By Scott Barzilla

The San Diego Padres arguably have the best farm system in the game of baseball. I say arguably because these things always can be argued. For one, very few people agree on top ten lists among positions, but even if there were agreement, you have to weigh the lists pretty heavily. There can be quite a difference between the fifth rated player at a position and the top rated player at the position.

All that being said, the Padres have six guys rated in the top ten at their position. Two of them will not appear here because they have had too many plate appearances this season to be considered prospects. All told, no one has a deeper system than the Padres even if some may argue that they have fewer impact guys.

   

AGE

Level

How

BP

BA

MLB

POS

C Austin Hedges

19

A

D

8

5

7

6

1B Tommy Medica

24

A+

D

NR

 NR

NR

NR

2B Cory Spangenberg

21

A+

D

4

4

5

1

3B Jedd Gyorko

23

AAA

D

3

6

4

6

SS Jace Peterson

22

A

D

NR

NR

18

NR

OF Rhymer Liriano

21

AA

I

1

2

2

10

OF Raymond Fuentes

21

AA

D

13

NR

11

NR

OF Jaff Dacker

22

AA

D

12

NR

12

NR

P Casey Kelly

22

AA

D

7

3

1

NR

Austin Hedges– Catcher

The Padres are flush with catching right now since Yasmani Grandal was called up. Nick Hundley was the starter and even got a long-term extension, but his bat has hit the skids. He could always rebound in 2013 if he isn’t dealt during the offseason. Grandal can hit like crazy, so the Padres have all the time in the world to let their nineteen year old develop at his own pace. Catchers always take longer to develop anyway, so look for Hedges to knock on the door around 2015.

Tommy Medica– First Base

First base is rarely a position where teams actually focus on early in a player’s development. Plus,  Yonder Alonso is still young and developing at the big league level. Medica is playing the position and hitting well in the lower minors, so he is here, but might not end up being much of a factor in the long run.

Cory Spangenberg– Second Base

He was a high draft pick and entered the season as the number one second base prospect. Prospect rankings are a lot like marathons. The player that winds up first in the end is rarely the guy that is first in the beginning. Spangenberg will not be first in 2013. Still, the talent is there and he has time to regain his top spot. Second base happens to be a weak spot in San Diego, so they are all pulling for him to figure it out.

Jedd Gyorko– Third Base

Chase Headley was on the trading block despite having his best season as a Padre. This is the main reason why he was on the block. He still may be trade bait in the offseason because Gyorko is clearly ready for the big leagues. Even if Headley isn’t dealt, having organizational depth at any position is always a good thing. Injuries and ineffectiveness can attack anyone at any time.

Jace Peterson– Shortstop

Peterson is not much of a prospect as the Padres just haven’t found anyone to man the position and that includes the big league level. They brought in Jason Barlett to hold down the fort and he was supplanted almost immediately. Being in A ball doesn’t really help much at this point as he is likely two years away from helping the friars at the big league level.

Rhymer Liriano– Outfield

With Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin locked up long term it looks like the Padres are just looking for a right fielder and Liriano might be their Huckleberry. They have a rotation of guys in there at the moment, so they can wait for Liriano’s time to be right. We’ve seen his progress in our positional updates here at the site, so there is no reason to belabor the point here.

Raymond Fuentes– Outfield

There is a huge jump in outfielders in the Padres system. One of the reasons why we might look at the Padres system in a favorable light is because their strengths happen to fit their needs. Fuentes is not much of a prospect long-term, but he will provide good organizational depth moving forward. At 21, being in AA is not a bad thing. He can repeat at the level comfortably if he has to or he can play a couple of years at AAA until an opportunity presents itself.

Jaff Decker– Outfield

Decker is another guy that has been featured in our positional rankings and his season has been a huge disappointment. He is still an on base machine, so there is hope for him moving forward. At 22, he still is young enough to rebound from a bad season. He has good tools across the board, but he doesn’t have any elite skills to work with. Still, every organization needs plenty of solid baseball players.

Casey Kelly– Pitcher

There is a wide difference of opinion on this guy. Jonathan Mayo has him as the Padres number one prospect while Jim Callis has him third, and Kevin Goldstein has him seventh. That is the great thing about scouting. There can be any number of opinions on a guy. With only 31 innings pitched this season he is destined to fall in all three rankings before next season and the Padres have a number of guys that could take this slot going into next season.

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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Readers Comments (2)

  1. Tanned Tom

    Terrible that we’re so thin in middle infielders. Scott, is there any chance Gyorko can play 2nd or RF? As a 3Ber he must have a good arm. Or is this just wishful thinking? If nothing else, this is the time to try out the kids, because it’s slim pickings in the free agent market for 2013.

     Reply
    • Scott Barzilla

      Actually, he has played quite a bit of second base this year down on the farm. However, I tend to think the Padres can get another good haul for Headley this offseason like they did with Latos. However, if they really want to keep Headley then they can try Gyorko at second. I doubt he is an right field candidate because even if he has a gun at third, that’s the most challenging position to play in terms of making throws. Thanks for reading and commenting.

       Reply