San Diego Padres – 2014 UTR Organizational All-Stars

C – Dane Phillips – LoA Fort Wayne/HiA Lake Elsinore  –  23 yo;  –  (2012 – 2nd round) –
  • .285 – 28 2B  –  12HR – 76RBi – 68R –  .340/.477/.817 slash   csPAG: 3.47
  • It’s no secret that 2011 – 2nd rounder Austin Hedges is the heir apparent to the catcher throne in San Diego. Hedges defense is more advanced than several current major league catchers, however the offensive side of the ball still needs refinement before he makes his mark in the majors. In the world of UTR though, Dane Phillips is a solid choice here. He carries good size (6’1 – 195) a lot of power, can hit for moderate average, has a strong throwing arm, yet could use continued polish behind the plate. I’m not saying Phillips is Hedges equal. No no, on the other hand, it’s hard to ignore Phillips. He possesses a three year .990 fielding percentage and his career PAG score of 3.08 is respectable enough to give Padre fans a whisper of hope in the realm of a serviceable catcher who can hold his own on both sides of the ball. Sadly though, past the UTR philosophy, the lefty slugging Phillips age/level won’t warrant him any prospect consideration past organizational filler. 
1B – Marcus Davis  – Short Season Eugene  – 22 yo;  – (2013 – 24nd round)
  • .322 – 25 2B  –  7HR –  31RBi – 32R –  .411/.537/.948 slash   PAG: 3.52
  • After being drafted out of Florida State University, Davis’ 2013 pro debut with Short Season Eugene got off to a rough start. He batted .176 with 3 doubles, 9 walks and 24 strikeouts which equated to a PAG of 1.29.  He was pressing, trying to do too much with a game that comes way too natural. The 6’3 – 215 lb. lefty then came into 2014 with a clearer head, relaxed approach and the results were extraordinary. Even though he logged only 60 games in repeating the Northwest League, his defense remained steady while his bat sprung wide awake to the tune of a 45% extra base percentage, Northwest League leading doubles (23) and OPS (.948). Davis also led all Padre prospects HiA and below in on-base percentage (.411), slugging (.537) and OPS (.948). The Cincinnati native might see a promotion to LoA Fort Wayne where if his game takes another step forward, he could inject himself into organizational talk as one of the top first base prospects in the system. 
2B – Fernando Perez  – LoA Fort Wayne – 20 yo;  – (2012 – 3rd round)
  • .284 – 24 2B  – 18HR – 95RBi – 69R – SB  –  .322/.454/.776  slash  –  PAG: 3.49
  • Listing the 6’0 – 210 lb. Mexico native as a second baseman was only by a defensive default. It’s the bat that helps make the O.A.S. list, but Perez is without a doubt the quintessential multi-positional infield  king in the organization. Of his 116 games in 2014, 51 came at second, 35 at third and 17 as a first baseman. Since his debut in 2012, his production has been growing and 2014 saw him take a huge step forward becoming one of the systems most potent hitters. The smooth swinging power lefty ranked second in the Midwest League in homers, his 95 RBi’s ranked first and his 213 total bases ranked sixth in the league. Perez’s offensive profile seems to fit best at third. Some say he’s too big a body to play second regularly, has a strong enough arm to stick at third base and obvious power to play first. Either way you slice it, Perez’ discerning eye and advanced feel for barreling up on pitches is what will keep him moving through the system quickly. He’s ticketed for HiA Lake Elsinore this coming season.
3B – Gabriel Quintana – HiA Lake Elsinore  – 21 yo;  –  (2009 – International FA/DR)
  • .263 –  35 2B –  18HR  –  84RBi  – 77R  –   .302/.431/.733 slash   –  PAG: 3.18
  • The Padres minor league third base situation is a collection of several aspects that help wet the appetite of prospect love. It satisfies those love-at-first-sight types over a top draftee, those who love the systematic climb toward earned attractiveness and those who love that fresh, deep sleeper who possesses the tools to gain love from all angles. Dustin Peterson pleases the love-at-first site types as a 2013 – 2nd rounder. He possesses huge raw power, polished bat and is an tireless worker.  For the wait-and-see type like Jim and myself,  18 year-old Dominican Carlos Belen is an attractive work-in-progress who carries a special bat with big power potential needed at the position.  But for UTR O.A.S., no one was better than Quintana, who’s made the disciplined climb through the ranks becoming the top third baseman in the organization. The wild card with the 6’2 – 190 lb. righty is that if his defense pushes him off the position, he’s athletic with a strong enough arm where his bat and defense would play successful in right field. 
SS – Jose Rondon  – AZL Angels/HiA Inland Empire/HiA lake Elsinore/  –  20 yo;  –  (2011 – Int. FA/VE)

