what's brewing on the padres farm system

Spring training is less than two weeks away. Man it feels good just to say that. Pitchers and catchers will report in a few days and it is exciting times for Padres fans as the first wave of young talent is hitting the shores of San Diego in the form of Hunter Renfore, Manny Margot, Carlos Asuaje and Austin Hedges. The next wave to follow most likely is the young pitchers that will start the season in Lake Elsinore. Anderson Espinoza, Cal Quantrill, Jacob Nix and Eric Lauer all should pass through the Storm’s rotation at some point next year. And one promising pitcher that has an outside chance of joining them is a seventeen year old left hander from Cuba, Adrian Morejon. Morejon, a 6’1” 195 pound youngster that would be in his senior year of high school if he pitched in the States, signed last summer for a Padres International bonus record of $11,000,000.

* Gentle reminder to all baseball dads to force your son to pitch southpaw.

Now, I am not advocating the Padres rush Morejon to high A ball. I am merely postulating that if things fall the way some scouts believe they could, you may see an 18 year old backfill one of the college draftees of the ’16 crop as at least one maybe two move up to AA ball during the season.

When the Padres first signed Morejon he was relatively unknown to most of the publications that closely follow prospects. He was the Fernando Tatis Junior of left handed pitchers, if you will. Ben Badler of Baseball America had this to say about him after the Padres sent him to their Dominican facility:

Since arriving in the Dominican Republic, Morejon has seen his fastball increase to sit in the low-90s and touch 95 mph, showing good feel for both his curveball and changeup, with a chance for both offspeed pitches to develop into above-average offerings. He technically throws two different types of changeups, one of which is a knuckle-change with late diving action, while the other is a more traditional changeup with sink and run. It’s a repertoire to profile as a starter with a smooth delivery and clean arm action.

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When looking back at the disaster that was the 2015 season for the San Diego Padres, there will be some goodness to be found as well. Why a disaster?  Maybe hearing Craig Elsten and John Gennaro’s podcast reviewing the season could influence the posit, however when winning winter seemed to be quite an accomplishment in AJ Preller’s young tenure, winning only 74 games and losing two managers in the process does require an evaluation. The quick and dirty eval would be bad. Probably very bad. And you should feel bad too.

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First post in the books, so how did I do? Well, Bryant wanted to fire me, as he can in no way condone the mass consumption of Budweiser American Ale. Actually he doesn’t condone pretty much any consumption of an AB-InBev product. And as I was sipping on a Not Your Father’s Root Beer I thought I probably shouldn’t support non-craft beer either. I fetched my wife her go to Stella Artois, made sure we had chilled down the Zeigenbock, and plotted a path to be more craft supportive. It’s going to be tough, but I’ll keep you posted.

I also thought I was a little to mean spirited in my post. I was trying to be funny, but may have come across with too much hate in my snark. I also want to apologize to Taylor Lindsey. I’ve never met his mom, nor seen her, but I am sure she is a lovely lady and her looks had no bearing on him remaining in the Padres Top 30 Prospects list. I read this week that he cleared waivers and was designated to the Padres AA team, the San Antonio Missions. He is no longer on the 40 man roster and has struggled the entire season. It reminds me how difficult this game is to master, even for those highly touted from the start of their career. It’s too easy to be a critic, and I really didn’t need to pile on.

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Hello Padres Public.

I’m Billy, and I recently contacted Bryant about joining up with him on Woe Doctor. Bryant and I have spent many hours discussing all things Padres over the years, and I think we could make good teammates for the Woe Doctor site. He responded favorably to me joining and thus my blogging career hopefully will just take off. I feel I’ll fit nicely into the Woe Doctor Blogosphere as I do keep an eye on minor league happenings and typically catch a few Mission games each summer. I’m also an avid beer enthusiast, as both a home brewer for the past 14 years, and a somewhat legendary consumer. Let me put it this way, I single handedly kept Bud Ale afloat for 6 months. Wait, what?

I also did a guest appearance last spring with the Vocal Minority, and that should give you an indication that I don’t take myself too seriously, and plan to be the same here. Sure, I love FanGraphs, but I’m no Davey Downer. I follow more along the lines that thinks there is a tremendous amount of information out there about this great game of baseball, and coming up with new ways to interpret the data can be beneficial to the fan as well as to baseball’s management. But I also like the eyeball test, as sometimes you just have to see what all the data is trying to tell you. I’m not a professionally trained scout, but my biceps are HUGE!

I see the Padres called up their best pitching prospect they have in Colin Rea. It was fun to watch his debut and to see him get a win, a hit and score his first run all in his debut if front of about 70 friends and family. That’s the good stuff in baseball stories right there. I think it’s time they call up Travis Jankowski too. He should be the everyday center fielder next season, so they might as well let him work the rest of this season there to get a head start. As to the rest of the minors, well Hunter Renfroe is finally above league average, so yay. The minors are pretty barren of talent, except maybe Ruddy Giron. That guy is going to be a star.  *checks FanGraphs* Well, maybe. Whatever.

As for observations for what is going on with our beloved Padres, well everybody needs to get on board with Operation Stand Pat. Because protected picks are valuable and the sole intention of keeping the band together was for the picks, man. It’s genius in its simplicity, and allows guys like DJ Wayne to continue to promote this awesome assembly of names to a name hungry fan base. Actually, I am going to enjoy having Justin Upton around to the fall, because I have a feeling that power stoke is going to warm up during the latter half of the season, and this could be fun to watch. It’s not often you get to watch a ball player make Petco seem small.

