Happy Minor League Opening Day!
I thought I’d take this opportunity to comment on who’s starting where in the Padres organization.
Rather than typing out a huge long list of players, here are links to the players assigned to each of the Padres’ full-season affiliates for Opening Day.
There’s not a whole lot of rotation talent here. LeBlanc is good, Geer is okay, and Inman has some potential, but that’s about it. With Russell, Webb, Burke, and Worrell, there’s an experience relief corps ready to help the Padres out at a moment’s notice.
Of the position players, only Zawadzki, Durango, Ryan, and Cunningham project to have much of a shot at an everyday big league job down the line. They’re all Triple-A-caliber players, but Munson, Stewart, Baxter, Cooper, Stansberry, and Barfield are older guys with limited skillsets. I’d like to see a bit more upside here.
What a pitching staff! The team’s top pitching prospect, Simon Castro, is here, along with its two top relief prospects, Craig Italiano and Brandon Gomes. Wynn Pelzer, Mike DeMark, Evan Scribner, and Cory Luebke are solid prospects as well, not to mention Aaron Poreda.
The Padres decided to return Forsythe to Double-A as an everyday second baseman; with the glut of low-upside guys in Triple-A, I’d like to see him hit Portland fast. Forsythe’s vacating third base opens up the spot for Darnell, another top prospect. Weems is an underrated player who should be a big league utilityman in the Augie Ojeda mold, and Kulbacki and Carroll are solid outfield prospects.
I love that Belnome is being promoted aggressively. Just half a year after being a 28th round pick, he’s in the Cal League. Cody Decker, the other short-season standout, is getting a shot here as well. Jaff Decker, the Padres #1 prospect, should make quick work of the Cal League and get to Double-A quickly.
None of the pitchers really jump out on this staff. Once Dexter Carter comes up from Fort Wayne (where he’s ridiculously been kept), they’ll have a staff ace, but right now, none of these guys look like impact major leaguers down the line.
I mentioned Carter, who I still believe in. He needs to be in High-A, or even Double-A, now. Sullivan is a strong prospect as well, giving the TinCaps two potentially dominant pitchers.
With Rincon, Williams, and Liriano, as well as a probable midseason arrival of Donavan Tate, this team boasts the most exciting crop of position players of the four affiliates. Of course, they’re in the Midwest League, so don’t expect high numbers (although if you see them, that’s a very, very, very good sign, a la Jaff Decker last year).
I’m excited for the games to begin and the stats to accumulate.