2014 San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects


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The Padres played their best baseball in May and June, going 30-26 and pulling to within two games of the National League West leaders on June 20. From that point, however, a slow slide to irrelevance, a second straight 86-loss season and a fifth losing year out of the last six left the organization with more questions than answers.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Austin Hedges, c
2. Matt Wisler, rhp
3. Max Fried, lhp
4. Hunter Renfroe, of
5. Casey Kelly, rhp
6. Rymer Liriano, of
7. Jace Peterson, ss
8. Burch Smith, rhp
9. Keyvius Sampson, rhp
10. Joe Ross, rhp
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Jace Peterson
Best Power Hitter Hunter Renfroe
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jace Peterson
Fastest Baserunner Mallex Smith
Best Athlete Jace Peterson
Best Fastball Matt Wisler
Best Curveball Max Fried
Best Slider Leonel Campos
Best Changeup Zach Eflin
Best Control Matt Wisler
Best Defensive Catcher Austin Hedges
Best Defensive Infielder Jace Peterson
Best Infield Arm Carlos Belen
Best Defensive Outfielder Rico Noel
Best Outfield Arm Yeison Asencio
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Austin Hedges, c (21) Double-A
2. Matt Wisler, rhp (21) Double-A
3. Max Fried, lhp (20) Low Class A
4. Jedd Gyorko, 2b (25) Majors
5. Yasmani Grandal, c (25) Majors
6. Hunter Renfroe, of (22) Low Class A
7. Casey Kelly, rhp (24) Majors
8. Rymer Liriano, of (22) Double-A
9. Jace Peterson, ss (23) High Class A
10. Burch Smith, rhp (23) Majors
11. Robbie Erlin, lhp (23) Majors
12. Keyvius Sampson, rhp (23) Triple-A
13. Joe Ross, rhp (20) Low Class A
14. Cory Spangenberg, 2b (23) Double-A
15. Joe Wieland, rhp (24) Majors
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Josh Barfield, 2b Out of baseball
2005 Josh Barfield, 2b Out of baseball
2006 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Tigers
2007 Cedric Hunter, of Indians
2008 Chase Headley, 3b Padres
2009 Kyle Blanks, 1b Padres
2010 Donavan Tate, of Padres
2011 Casey Kelly, rhp Padres
2012 Anthony Rizzo, 1b Cubs
2013 Casey Kelly, rhp Padres
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Matt Bush, ss Out of baseball
2005 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Tigers
2006 Matt Antonelli, 3b Indians
2007 Nick Schmidt, lhp Rockies
2008 Allan Dykstra, 1b Mets
2009 Donavan Tate, of Padres
2010 *Karsten Whitson, rhp U. of Florida
2011 Cory Spangenberg, 2b Padres
2012 Max Fried, lhp Padres
2013 Hunter Renfroe, of Padres
*Did not sign
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Donavan Tate, 2009 $6,250,000
Matt Bush, 2004 $3,150,000
Austin Hedges, 2011 $3,000,000
Max Fried, 2012 $3,000,000
Joe Ross, 2011 $2,750,000
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Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

What if three-fifths of the projected rotation—lefthander Cory Luebke and righties Casey Kelly and Joe Wieland—hadn’t been sidelined all season while recovering from Tommy John surgery? The loss of Kelly in spring training hurt most, as he’d pitched well enough when healthy to earn a 2012 September callup and enter 2013 as the system’s top prospect.

What if sophomore first baseman Yonder Alonso, center fielder Cameron Maybin and left fielder Carlos Quentin had not been hobbled by injuries?

What if the season had not been bookended by 50-game suspensions to starting catcher Yasmani Grandal and starting shortstop Everth Cabrera? Both received their penalties for their involvement with the Biogenesis clinic, which supplied performance-enhancers to at least 17 players.
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Grandal returned to action in late May and hit .266/.402/.422 in 81 plate appearances in June before a gruesome collision at home plate on July 6 knocked him out for the season. He had reconstructive surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and could miss the first half of 2014.

Amid the chaos, two young Padres stepped up. Jedd Gyorko, a 25-year-old rookie, held down second base after playing a total of 51 games there in three minor league seasons. He became just the fifth rookie keystone sacker in history to hit 20 home runs, joining the likes of Dan Uggla (2006), Alexei Ramirez (2008) and Danny Espinosa (2011).

Righthander Andrew Cashner missed a large chunk of 2012 with a lat muscle strain, but the 27-year-old shined in 2013, his second season with the Padres after coming over in the deal that sent first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs. Cashner, whose average fastball velocity of 94.6 mph trailed just three other ERA qualifiers, put an exclamation point on his best (and healthiest) season by one-hitting the Pirates on Sept. 27. Overall he went 10-9, 3.09 in 31 appearances (26 starts) while notching 6.6 strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.13 WHIP.

Down on the farm, the Padres have one of the top catching prospects in the game (Austin Hedges), one of the top lefthanders (Max Fried) and one of the most unheralded righties (Matt Wisler). Hedges and Wisler lead the next wave of talent headed for San Diego after helping push Double-A San Antonio to the Texas League title. The Missions have won the TL three times in seven seasons as a Padres affiliate, including two out of the last three years.

The system doesn’t feature as much upper-level depth as it did two years ago, when Alonso, lefty Robbie Erlin, Grandal, Gyorko and Rizzo all qualified for this list. All but Gyorko, a 2010 second-rounder, had been acquired in a trio of 2010-11 trades in which the Padres parted with veterans Mike Adams, Adrian Gonzalez and Mat Latos. San Diego also acquired prospects Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Wieland in those trades, but the rest of the current Top 30 consists of players signed or drafted by the Padres.