Seven Padres Prospects Headed to the AFL

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Yesterday the rosters for the Arizona Fall League were revealed. Each year every team sends a group of players to one of six teams to make up the rosters for the AFL. This year the Padres will send their prospects to the Peoria Javelins. The players going are Travis Jankowski, Ryan Butler, Michael Dimock, Elliot Morris, Eric Yardley, Fernando Perez and Gabriel Quintana. The team will be managed by Rod Barajas who was the manager of the Padres’ AA affiliate the San Antonio Missions.

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Of the group of guys going Jankowski, Butler, Perez and Morris are ranked part of the team’s top 30 prospects by MLB.com ranking fifth, eleventh, fifteenth and twenty-eighth respectively.  While Dimock, Yardley and Quintana aren’t currently on the list, they’re clearly looked at as guys who could have a future in the big leagues. Getting sent to the AFL shows that the Padres believe that this group of seven players are worth getting some extra playing time against the highest level of minor league competition.

Jankowski is the most well known of the group. He was just called up to the major league team after Will Venable was traded and has played in eleven games for the Padres already. He’s an outfielder with tremendous speed and is also a terrific fielder. His bat has been what’s held him back thus far in his career, but this season it’s come around. In 97 games between AA and AAA this year he’s hit .335/.413/.425 with 32 stolen bases. He has just 1 home run and 25 RBI, but at the top of the order getting on base is more important to him than driving in runs.

Butler, Dimock, Morris and Yardley are all right handed pitchers. Currently Butler is the biggest name in that group, and that’s in large part due to his fastball. He’s hit 99 MPH as a starter and 101 out of the bullpen. He’s spent this past year as a starter, but his lack of secondary pitches is a concern which could ultimately force him to move to the bullpen full time.

Morris is the next best arm of the bunch. He came over to the Padres from the Angels in the Huston Street trade. He, like Butler, relies heavily on his fastball, but he does have a slider that has been effective on occasion. Its lackluster movement and his lack of control might end up hurting him.

Dimock was acquired from the Astros last year in exchange for minor league RHP Miguel Severino. Dimock has strictly been a reliever in his professional career. This past season he’s really stood out. In 57 innings between AA and AAA he’s posted an ERA of 2.04 with a WHIP of .942. He was also averaging over a strikeout per inning while walking fewer than a batter per 9 innings. He’s the most likely to spend 2016 in the majors of this group of pitchers.

Yardley signed with the Padres as an undrafted free agent out of the Pecos League in 2013. While he doesn’t strike out a ton of guys, while walking his fair share, he’s still found a way to find success since signing with the Padres posting a sub 3.00 ERA over his three minor league seasons.

Perez is an infielder who has been known as a bat first guy. This year wasn’t too kind to him as he hit just .219/.284/.351 in 107 games at high-A. He’s primairly played second base, but there are concerns about his quickness. That may force him to third, but his arm may not be strong enough to play there regularly. He played some first last year, but he only appeared in one game there this year, so it appears they’ve scrapped that idea. Hopefully Perez will use these extra games to prove that he can still hit.

Quintana is a power hitting third baseman. So far in six years with the Padres the 22 year old has hit every level. He’s complied a slash line of .263/.307/.416 in his minor league career. He was just called up to AA and he’ll use these final couple weeks as well as his time in the AFL to prove he belongs in the upper minors.

Next: Casey Kelly on the Comeback Trail

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