In case you’ve missed any posts in our ongoing Organizational Depth Chart series, here are the two previous positions:
Keep in mind that these lists are based on who is the most Major League ready. In the event of an injury to one or more players, who would be called up from inside the system to take over as the starter. As always, feel free to disagree and post it here. Feel free to agree and tell me how right I am, also. I’d prefer the second one.
#1 – Yonder Alonso (2013 – MLB: .281/.341/.368, 6 HR, 45 RBI – .996 Fld%, 8.90 Rf/G – 97 Games) Alonso was on pace to have 18 HR’s and 87 RBI last season prior to being hit in the hand by a pitch from Blue Jay’s Reliever Aaron Loup. Instead, he ended the season with the stat line that you see here and more questions about his lack of power at First Base. I was one of the people questioning his power. I’ll admit it. If he wasn’t 6’2″ and 250 lbs., there probably wouldn’t be nearly as many questions. That being said, 18 home runs would not bring as many questions your way. So, let’s hope for a fully healthy season for Yonder (and the rest of the Padres, for that matter). Jeff Sanders reports that Alonso is feeling very good and will start swinging a bat sometime in the near future. Alonso will be 27 at the start of the season and if you’re a fantasy baseball player, you know what that means. The “Age 27 Season” is a (probably fictitional) breakout season age. There may not be a breakout season/age correlation but, there does appear to be some truth to it being a lot of players’ peak season. The 2014 season may be the best that Yonder has to offer. Let’s hope he meets and surpasses the stats he missed out on last season.
#2 – Tommy Medica (2013 – MLB: .290/.380/.449, 3 HR, 10 RBI – 1.000 Fld%, 8.74 Rf/G – 19 Games) I know what you’re thinking, Kyle Blanks should be number two. Yes, he should. But, we had a 40 game rule. If he didn’t play 40 games at the position last season, then we can’t consider him for this position. Sorry but, rules make the world go ’round. If we didn’t have the 40 game rule, this list could turn into utter chaos. We could list position players who pitched one game in the minor leagues last season on our pitching depth chart. Would you really want that to happen? But, I digress.
The 25-year-old Medica spent most of last season at AA San Antonio putting up ridiculous numbers. After Yonder Alonso was basically shut down because of his hand, Medica was called up. He put up great numbers in his 19 games played. Then in the offseason he went to Peoria for the Arizona Fall League. While other Padres like Austin Hedges and Cory Spangenberg were ripping the ball, Medica seemed to completely lose the ability to hit. His line for the AFL was .121/.205/.152 with 0 HR and 0 RBI in 20 games. My guess is that the wear and tear of his first 162 game season (not counting the Fall League) was too much. After the numbers that he produced in San Diego at the end of last season, it would take a lot more than one bad 20 game streatch in Arizona to remove him from number two on this list. Let’s hope after a few months of down time, Tommy can get it together again, probably at AAA El Paso.
#3 – Cody Decker (2013 – AAA: .272/.349/.534, 17 HR, 64 RBI – .998 Fld%, 7.46 Rf/G – 113 Games) Decker was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2009 Draft out of UCLA. He has progressed as expected through the minor leagues and has put up excellent numbers at every stop. He has a career slash of .269/.353/.534 with 106 (or maybe it’s 109) HR and 350 RBI. Despite these stats, Decker still has never been added to the 40-man roster. No one really knows why. Last year, the Padres chose to call up Tommy Medica from AA instead of Decker from AAA. Apparently other teams agree with the Padres when it comes to Decker because no one picked him up in the Rule 5 Draft earlier this offseason. Whatever the issue is, I am personally very happy that he is where he is. I’m pumped to see him play here in El Paso next year. Not only is he an outstanding hitter with power, he also seems to be really entertaining (Here, Here, Here). Now that I know that Cody reads his scouting reports and reviews on various websites, let me say that I would love to show Cody around town when he gets to EP. Chico’s Taco’s on me!
(Editor’s Note 1-4-13: Cody Decker has received an invitation to Major League Spring Training. Maybe the Padres have realized that they have something good in Decker that they need a closer look at. Perhaps they are worried that Medica’s struggles could be long-term. Maybe we won’t be seeing Decker in El Paso after all. That’s fine with me and I’m sure it’s fine with him!)
#4 – Robert Kral (2013 - Hi-A: .286/.426/.528, 13 HR, 45 RBI – .996 Fld%, 8.50 Rf/G – 32 Games) OK, I know what you’re thinking. I just said that a player would have to have 40 games at a position to qualify but, hey, rules were made to be broken, right? If you add in Kral’s 5 games at 1B in AA, you are only three short of the qualifying number. Kral didn’t make it onto the Catcher list even though it is his primary position, due to his defensive stats. He is better at 1B so, that’s where I put him. Who knows? With the Padres trading every First Baseman possible, Kral may be called upon to make a permanent switch. If he keeps hitting like he did at Hi-A and not like he did during his call-up to AA, the Padres will need to keep his bat in the lineup. Just like Cody Decker, he seems like a really good guy as well. It’s nice to have a lot of high character guys in the organization.
#5 – A.J. Kirby-Jones (2013 – AA: .238/.306/.387, 5 HR, 22 RBI – .989 Fld%, 7.74 Rf/G – 58 Games) Like I said at #4, the Padres have been getting rid of First Basemen like they had the plague. That made it pretty hard to find a real solid number 5 for my list. Prior to coming to the Padres from the A’s along with Tyson Ross, Kirby-Jones had hit 48 home runs in his three seasons of minor league ball. This year he had 13 combined between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio. His batting average has always been in the .250 range. Perhaps as he develops a little more patience at the plate, his average will creep up a little. Statistically speaking, he could stand to work on his defense as well. His power at First Base would be a nice addition for the Padres if four other players were to be abducted by aliens along with every Free Agent First Baseman but, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. He needs a little more seasoning in the Minors. Hopefully he can pull it all together in a full season in San Antonio.
Do you disagree with any of the rankings? Do you think I should have broken the rules a little earlier and added Kyle Blanks to the list? Let me have it! Stay tuned for the continuing series of the Padres Organizational Depth Chart.