Holding On To Prospects Could Be Detrimental To Padres


Somewhere in January it was reported the Padres had a big trade on the table, where if Byrnes would have pulled the trigger, the trade would have “knocked our socks off” or “blown our minds” or caused excitement so extreme as to inflict physical damage. Well, being the masochists us Padre fans are, we are still here waiting unsatisfied for something to happen.

For awhile, I convinced myself to be content with the Padres holding on to their bullets. There is no need to blow up your entire farm for one player, especially if that player does not convert the team from pretender to contender. But then Keith Law’s Top 100 Prospects for 2013

“What? I’m only gone 50 games.” Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

was released and my mind completely flipped. Six Padres were listed, four are carry overs from 2012. Their 2012 ranking is in parenthesis.

36. Austin Hedges

51. Max Fried

54. Rymer Liriano (40)

60. Casey Kelly (32)

70. Jedd Gyorko (90)

88. Joe Ross (49)

Players ranked last year all went down a few spots except for Gyorko, who is arguably our most sought out prospect. But what do these rankings mean? What percentage of the guys ranked between #50 and #60 become major contributors on a big league team? Whats the probability all of them becoming everyday starters?

I have no answer to any of those questions, but I did come to a conclusion.

Since 2010, Kelly has gone from #18 on Law’s list down to #60 where he sits today. He got a few starts with the Padres, albeit prematurely, and looked OK. He was always projected to be, at best, a #2 starter in the rotation but more likely a #3 guy.

You know who else was ranked around #60 not too long ago? Simon Castro. I do not want to compare but I do want to point out the delicacy of these rankings. Castro was ranked #64 on Law’s list in 2011. We moved him to Chicago in the Quentin trade. Castro still has not been called up.

Jaff Decker was ranked #50 on MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo list of top 50 prospects  in 2010.  In 2011, he was #46 on Keith Law’s list. He has since been leapfrogged by our current set of highly touted prospects.

Unless you have a guy like Jason Heyward, Mike Trout, Stephen Strasburg, guys consistently listed #1 or #2 on EVERYONE’S list, they’re not a sure thing.

In the Peavy deal, we acquired the two best pitchers in the White Sox’s  system in Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard. Poreda was suppose to be a stud. He’s not even on our team anymore. Three of the four players we received in the trade are not on the team.

That is how delicate and hard gauging prospects is. A sure thing can always blow up in your face and all of a sudden you are left without an ace on the staff. Even the Latos trade took a knock with the Grandal suspension.

If Byrnes had a deal on the table set for Stanton or Upton, the trigger needed to be pulled. Both are proven players and are only going to get better. Holding on to prospects and rejecting trades for players ready to play now will leave the Padres selling us the team on potential. “Yeah we’re 35-64 but look at all the high-ceiling draft picks on the field.” Is that what you want to hear in 2 years?

Why do we have to be the team that sits on prospects when we have the bullets to be firing away and taking proven talent from teams? We’re still getting a feel for our new front office but Byrnes being gun-shy for a player of Stanton or Upton’s caliber leaves me wondering if banking on our highly ranked farm wont blow up in our face.