The Padres have played 24 games now. Is that enough to throw in the towel? Probably not, but it’s pretty close. A
team flirting with .500 after 24 games is certainly not in a position to chalk the season up to a loser, but for the Padres who are sitting at ten games under .500, it’s hard to imagine them catching fire. So that leaves us with the age old tradition of prospect watching.
No, prospect watching doesn’t require a large boat. It doesn’t require a mandatory half-hour instructional video on sea safety. It doesn’t even require binoculars or cameras. Prospect watching requires a losing season, a club in rebuilding mode, and access to minor league box scores. You’re a Padres fan, this isn’t new to you.
As a side note, it’s interesting to consider whether fans of perennially successfully team pay attention to their farm systems. Do they care about the upcoming talent, or is it just a welcome surprise when John No-Name shows up in September and helps the team into the play-offs? As Padres fans, we may never know, but if fans of those powerhouse teams don’t prospect watch, they’re missing out.
Many of the top players in the Padres system are nowhere near ready for a Major League call-up. But those that are will garner a little extra attention from fans as the big league club stumbles through May and June. Players like Yasmani Grandal, Matt Clark, Jedd Gyorko, Jaff Decker, Logan Forsythe, Casey Kelly, and others will give us something to root for during the dog days.
So pick your favorite prospect. Start following the box scores. If you’re in San Antonio or Tucson, go to the games (because really the only prospects with a shot at the Major League roster are at Double-A or Triple-A right now). If the Padres losses continue to pile up, prospects and hopes for the future will be all we have.
The once warm embrace fans had for veterans, for the players we’ve all grown to love, will quickly fade if the Padres can’t at least play respectable baseball. Fans will clamor for prospect to replace the under-performing players in the lineup.
It may not be time to throw in the towel, but it’s close. Prepare yourselves. After 30 games or 40 games or 50 games, you’ll be faced with a choice; continue watching and hoping or turn your attention to prospects. Relish in the call-ups. Root for individuals rather than the team. It’s all part of the process. As sad but necessary process that we’re all too familiar with.
Prospect Watch 2012 is just around the corner.