The apparent truth to this season is it is only a stepping stone to next season. AJ Preller could only rock so hard this last off season. He’s got some serious rocking to do this winter. It would be nice to see him creatively come up with an offer to keep JUpton around, though back loading contracts are difficult and often an albatross in their last few years. For example, take James Shields. No, really, somebody take him. Oh sure, his K% is up, but look at his BB%. And look at his xFIP. He is a walking regression machine. I mean I kind of dig having an Eric Show throwback ace, but I think even old Birch Boy could have kept the ball in the park at Petco a little bit. James might need regular adjustments on his neck from all the violent head snaps he makes following the trajectory off the cookies he’s serving.

Okay, I might have been a bit hyperbolic there, and James peripheral numbers look good enough that he could be a solid middle of the rotation guy, even if he is being paid to be closer to the top. Hopefully Tyson Ross, Shields, Andrew Cashner and maybe Rea with a bit of this year under his belt mean Preller can turn his attention to the infield.

What to do with that infield, though. I’m fairly certain Wil Myers will return to be the everyday first baseman. I suspect Yonder Alonso and his 88 mph “line drives” will be traded away for anything resembling a middle infielder of promise. Not major league ready, but maybe better than top 30 prospect Taylor Lindsey. I’m fairly sure Taylor’s mom is hot. It’s the only way I can figure he stays ranked. My biggest wish is Preller finally ends the nightmare that is Alexi Amarista at shortstop.

I’ve hated on Lil’ Lexi so hard for so long that I think I am out of hate. How this team can give him 400 PA per year for going on three seasons now is completely unfathomable. And yet, here we are. Yeah well here sucks, and I can only keep the faith that Preller will end my long nightmare and cast off a player that most likely will not make the roster of any other team once he is released. Okay, maybe I still have a little hate pent up. I’m working through it.

As creative as Preller was in assembling an outfield last year, I want to see him be even more creative with 3rd, short, and even 2nd if he feels the need this year. Full disclosure, I do admit to being a fan of Jedd Gyorko. And no, his contract is not expensive next season. He’ll barely cost half a win (open market) and has the power stroke not often found for the position. I’d like to see the Padres ride it out with him, but if he can be flipped into other valuable pieces, so be it. I think the more valuable trade piece is Cory Spangenberg. Someone will like his speed, but I think the Padres are a bit full at the super utility position.

That is my opener. I plan to be writing fairly regularly for the rest of this season and may help Dustin with the heavy lifting in the off-season. What a gift to Padres public he has been. Really, all the guys here are great, and I hope I am worthy of the adding to their excellence. I should have plenty of time to write as I have decided to become a football monk. I’ll spend my time I could have been watching football making beer. And I vow to never jump in bed with any other team.

You can find me on twitter @LybargerBrewery, or maybe at an Astros game, if any of you make it out to my home away from home of Houston.

Go Pads!

If you’ve been trawling the Internet for the past several days, you’ll find no shortage of blame for why the Padres are in this mess – the worst offense in baseball, 11 games under .500, 12.5 games back in the division, and currently sitting on the 5th overall pick in the 2015 draft. And if Padres fans have learned anything over the past several years, it’s that front office personnel come and go – but dysfunction remains the same. With that in mind, it’s easy to conclude that Sunday’s firing of Josh Byrnes was both inevitable and far from the root of their issues.

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Chase Headley with an RBI double. (Photo: Lake Elsinore Storm)

Chase Headley with an RBI double. (Photo: Lake Elsinore Storm)

Lost in the promotional shuffle of TNT Tuesdays (tallboys and tacos), Wackie Weenie & Wine Down Wednesdays (self-explanatory), and Thirsty Thursday ($1 beers), the Lake Elsinore Storm also happen to field a pretty good ball club. After defeating the Lancaster JetHawks on Monday, the Storm (20-12) now lead the California League’s South Division by two games and have won 10 of their last 11.

While the offense-crippling home park does no favors for the offense, the pitching staff have cozied up to their home digs quite nicely. What’s more, with the Padres shuffling the rehabbing Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, and Casey Kelly through town for the next several games, Lake Elsinore is the temporary destination spot for fans who want a more intimate ballpark experience with noted Major Leaguers. Read More…

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Call it a contest of dramatic contrasts. Book-ended between a defensive miscue to open the scoring and Diego Goris‘s 11th inning walk-off home run, the main story behind the Storm’s series finale against the Lancaster JetHawks this past Sunday was one of great starting pitching and highlight reel defense.  Read More…

Spring Training provides an opportunity for fans to view the lesser-seen pieces and dream upon the futures of players yet to take a single at-bat for the big league squad, but could dramatically alter the franchise’s trajectory. It’s escapism from the realities of an organization that has branded themselves as “snake-bit,” and that fans have seen as underwhelming. So, just hours from first pitch and the beginning of the 2014 season, here’s a look back at five days of (mostly) rampant optimism in the desert.

When parents plan their son or daughter’s first trip to Spring Training, they likely envision parcels of perfectly manicured grass. Sun-kissed mornings where millionaire ballplayers and long shots share a field and play a game with the same childlike wonder and enthusiasm that they hope, one day, their own child will possess. My son’s first Spring Training started a bit differently, as a complete stranger challenged me to a fight at Terminal 4 of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport. In the end, it’s all about creating memories. So begins our journey.

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Ever since Everth Cabrera was acquired by the Padres in 2009, he’d represented little more to me than a low-risk acquisition at a position of scarcity. Where immense athletic talent coupled with stunted development was essentially given an opportunity to compete in an environment with almost zero competition. A Rule 5 pick catapulted from A-ball to the big leagues at age 23 is story enough, but the subsequent details resemble a story that more closely resembles a mythic tall tale than an accurate, biographical account: