-destruct at any moment, so please read quickly but carefully.

Last week, ESPN Baseball Senior Writer, prospect analyst, and Top Chef enthusiast Keith Law released his top 100 prospects for 2017 ($). There was a bit of controversy surrounding Law’s list, as he ranked newly acquired White Sox uber-prospect Yoan Moncada, seen by many/most as a top 5 prospect, #17 on his list, noting Moncada’s ridiculous upside but worrying about his low contact rate. Responding to a reader question about Moncada’s strikeout rate, Law noted that “it’s not just the number, but how a player ends up there,” a suggestion that Moncada’s strikeouts are rooted in a deeper, more troubling problem, such as pitch recognition and/or plate discipline, or problems with his swing mechanics.

Over the weekend, MLB.com released their own top 100 prospect ranking for 2017, and on that list Moncada was 2nd only to his former organization’s top prospect, Andrew Benintendi, with no mention of any problems with his contact rate, and actually noting his increased patience in the 2nd half of the season as one of his many positives.

What makes this relevant to you, Padres fans, is that a very similar difference of opinion seems to have been a major reason in the range of rankings in Padres OF prospect Hunter Renfroe this off-season. Renfroe ranked 42nd on MLB.com’s list while, for the 2nd year in a row, he did not rank on Law’s top 100 list.

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It’s everybody’s favorite time of year – Hall of Fame voting season! Every year, we gnash our teeth and argue in circles over mostly stupid things. The most recent trend seems to center on excluding players who played during the “Steroid Era” (but not those who we perceive as being clean, because you can just tell…you know?), which completely avoids context and usually devolves into general shouting at clouds. And then there’s Curt Schilling, who deserves to be in, but is an all-around awful/racist/xenophobic human being…which was probably enough to keep him out (for now), but several writers have finally decided he was bad because he posted a picture a shirt implying journalists should be hanged. Which is awful, but that was the tipping point? Anyway, enough garbage – we’re here to talk about Trevor Hoffman’s candidacy.

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In case you weren’t paying attention, a General Manager was suspended 30 days by Major League Baseball, and it wasn’t Dave Stewart for taking over an on-the-rise Diamondbacks team and running them into the ground. Ineptness is generally fine with Major League Baseball. Were it not, our beloved Padres would have been forced to fold a long time ago.

No, it was our own AJ Preller, suspended for the 2nd time as an employee of a baseball franchise, this time for failing to disclose required medical information when trading all-star starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox for top prospect Anderson Espinoza.

It’s a really crazy situation. According to multiple reports, Preller, whose suspension begins today, pissed off just about everyone he made a trade with this year. It went so far that the Padres had to take back Colin Rea from the Marlins after he partially tore his UCL ligament in his first start after being traded, with the Padres having to send intriguing prospect Luis Castillo back to the Marlins to make things right.

The White Sox were also upset with the medical information disclosed during the James Shields trade, but despite the tire fire he’s been in their uniform, they sought no compensation and did not formally complain to the league about the trade. They’re stuck with him, but the Padres are paying most of his salary already, and Erik Johnson, the guy they sent back in the trade, almost instantly evaporated into the ether never to be seen again. Maybe he’s pitching for the Padres in the Upside Down.

It seems only the Red Sox tattled to the league like the whiny babies they are, which led to the investigation into the Padres record-keeping, which led to the 30 day suspension, which has now led to a variety of hot takes from Padres fans and from around the baseball world.

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Back on the deceased, original version of The Vocal Minority, I posted in response to the rumors that the Padres finally had settled on (or were soon to settle on) new ownership. The idea was, after the disaster that had been the Moores divorce/Jeff Moorad/post-divorce Moores debacle(s), that Padres ownership needed to make a clean break and start fresh. It’s been 4 years and 10 days since “The Suggestion Box” went up, and #FireMikeDee day seems like a good time to take a look and see how the O’Malley/Seidler/Fowler group and their CEO Mike Dee have done with what I consider to be the most important parts.

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One of the great things about Twitter, in my experience, is that it works as a sounding board for opinions and thoughts that come through your mind that you aren’t 100% sure about. Something happens, you have a reaction, you ponder your reaction on Twitter, and the community can help you decide whether your reaction is valid or not. As podcaster Alison Rosen might say, Twitter is great place to ask is it just me or everyone?

Some might say that’s one of the problems with Twitter, that it gives validity to every half-baked thought or theory that comes across a weirdo sitting on his couch watching Naked And Afraid, but hey, you gotta take the good with the bad, am I right?

Last week, the Padres put in a waiver claim on out-of-options catcher Hector Sanchez, who had been waived by the White Sox, who had signed him in the off-season after he had been non-tendered by the Giants at the end of last season. By claiming Sanchez, the Padres, who had two seemingly healthy better catching options already on the active roster, were either forced to move one of those catchers to make room for Sanchez, or carry 3 catchers for at least a short time. Read More…

As the Padres start the 2016 season with three rule 5 draftees on the opening day roster, a lower payroll than 2015, and a player who was acquired to be the backup center-fielder currently being employed as the starting left-fielder, forgive me as my thoughts wander to what will come later this summer, the June amateur draft and the beginning of the new international signing period on July 2nd. With these two events, the Padres have the ability to restock their farm system with considerable talent, talent that is greatly needed to secure the future of the franchise.

