San Diego Padres: Top 10 Prospects

1. Cedric Hunter, of
2. Cesar Carrillo, rhp
3. Matt Antonelli, 3b
4. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3b
5. Will Venable, of
6. Chase Headley, 3b
7. Chad Huffman, of
8. Nick Hundley, c
9. Jared Wells, rhp
10. Cesar Ramos, lhp
Best Hitter for Average Cedric Hunter
Best Power Hitter Kevin Kouzmanoff
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Matt Antonelli
Fastest Baserunner Luis Durango
Best Athlete Matt Antonelli
Best Fastball Drew Miller
Best Curveball Sean Thompson
Best Slider Jared Wells
Best Changeup Wade LeBlanc
Best Control Mike Ekstrom
Best Defensive Catcher Luke Carlin
Best Defensive Infielder Luis Cruz
Best Infield Arm Matt Bush
Best Defensive Outfielder Yordany Ramirez
Best Outfield Arm Yordany Ramirez
Catcher Nick Hundley
First Base Adrian Gonzalez
Second Base Matt Antonelli
Third Base Kevin Kouzmanoff
Shortstop Khalil Greene
Left Field Will Venable
Center Field Cedric Hunter
Right Field Mike Cameron
No. 1 Starter Jake Peavy
No. 2 Starter Chris Young
No. 3 Starter Cesar Carrillo
No. 4 Starter Clay Hensley
No. 5 Starter Cesar Ramos
Closer Scott Linebrink
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Derrek Lee, 1b Cubs
1998 Matt Clement, rhp Red Sox
1999 Matt Clement, rhp Red Sox
2000 Sean Burroughs, 3b Devil Rays
2001 Sean Burroughs, 3b Devil Rays
2002 Sean Burroughs, 3b Devil Rays
2003 Xavier Nady, of Pirates
2004 Josh Barfield, 2b Padres
2005 Josh Barfield, 2b Padres
2006 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Padres
Year Player, Position 2006
1997 Kevin Nicholson, ss Somerset (Atlantic)
1998 Sean Burroughs, 3b Devil Rays
1999 Vince Faison, of Yankees
2000 Mark Phillips, lhp Out of baseball
2001 Jake Gautreau, 3b Indians
2002 Khalil Greene, ss Padres
2003 Tim Stauffer, rhp Padres
2004 Matt Bush, ss Padres
2005 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Padres
2006 Matt Antonelli, 3b Padres
Matt Bush, 2004 $3,150,000
Mark Phillips, 2000 $2,200,000
Sean Burroughs, 1998 $2,100,000
Jake Gautreau, 2001 $1,875,000
Matt Antonelli, 2006 $1,575,000
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San Diego Padres

The Padres repeated as National League West champions and had their third consecutive winning season in 2006, both firsts in franchise history. Neither would have happened if not for some astute trades by general manager Kevin Towers.

His biggest deal came in January 2006, when he acquired Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young and minor league outfielder Terrmel Sledge from the Rangers for Adam Eaton, Akinori Otsuka and catching prospect Billy Killian. Gonzalez, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 draft, topped San Diego with a .304 average and 24 homers, while Young won 11 games with a team-best 3.46 ERA and NL-best .206 opponent average.

Two other trades strengthened areas of weakness. After coming over from the Mets for Xavier Nady, Mike Cameron won a Gold Glove in center field and led the Padres with 83 RBIs. In May, the Red Sox wanted Doug Mirabelli back, so they sent the Padres Josh Bard, who hit .338 as part-timer catcher, and Cla Meredith, whose 1.07 ERA was the lowest among NL pitchers with at least 50 innings.

One of the reasons San Diego was active on the trade market is that its farm system lacks depth in the upper levels. Since-traded Josh Barfield hit .280 with 13 homers and played a steady second base as a rookie in 2006, while Clay Hensley (originally signed by the Giants and traded for Matt Herges in 2003) won 11 games. But weak drafts in 2003 and 2004–typified by spending the No. 1 overall choice in the latter draft on Matt Bush–undermined the Padres’ prospect pipeline.

Five of the players in the top 10 a year ago either graduated to the big leagues (Barfield, Ben Johnson, Hensley) and/or were traded (George Kottaras, Barfield, Johnson and Freddy Guzman). Eight of the 10 prospects have come from the last two drafts, highlighting the efforts of vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson and scouting director Bill Gayton to supplement the system. San Diego also landed two premium draft-and-follows last spring in righthanders Drew Miller and Aaron Breit.

International scouting director Randy Smith’s work also has been magnified as the Padres search for their first homegrown Latin American star. Their best hope is Dominican outfielder Yefri Carvajal, signed in 2005 after they lost out in the Fernando Martinez bidding with the Mets. Other standouts signed in the last two years include Dominican third baseman Felix Carrasco and righthander Simon Castro.

Led by the organization’s top prospect, outfielder Cedric Hunter, the Rookie-level AZL Padres won the league championship and were one of three San Diego affiliates to qualify for the postseason. Padres farm clubs combined for a .513 winning percentage, their best mark since 2002. After 10 years in Mobile, San Diego will shift its Double-A affiliate to San Antonio in 2007.

The Padres ended an even longer association when they allow manager Bruce Bochy to take the same job with the Giants after the season. The skipper of four of the five division winners in franchise history, Bochy had been at San Diego’s helm since 1995, a run surpassed only by Atlanta’s Bobby Cox among active managers. The Padres hired Angels pitching coach Bud Black to replace Bochy.