San Diego Padres: Top 10 Prospects

San Diego Padres

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2008.

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1. Chase Headley, 3b
2. Matt Antonelli, 2b
3. Matt Latos, rhp
4. Wade LeBlanc, lhp
5. Drew Miller, rhp
6. Steve Garrison, lhp
7. Will Inman, rhp
8. Cedric Hunter, of
9. Nick Schmidt, lhp
10. Kyle Blanks, 1b
Best Hitter for Average Chase Headley
Best Power Hitter Kyle Blanks
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Matt Antonelli
Fastest Baserunner Luis Durango
Best Athlete Matt Antonelli
Best Fastball Matt Latos
Best Curveball Drew Miller
Best Slider Mike Ekstrom
Best Changeup Wade LeBlanc
Best Control Josh Geer
Best Defensive Catcher Jose Lobaton
Best Defensive Infielder Jesus Lopez
Best Infield Arm Jesus Lopez
Best Defensive Outfielder Drew Macias
Best Outfield Arm Drew Macias
Catcher Mitch Canham
First Base Adrian Gonzalez
Second Base Matt Antonelli
Third Base Chase Headley
Shortstop Khalil Greene
Left Field Kevin Kouzmanhoff
Center Field Drew Cumberland
Right Field Cedric Hunter
No. 1 Starter Jake Peavy
No. 2 Starter Chris Young
No. 3 Starter Matt Latos
No. 4 Starter Wade LeBlanc
No. 5 Starter Drew Miller
Closer Heath Bell
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Matt Clement, rhp Red Sox
1999 Matt Clement, rhp Red Sox
2000 Sean Burroughs, 3b Mariners
2001 Sean Burroughs, 3b Mariners
2002 Sean Burroughs, 3b Mariners
2003 Xavier Nady, of Pirates
2004 Josh Barfield, 2b Indians
2005 Josh Barfield, 2b Indians
2006 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Padres
2007 Cedric Hunter, of Padres
Year Player, Position 2007
1998 Sean Burroughs, 3b Marines
1999 Vince Faison, of Athletics
2000 Mark Phillips, lhp Out of baseball
2001 Jake Gautreau, 2b Mets
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
2007 Nick Schmidt, lhp Padres
Matt Bush, 2004 $3,150,000
Mark Phillips, 2000 $2,200,000
Sean Burroughs, 1998 $2,100,000
Jake Gartreau, 2001 $1,875,000
Matt Antonelli, 2006 $1,575,000
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San Diego Padres

Though the Padres came up one game short of qualifying for the playoffs on the heels of two consecutive division titles, the organization enjoyed perhaps its most productive season, all things considered, in the last three.

Under first-year manager Bud Black, San Diego won 89 games, its most since the 1998 pennant winners won 98, but ran out of steam in September, when Chris Young went 0-3, 6.27 while battling a sore back and Milton Bradley and Mike Cameron were lost to injury with a week left in the season. The Padres still controlled their playoff destiny with three games to play, but lost all three, the last one a one-game wild-card playoff at Colorado.

Jake Peavy remained the ace of the pitching staff, winning his first Cy Young Award as well as the National League pitching triple crown. And in another constant, general manager Kevin Towers' shrewd trading acumen made a big impact.

One year after scoring big with trades for Adrian Gonzalez, Young and Cameron, Towers acquired Kevin Kouzmanoff from the Indians in exchange for Josh Barfield, who ultimately lost his job to rookie Asdrubal Cabrera. Kouzmanoff hit 18 homers as a rookie. Towers also added bullpen depth by shipping Ben Johnson to the Mets as part of a trade for Heath Bell, who led all major league relievers in innings (94) and strikeouts (102).

In late June, Towers picked up Bradley for the low cost of Triple-A righthander Andrew Brown, and Bradley jump-started the offense while healthy. He also made in-season trades for Michael Barrett and Scott Hairston, which paid modest dividends and cost San Diego little in terms of established talent.

On the minor league side, Double-A San Antonio and high Class A Lake Elsinore made deep playoff runs with teams stocked with prospects from the 2005 and 2006 drafts, the Padres' first two under vice president of scouting and farm director Grady Fuson. Of the eight drafted players on this Top 10 list, only first baseman Kyle Blanks (No. 10) was selected before Fuson arrived. San Antonio, BA's Minor League Team of the Year, won the Texas League title, led by the system's two best prospects, third baseman Chase Headley and second baseman Matt Antonelli.

Taking advantage of baseball's modified compensation system where Type B free agents no longer cost signing clubs a draft pick, Towers wasn't shy about offering arbitration and reaped seven extra picks for the loss of five players. With eight of the top 87 picks in the 2007 draft, the Padres primarily selected established college talent, like lefthanders Nick Schmidt and Cory Luebke, outfielder Kellen Kulbacki and catcher Mitch Canham.

San Diego also scored by landing the top player from baseball's final class of draft-and-follows. After signing for $1.25 million, righthander Matt Latos ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the short-season Northwest League. When bullpen stalwart Scott Linebrink started to slip, Towers shrewdly traded him to the Brewers for lefty Steve Garrison and righty Will Inman, both of whom cracked this Top 10 list, and lefty Joe Thatcher, who had a 1.29 ERA in 22 big league games. The Padres also were active in Latin America, handing out six-figure bonuses to a pair of Dominicans, shortstop Jonathan Spraut ($750,000) and outfielder Rymer Liriano ($300,000).

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