SAN DIEGO—Led by righthander Anderson Espinoza, several prospects from the improving Padres farm system performed well in a showcase game at Petco Park against Rangers top prospects on Oct. 7.
For Padres fans, the event raised optimism that the franchise, coming off its eighth losing season in nine years, will ride a youth movement back to relevance.
Players got a better sense of the parent club, and a vivid reminder of where the minor league trail is intended to lead. “I think there are only positives here, whether it’s here or in front of the major league manager last week in Arizona,” farm director Sam Geaney said. “Or hearing <ahref=”http: www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/players/cards/18606″ target=”_blank”>Trevor Hoffman(speak) in the major league clubhouse. I think we look at it more as a motivating factor to get back here and get back here as a group.”
Espinoza drew the start and showed a fastball that registered as high as 98 mph. The Padres acquired Espinoza, 18, in the July trade that sent all-star lefthander Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox.
Other standouts included a former Marlins prospect also acquired this year, first baseman Josh Naylor, a 19-year-old who it a home run and a double; and Luis Urias, a 19-year-old second baseman, who provided defensive highlights and a two-run double.
“This gives you a little taste of blood in the water,” Eric Lauer, a 21-year-old Kent State lefthander drafted in the first round this summer, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It just makes you want to chase it a little more, seeing how nice these guys have it, playing in beautiful stadiums every day.”
Former Stanford righty Cal Quantrill, also a first-round selection this year, worked two strong innings.
“It reminds you of what you’re aiming for, why you’re here, why we are working so hard every day,” Quantrill said. “So we can sit around in this locker room. Yeah, I think it’s exciting, and my goal hasn’t changed.”
• Lefthanded reliever Kyle McGrath gave up only one earned run in his first 12 innings in the Arizona Fall League. The 24-year-old recorded a 0.93 ERA and held hitters to a .191 average across three levels.
• General manager A.J. Preller returned Oct. 19 from a 30-day suspension after the commissioner’s office ruled he withheld medical information in the July trade of Pomeranz. RogersWithin a week of Preller’s return, the Padres and their CEO/president, Mike Dee parted ways—but according to the team, Dee’s departure was unrelated to baseball operations.