Padres Host Offseason Sessions
Prospects work out, attend seminars
SAN DIEGO—The idea of a winter program has become popular with many organizations in the game, and this particular version was born in Boston and made its way across to the country to San Diego.
Assistant general manager Jason McLeod invited 19 of the Padres' top prospects to Petco Park for a week of workouts in January as well as an indoctrination into the organization. McLeod was the Red Sox' scouting director before coming home to San Diego where he grew up as part of general manager Jed Hoyer's front office.
"The idea here is to get our top prospects in and kick start their year," McLeod said. "We wanted to work with them on individual skills, strength and conditioning. There was a definite on-field aspect to this."
McLeod wanted it to be educational, too. So there were speakers that touched on topics like "How to be a Pro," "How to Deal with Success and Failure" and "How to Deal with the Media."
"We wanted to show these guys Petco Park and how it plays," McLeod said. "We wanted to show them San Diego. We took them to Coronado to see the Navy Seals train."
McLeod felt it was espcially important to bring in Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo and Reymond Fuentes—the key players acquired from the Red Sox for Adrian Gonzalez.
"I wanted those guys here so they could meet other players, meet the coordinators, meet Buddy Black," McLeod said.
The winter program was a large financial commitment for the Padres. It is a sign the team is committed to player development, McLeod said.
"This is a big year for us," McLeod said. "We have five draft picks early, so we have the potential to make an impact. With this program and the draft, we have the opportunity to infuse the system with young talent."
• At the Padres' 13th annual awards dinner in January, minor league winners recognized for their achievements in 2010 were Jason Hagerty as offensive player of the year, Luis Martinez as defensive player of the year, Brad Brach as pitcher of the year and Jeudy Valdez as baserunner of the year.
• The Padres invited 21 non-roster players to spring training, including top pitching prospects Anthony Bass, Alexis Lara, Craig Italiano and Brach.