Including us here at Padres Public, Padres fans do a whole lot of feeling sorry for ourselves. Being that the Padres are 520 games under .500 for their existence, we’ve been through ownership debacles with Tom Werner and John Moores/Jeff Moorad, and a decade of drafting and development the Kevin Towers Way, it’s fairly justified. However, I’m going to encourage you to drop it when it comes to one area: young players and prospects.
On Friday, Jason Cole of Lonestar Dugout posted a video of Padres catching prospect Austin Hedges throwing out a runner at second, with a 1.83 POP time. Hedges’ POP has been well-documented, ranging from 1.75 in drills to 1.90 with regularity in games as a high schooler, but it’s different actually seeing it. And seeing the confidence in Hedges as he jogs off of the field before the ball even reaches second base. Amongst Padres fans, that video quickly went viral. A swoonfest of massive proportions occurred. If you missed it, you can view the video here. Towel off, give yourself a few minutes to compose yourself, and come back here. We’ll wait.
Swooning ensued…but so did the usual refrain: “Who cares? The Padres will just trade him anyway.” Stop the boat. We’re starting this with prospects now?
My stance on the Padres’ perception problem is well-documented, so I get where this mentality is coming from. And, like I’ve said, its up to the Padres to change it. That said, if you consider yourself a Padres fan, there’s no reason not to get excited about players like Hedges, Liriano, Fried. Spang all you want, and check out Wisler, too. Read about Padres Prospects’ Top 25. It’s an exciting time in the Padres system, where there’s a lot of depth and some exciting talent in the lower levels of the minor leagues. Our system should be churning out talent on a regular basis, replacing players who move on (and yes, every team has players move on). It’s a new phenomenon for the Padres, one I hope to continue seeing.
With the big league club, Chase Headley has blossomed into a star, and Jedd Gyorko is on the opening day roster. These are players worth rooting for, even if you think the front office isn’t. If you feel that you can’t make the emotional investment in players because of the club won’t commit, I put it to you that apathy is no better enabler for a club with a commitment problem.
This isn’t an attempt to sugarcoat things; the onus is on the Padres to change the perception fans have about ownership making a commitment to fans and players. What I’m saying is that issues with the front office shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying prospects and young players within the system and on the Major League roster. I know, because this is where I’m at today. Maybe it’s the new parent in me, but it’s exciting to watch these players mature. And maybe, along the way, this club will also develop into a big leaguer.
Join us, and swoon away.