San Diego Padres: Year of development
With the trade deadline officially in the rear view mirror, let us take a look at the rest of this year, the year of development.
With the unofficial “embrace the tank” scenario not really going according to plan, the Padre front office must have mixed emotions about this season right about now.
On one hand, happy emotions because of development of players at all levels of the organization. But on the other hand, some sad emotions due to the lack of continued development for some throughout the organization.
Most of the latter are due to the injury history that seems to hit this team on an annual basis like a flu bug. I swear if you look up Tommy John surgery in the dictionary, it will have a photo of the swinging Friar as its unofficial mascot.
Although it has been more than just arm injuries to hit this franchise hard, starting with Alex Dickerson‘s back injury in spring training, there has been a trickle down effect. In fact, this injury effected the plans for the major league team from almost the beginning.
Then we must look at some of the lost development on the minor league level too. Most notably the loss of former Padre top prospect Anderson Espinoza, his loss being a real killer. Not only do they lose a year in his development this season, but more than likely all of next season as well.
There have been others, but I use Dickerson and Espinoza as the examples due to the fact that those have probably been the most notable at the major league and minor league levels .
Still, there is a positive side to all of this. Starting with the kids on the big boy team, if anyone truly believed this team would be just ten games under .500 on the second day of August, you would be lying. Myself included.
Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, and Manuel Margot have all proved they are major league players. So have players we might not have expected when the year began. Names like Dinelson Lamet, Carlos Asuaje, and Phil Maton just to name a few.
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Now it doesn’t mean there have not been bumps in the road or growing pains along the way. That was honestly expected. But we have also seen necessary adjustments when needed, which is extremely encouraging and exciting to see as a devoted fan.
This team has some swag to it. (For some of the older generation fans that means a pep in its step). This is a young hungry group that A.J. has assembled for us Friar faithful. Especially since the second half began.
If that gets you all giddy inside, look to the rejuvenated farm system. We have some straight ballers in the minor leagues.
Mackenzie Gore, Michel Baez, and Jose Galindo all have video game numbers. They look like men among boys, even though all three of them are some of the youngest players in their leagues.
That is just a very small glimpse of some of the pitching development in the system. When you add in players like Joey Lucchesi, Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, and Logan Allen all of whom have received promotions. And it is pretty darn awesome.
At the same time, you have to like the continued development that the players who are doing big things on the positional side are doing. Luis Urias, Fernando Tatis Jr, Franchy Cordero, and Austin Allen have all stood out for their respective teams.
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Position players of note who have received promotions include Josh Naylor, and previous top 30 prospect Javier Guerra. Who has looked better in AA than he did at high single A. What’s even more exciting is there are plenty of names I haven’t even mentioned.
All in all Padre fans have to feel excited not just for the rest of this years, “year of development” (at all levels in the organization), but for years to come. “In A.J. we trust” receives my vote for next years unofficial slogan.
By the year 2020 he will have definitely earned back the motto as Rock star G.M. He will just have earned it in the way we all had expected him to when he first arrived.
Next: Week #17 power rankings update
If you consider yourself a true Padre fan, you can’t help but be excited for this, “year of development” and it what the future of the organization has in store.