Thankfully, to fuel my desire to look forward, Major League Baseball released the official draft order, total team-by-team draft bonus pool, individual draft position bonus slot values, and the team-by-team international bonus pool figures Tuesday morning, the day after the Padres suffered the worst opening day shutout defeat in MLB history. Read More…

Last week, Padres Public’s resident workaholic Dustin, posted 16 Ridiculously Specific Predictions For Every Padres Position Player. I, being someone no one would call a workaholic, have but one sad prediction for but one Padres position player. When spring training concludes and the season begins, Padres utility man Alexi Amarista will make the Padres 25 man roster.

There’s been a lot of chatter this spring that the Padres may finally be able to rid themselves of La Cucarista, the diminutive infielder acquired from the Angels in the Ernesto Frieri trade of 2012. The littlest ninja has been stuck on the roster like gum on the under side of a school desk for the nearly 4 years since, despite having been the definition of a replacement level player during his time with the team.

Yes, non-roster invitee Jemile Weeks has had an amazing spring and has seen time at SS. Yes, Amarista has been terrible this spring after coming off his worst season yet, in which he posted a good-for-a-pitcher 49 wRC+. Yes, the Padres have brought in other options to create a competition that could have potentially ended Amarista’s time with the club. However, any rumors or suggestions that the Padres will either cut Amarista or trade him (for what?) are nothing more than wishful thinking. Read More…

Let me start by talking a little bit about where I come from. I grew up in a small house built in the 1950’s (which means no AC or insulation) in southwest Poway, in one of the neighborhoods off of Pomerado Road that’s an easy walk to the elementary school, the middle school, and the 7/11 in-between. People often think of Poway as that place in North County with horse trails where the athletes live, but this part of town is where people go to get into a decent school district without paying too much of a premium. That’s why we moved there when I was 5, at least.

My dad (who I love very much) has a big personality. He loves to chat, can talk your ear off for hours on end, and he’s very well-liked, but growing up with his personality in such a small space, I always felt like I had a hard time expressing myself. Add in a bit of a speech impediment, an older brother (who I love very much) who had a tendency to not realize how loud he was speaking, and a younger sister (who I love very much) with a flair for the dramatic, and I ended up with a personality much more like my mother’s (who I love very much): soft-spoken and often choosing not to share my thoughts, even though I definitely had them.

When I spoke, and when I speak still, I tend to gravitate toward one-liners, whether it’s in a joke or, equally as likely, a passive-aggressive way of expressing my dissenting opinion or grievance disguised as a joke. Before I learned the art of essay writing in high school, these quick jabs were my main outlet, my way of expressing myself and letting people know that I was actually there in the room too, not just a sweaty ball of adolescent hormones stuck to the furniture.

To this day, I have a deep-seated love and appreciation for a quality passive-aggressive one-liner. One of the all-time greats is “is this it?” Those three tiny words, thrown like a jab, spoken with no angst of voice, just a hint of confusion, and a dash of deflation, hit their target like a hay-maker. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s a true knock-out punch when perfectly placed.

So today I say to my beloved San Diego Padres: is this it?

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The natives have become quite restless.

As the 2015 off-season enters the 2nd half of it’s 2nd month, while it has seemed like nearly every major transaction of this winter hot stove season has involved one of the other teams in the NL West, the Padres have basically the same holes with which they entered the off-season. They’ve made some moves, yes, but because those have been moves meant to add depth, clear payroll, and rebuild the team’s depleted farm system, there has been little done to add to the major league roster for 2016. After last off-season, everyone is waiting for the sequel to start.

The phrase of the year appears to be “contend and rebuild.” The Padres, wary of losing revenue in the short-term for what could be a better chance at success in the long-term, are unwilling as an ownership group to commit to a complete tear down and rebuild, such as what we’ve seen recently from the Astros and the Cubs. The club’s majority/minority owner Peter Seidler, by way of the Union-Tribune’s Dennis Lin this past summer, and brought back to the forefront by Chris from Padres Public’s own The Sacrifice Bunt just last week, is talking about “competing year after year after year.” Whether you fear or hope for a complete rebuild, this is not ownership’s vision for the franchise.

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This afternoon, after the trade deadline passed with the Padres making just one small move, trading OF Abraham Almonte to Cleveland for LHP Marc Rzepczynski, Padres GM AJ Preller was not made immediately available to the media, let alone me, not the media whatsoever. However, I decided to interview him anyway.

The following is the full transcript of the interview that did not occur this afternoon between myself and AJ Preller. I repeat, these are not quotes from AJ Preller.

VM Nate: AJ, this is Nathan from The Vocal Minority, what’s going on man?

AJ Preller: Not much, dude.

VMN: First, I have a personal question: Do you know Kimble?

AJP: Whoa! EQ Kimble, the insurance man?

VMN: good enough! Nice to speak with you, brother. Fullerton Chapter, Delta class, fall 2000.

AJP: Nice. Fullerton? That’s Costner’s chapter right?

VMN: Yeah, never got to meet him though. Anyway, so the trade deadline just finished up, and you guys were the talk of baseball leading up to it. Then, as the deadline passed, you guys didn’t really do anything. What happened? Read More…