2013 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.

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1. Casey Kelly, rhp
2. Max Fried, lhp
3. Jedd Gyorko, 2b/3b
4. Austin Hedges, c
5. Rymer Liriano, of
6. Matt Wisler, rhp
7. Cory Spangenberg, 2b
8. Joe Wieland, rhp
9. Adys Portillo, rhp
10. Robbie Erlin, lhp
Best Hitter for Average Jedd Gyorko
Best Power Hitter Rymer Liriano
Best Strike Zone Discipline Jaff Decker
Fastest Baserunner Mallex Smith
Best Athlete Brian Adams
Best Fastball Adys Portillo
Best Curveball Max Fried
Best Slider Matt Wisler
Best Changeup Keyvius Sampson
Best Control Joe Wieland
Best Defensive Catcher Austin Hedges
Best Defensive Infielder Stephen Carmon
Best Infield Arm Edinson Rincon
Best Defensive OF Rico Noel
Best Outfield Arm Yeison Asencio
Catcher Yasmani Grandal
First Base Yonder Alonso
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 Casey Kelly
No. 2 Starter Max Fried
No. 3 Starter Cory Luebke
No. 4 Starter Matt Wisler
No. 5 Starter Joe Wieland
Closer Andrew Cashner
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Xavier Nady, of Giants
2004 Josh Barfield, 2b Orioles
2005 Josh Barfield, 2b Orioles
2006 Cesar Carrillo, rhp Tigers
2007 Cedric Hunter, of Cardinals
2008 Chase Headley, 3b Padres
2009 Kyle Blanks, 1b Padres
2010 Donavan Tate, of Padres
2011 Casey Kelly, rhp Padres
2012 Anthony Rizzo, 1b Cubs
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Tim Stauffer, RHP Padres
2004 Matt Bush, SS Rays
2005 Cesar Carrillo, RHP Tigers
2006 Matt Antonelli, 3B Yankees
2007 Nick Schmidt, LHP Rockies
2008 Allan Dykstra, 1B Mets
2009 Donavan Tate, OF Padres
2010 *Karsten Whitson, RHP
U. of Florida
2011 Cory Spangenberg, 2B Padres
2012 Max Fried, LHP Padres

*Did not sign

Donovan Tate, 2009
Matt Bush, 2004
Austin Hedges, 2011
Max Fried, 2012
Joe Ross, 2011
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San Diego Padres

The Padres opened the 2012 season with a $55.2 million payroll, the lowest in the game. But Josh Byrnes, in his first year as the team's general manager, had every reason to expect in-season improvement as a young roster gained experience and San Diego's abundance of upper-level pitching prospects made their way to Petco Park.

After all, the Athletics followed a similar course all the way to a division crown over in the American League.

In fact, the Padres did improve in the second half, going 47-36 in the final three months of the season. But a miserable first half condemned them to their fourth second-division finish in the last five years. Worse, their on-the-cusp pitching prospects turned out to be on-the-shelf bystanders, with the four brightest plagued by arm injuries.

Righthanders Casey Kelly and Joe Wieland and lefties Robbie Erlin and Juan Oramas had pitched Double-A San Antonio to the Texas League title in 2011. San Diego hoped that quartet, following additional seasoning in Triple-A, would provide rotation support in the second half of 2012. Instead, Wieland and Oramas had Tommy John surgery in the summer, while lesser elbow injuries sidelined Kelly for three months and Erlin for nearly that long.

Even young big league pitchers weren't immune to the injury bug. Cory Luebke had Tommy John surgery. Andrew Cashner, acquired in an offseason trade that sent young slugger Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs, missed half the season with a strained lat muscle.

Kelly recovered in time to make his big league debut on Aug. 27, throwing six scoreless innings against the Braves. He turned in only one more quality start in his next five turns, though he showed enough to rank No. 1 on this list.

Two other rookies, both acquired from the Reds in an offseason deal for Mat Latos, provided ample hope for the future. First baseman Yonder Alonso played 155 games, batted .273/.348/.393 and led all big league rookies with 39 doubles. Catcher Yasmani Grandal homered from both sides of the plate for his first two big league hits on June 30 and batted .297/.394/.469 in 60 contests.

Grandal won't be available to San Diego for the first 50 games of 2013, however, because he must sit out after a drug test turned up elevated levels of testosterone.

While Alonso, Grandal and Kelly may form the core of the next successful Padres club, Chase Headley may be suiting up for another team by then. The 2005 second-rounder drew significant trade interest after turning in a career year in 2012, swatting 31 homers and leading the National League with 115 RBIs.

For the second year in a row, San Diego invested $11 million in the draft. It dropped a combined $5 million on a pair of prep pitchers, Max Fried and Walker Weickel, one year after spending $5.75 million to sign another high school duo, righthander Joe Ross and catcher Austin Hedges.

Jaron Madison, the scouting director who ran both of those drafts, left in August to take the same job with the Cubs, following former Padres GM Jed Hoyer and vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod to Chicago. The Padres promoted national crosschecker Billy Gasparino to replace Madison.

Led by Hedges and Ross, low Class A Fort Wayne advanced to the Midwest League finals. But in terms of overall minor league winning percentage, only the Reds and Angels fared more poorly than the Padres (.455) last season.

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