Padres News: Padres Prospects that are Almost Ready


With all the hype about the additions of James Shields, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Derek Norris and Wil Myers, I thought it would be nice to take a look at the prospects in the Padres farm system. These prospects are nearly ready to contribute for the San Diego Padres. Some have major league experience already, while others have yet to taste the spread of a major league clubhouse.

Let us start with Austin Hedges, the Catching phenom who is already capable of receiving in the major leagues, but his bat just isn’t quite there yet. His .225 batting average and .268 on base percentage in AA San Antonio last season would attest to that.

I personally am getting tired of the Philadelphia Phillies dragging their feet about a potential deal for Cole Hamels. They are in need of a catcher of the future, and Hedges easily fits that mold. In the same fashion that Yadier Molina was considered a defense only catcher, the hitting will come. I mean we are talking about a gold glove caliber defensive catcher. Ivan Rodriguez style catchers on defense can be game changers.

At 22 years of age, to say he will never hit is an absolute joke. Hedges has a career minor league average of .252 in 1,145 at bats, he has also shown some pop with 21 home runs. In my eyes, if Hedges shows a little more plate discipline he could be up with the Padres this summer. Defense like his, is exactly what this Padre team needs to further fulfill their playoff destiny. A late inning replacement for  Norris could be in his future. Perhaps even this summer.

Rymer Liriano is major league ready now, and at the age of 23 he has no spot on the Padres roster. The former Padres #1 prospect has all the tools to be an all star at the Major League level. With Kemp, Upton, and Myers patrolling the outfield, Liriano is ticketed for AAA El Paso. He should be there, as he needs the at bats to further cultivate his talents. He has the speed and defensive abilities to contribute, but will the Padres let him sit on their major league bench? I think not. 

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Matt Wisler is another top Padres prospect who has been rumored in a potential deal for Cole Hamels. He is widely viewed as a solid mid rotation type pitcher in the majors. He is a traditional type pitcher with a fastball, slider, curveball and change up. He owns a 25-15 career minor league record with a 3.40 era and a 1.175 whip.

Matt Wisler will be given every opportunity to compete this spring for a rotation spot, however the writing is on the wall. The San Diego Padres staff is so deep, that he too is ticketed for AAA  for more seasoning. Towards the end of the year, or if injuries hit, Wisler could easily find himself on the mound at Petco Park. He will not be rushed to the major leagues though, when he is ready the Padres will know.

Casey Kelly, the former Boston Red Sox top prospect is still in the Padres system. He has yet to live up to the hype, but at the age of 25 is still young enough to have a bright future ahead of him. Tommy John surgery in 2013 derailed him for a couple of seasons, but he should be nearly at full strength once the team breaks camp in Peoria.

Kelly has an outstanding sinking fastball, but needs to be more consistent with his motion. He cannot continue to fall behind hitters if he wants to succeed in the Major Leagues. . A long shot to make the team out of spring, he could possibly fill the roll of long reliever. Ultimately he needs to show he is healthy and also must perform during Cactus League games this spring.

Taylor Lindsey was acquired with RJ Alvarez in the Huston Street trade from the Los Angeles Angels. Lindsey is a line drive left-handed hitter who should eventually take his sweet swing to the Major Leagues. He is 6 foot and 195 pounds and considered an average fielding second baseman. He is mostly know for his bat.

He was once considered one of the Angels most prized prospects but regressed a little last season. Still a left handed hitting second baseman that makes good contact is a valuable commodity. He could sneak up on the Padres this season and could eventually force Jedd Gyorko to move to third base. All though such a scenario is unlikely during this upcoming season. Lindsey needs to produce at the AAA level first.

Hunter Renfroe is another top level prospect in the system, all though he probably will not take a major roll in this upcoming season. Hitting .267 with a .342 on base percentage and 21 home runs and 75 rbi’s in 502 at bats (combined between A ball and AA ball).

Renfroe is blocked by the trio that is presently in the major leagues, add the fact that Rymer Liriano is also above him on the totem pole. Renfroe will contribute soon in the major leagues, its just a matter of time. He at 23 has already moved up fairly quickly since being drafted in the first round (13th overall) in 2013. Watch Renfroe’s numbers in the minors this season, and if he hits well, the Padres might just have to find a spot for him. He has that kind of bat.

Cody Decker is an interesting addition to this list. Decker has hit well at almost every level, but yet is not mentioned ever in the Padres prospect list. At the age of 28 and with 133 career minor league home runs, he should be given a shot eventually. The UCLA product just continues to be an oversight.

He has tremendous flexibility playing the outfield, third base, first base and catcher in his minor league seasons. He even pitched one inning this season for the El Paso Chihuahuas. Decker totaled 27 home runs last season at AAA El Paso to go with a .261 batting average. The right handed stocky hitter is probably not going to get a shot at cracking the major league roster this summer. Perhaps a September call up will be in order for this long time minor leaguer. He really should be given a shot, his personality would help loosen a tense Major League clubhouse.

Lastly on our prospects list is Cory Spangenberg, who has already shown Padres fans what he is capable of doing. Spangenberg brings a lot of versatility and speed to the Padres. Speed is something the San Diego Padres could easily use more of. Unfortunately he is blocked by super sub Alexi Amarista for the roll.

As the current roster sits, Spangenberg would most surely be left off. He will probably start the season in AAA but will be one of the first call ups if injuries hit in the middle infield. He did hit .290 in 62 at bats for the Padres in 2014, but that 2014 team has no where near the star power that the Padres presently have. This season will be one to remember, and it will take a total team effort to succeed. One or two from the list might just be the key in a memorable season.

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