2012 San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects

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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, 2011.

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Matt Eddy
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1. Anthony Rizzo, 1b
2. Rymer Liriano, of
3. Casey Kelly, rhp
4. Cory Spangenberg, 2b
5. Austin Hedges, c
6. Jedd Gyorko, 3b
7. Joe Wieland, rhp
8. Robbie Erlin, lhp
9. Joe Ross, rhp
10. Keyvius Sampson, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Jedd Gyorko
Best Power Hitter Anthony Rizzo
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Cory Spangenberg
Fastest Baserunner Reymond Fuentes
Best Athlete Jace Peterson
Best Fastball Adys Portillo
Best Curveball Casey Kelly
Best Slider Simon Castro
Best Changeup Robbie Erlin
Best Control Joe Wieland
Best Defensive Catcher Austin Hedges
Best Defensive Infielder Beamer Weems
Best Infield Arm Jeudy Valdez
Best Defensive Outfielder Rico Noel
Best Outfield Arm Rymer Liriano
Catcher Austin Hedges
First Base Anthony Rizzo
Second Base Cory Spangenberg
Third Base Chase Headley
Shortstop Jace Peterson
Left Field Jedd Gyorko
Center Field Cameron Maybin
Right Field Rymer Liriano
No. 1 Starter Mat Latos
No. 2 Starter Casey Kelly
No. 3 Starter Cory Luebke
No. 4 Starter Joe Wieland
No. 5 Starter Robbie Erlin
Closer Huston Street
Year Player, Position 2011 Org.
2002 Sean Burroughs, 3b Diamondbacks
2003 Xavier Nady, of Diamondbacks
2004 Josh Barfield, 2b Phillies
2005 Josh Barfield, 2b Phillies
2006 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Lancaster (Atlantic)
2007 Cedric Hunter, of Padres
2008 Chase Headley, 3b Padres
2009 Kyle Blanks, 1b Padres
2010 Donavan Tate, of Padres
2011 Casey Kelly, rhp Padres
Year Player, Position 2011 Org.
2002 Khalil Greene, ss Out of baseball
2003 Tim Stauffer, rhp Padres
2004 Matt Bush, ss Rays
2005 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Lancaster (Atlantic)
2006 Matt Antonelli, 3b Nationals
2007 Nick Schmidt, lhp Padres
2008 Allan Dykstra, 1b Mets
2009 Donavan Tate, of Padres
2010 *Karsten Whitson, rhp U. of Florida
2011 Cory Spangenberg, 2b Padres
*Did not sign.
Donavan Tate, 2009 $6,250,000
Matt Bush, 2004 $3,150,000
Austin Hedges, 2011 $3,000,000
Joe Ross, 2011 $2,750,000
Mark Phillips, 2000 $2,200,000
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San Diego Padres

The two-year reign of Jed Hoyer as Padres general manager ended abruptly in November when he left to take the same position with the Cubs, taking vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod with him. Hoyer and McLeod reunited with Chicago's new president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, for whom they served as top lieutenants with the Red Sox.

Josh Byrnes, yet another former Epstein disciple, replaced Hoyer in San Diego. He joined the Padres following the 2010 season after being fired as Diamondbacks GM that July. Byrnes has an extensive professional history with San Diego CEO Jeff Moorad, who bought the club early in 2009, and so do other key members of the reconstituted front office.

When he was team president of the Diamondbacks, Moorad hired Byrnes for his first GM gig in October 2005. Newly minted Padres assistant GMs A.J. Hinch and Chad MacDonald also worked with Moorad and Byrnes in Arizona. MacDonald left his post as Mets scouting director in November to join San Diego.

A restocked farm system may be Hoyer's lasting legacy with the Padres. San Diego built depth quickly through a pair of trades that returned prospects for veterans Adrian Gonzalez and Mike Adams. A third deal yielded Cameron Maybin, the 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft who finally came into his own in 2011, stealing 40 bases and providing quality defense in center field.

The young players received for Gonzalez and Adams will take longer to reach the majors but could provide a greater impact in the long run. First baseman Anthony Rizzo ranks as the Padres' top prospect after a breakout season in which he hit .331/.404/.652 with 26 homers in 93 Triple-A games.

Rizzo came from Boston along with righthander Casey Kelly and athletic center fielder Reymond Fuentes in exchange for Gonzalez. Kelly teamed with lefty Robbie Erlin and righty Joe Wieland, the price the Rangers paid for Adams, to form the heart of the playoff rotation for Double-A Texas League champion San Antonio. The Missions won 94 regular-season games, tops in the minors.

San Diego also has fortified its system by spending what it takes to acquire top draft talent. Under Moorad, the Padres have spent $24.4 million on bonuses in the 2009-11 drafts, an expenditure that ranks ninth in MLB. They have doled out three of the four largest bonuses in franchise history during that time, to 2009 No. 3 overall pick Donavan Tate ($6.25 million), 2011 second-rounder Austin Hedges ($3 million) and 2011 first-rounder Joe Ross ($2.75 million).

For the big league club, life after Gonzalez proved as bleak as expected in the immediate aftermath. San Diego followed a surprising 92-win campaign in 2010 with a 71-91 effort that landed them in last place in the National League West. Among NL clubs, only the Astros won fewer games.

Two rookies provided some of the few pleasant surprises. Lefthander Cory Luebke blossomed at age 26, opening the season in the bullpen before forcing his way into the rotation, where he went 5-8, 3.31 with 111 strikeouts in 101 innings over 17 starts. The Padres' top offensive performer was 27-year-old Jesus Guzman, who signed as a minor league free agent and hit .312/.369/.478 in 247 at-bats while filling it at all four corners.

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