Go ahead, get your autographs now. The Padres are being thrust into the spotlight. At least their farm system is. Keith Law of ESPN wrote a piece on Thursday in which he ranked the Padres farm system number one overall despite not having a single top-ten player in his eyes. Now, Wally Fish of Seedlings to Stars has published his list of top farm systems. Guess what? The Padres come out on top again.
So what’s it all mean? It means nothing without a good plan and proper implementation. The Padres are stacked for the future. They have a shot at making a surprise run this season, but expect many mainstream sites to be talking about the Padres come this time next season. 2013, 2014, and beyond look very promising. But it can all come crashing down if some of these prospects are rushed to the big leagues.
I’m not 100% bought in to the idea that Jed Hoyer brought Anthony Rizzo up too soon and that helped contribute to his decidedly terrible performance with the Major League club. While it’s possible, I’m of the belief that no matter when Rizzo was brought up, he would have struggled to adjust. However, minor league players who are brought up too soon are many times overwhelmed by the level of difficulty in the big leagues.
Josh Byrnes seems to have a solid foundation for competing in the future. With the Padres quickly moving from having a top-five farm system, to the best farm system in baseball, the team is now expected to compete in the very near future. That could be a lot of pressure for a small-market GM, but Byrnes is handling it well. With a proper plan, call-ups at the right moment, and continued restocking, the Padres have a chance to shed their title of perennial cellar-dwellers. However, if players are rushed and thrust into the spotlight before they are ready, the team could flop and all they’ve built toward could be ruined.
Obviously, the former seems more likely than the latter with the level of talent, but these are the scenarios that follow a team quickly getting national recognition for their prospects. Enjoy the love Padres. Just don’t blow it.