  • .315 – 26 2B – 1HR – 36RBi – 61R – 13SB  – .363/.404/.767  slash   – csPAG: 2.87
  •  The San Diego minor league short stop position offered quite the swarm of activity this past season and off-season. In the June MLB first year player draft, the Padres selected North Carolina State short stop Trea Turner in the first round; and even with promising international signee Franchy Cordero in house, the former Wolfpack star instantly became the top short stop prospect in the system. So, with two potential stars in the mix, the MLB trade deadline hit.  The Padres swung a deal to send veteran closer Houston Street to the L.A. Angels. Part of the 4-player package heading to San Diego was 2011 international signee shortstop Jose Rondon. The Padres were now armed with three potential stars, but not so fast. This changed when in December the 6’1 – 175 lb. Turner was flipped to the Washington Nationals in a three team trade that sent outfielder Steven Souza to Tampa Bay. I won’t get into the semantics of that mess, but regardless, Cordero and Rondon now stand above the rest of the organization at the position. Whew. Now that the dust has settled, the under the radar in me felt Jose Rondon was the top choice here. With Cordero’s bat receiving all the fanfare, his defense told another story. In my years of prospect mining, I’ve never seen a fielding percentage so low: 51 errors/83 games = .801 Fld %.  I’m talking epic proportions low. Now, couple that with my UTR philosophy, I love Rondon even more. A career .300 hitter, not a garish set of tools, but displays good bat control, average speed, good arm and solid defensive actions regardless of what position he plays; which could be several as he advances through the system. 
LF – Jordan Paroubeck – AZL Padres  –  19 yo;  –  (2013 – 2nd round)  –
  •  .286  – 4HR  – 24RBi  – 26R  –  .346/.457/.803   – PAG: 3.85
  • The Padres took the Serra HS (CA) star in the 2nd round of the 2013 draft with hopes that he’d storm the minors flashing his impressive list of tools. However, that came to a screeching halt when the 6’2 – 190 lb. switch-hitter suffered a labrum tear in his throwing shoulder which stemmed from a collision in the outfield with a teammate during a high school playoff game. This forced Paroubeck to miss the entire 2013 season. After plenty of rehab, Paroubeck was ready to go in 2014 and  was assigned to the Arizona League. Now, I’m going to confess how guilty I am of riding the fence of a top performer vs. that of a potential prospect. Paroubeck fits both criteria. When running my numbers, Paroubeck’s 34 game PAG score outpaced all other left fielders in the system. This gives the impression that when the San Mateo, CA native logs in a full season, he could sky rocket up prospect boards. He’s a switch hitter with a smooth, yet powerful compact swing, has above average speed, will hit for average, has big power potential, and a strong arm regardless where he plays in the outfield. I love this kid and I’m more excited about him than any other prospect on this list. Paroubeck can do it all.  

 

CF – Mallex Smith – LoA Fort Wayne/HiA Lake Elsinore –  21 yo;   (2012 – 5th round)
  • .310  – 29 2B  –  5HR – 88RBi – 99R – 88 SB  –  .403/.432/.834   – csPAG: 4.11
  • I’m sure we’ve all heard the cliche most commonly heard in the real estate market. The three most important things are “Location, location and location.”  Well, this was the first analogy that came to mind when describing Smith, a Santa Fe Community College (FL) draftee. The most important thing to Mallex Smith’s game are “speed, speed and speed.” The 5’9 – 175 lb. Smith appeared on several Hitters of the Day lists last year mainly because of the pure 80++ grade speed he displays (almost) too easily. Smith led all organized baseball with 88 steals (between two levels) while ranking fifth overall in runs scored (99.) This isn’t to say Smith is ready to leadoff for a first division club. He still has work to do on making better contact and polishing his defense in center. Smith, however, will work on his game with a new organization this upcoming season, as he was sent to Atlanta (along with starting pitcher Max Fried and second baseman Jace Peterson) in the trade that send outfielder Justin Upton to San Diego. If Smith’s bat continues to grow, he refines his defense while flashing world class speed, the Tallahassee native could be roaming centerfield by the time the Braves make their debut in brand new SunTrust Park in 2017.
RF – Franmil Reyes  – LoA Fort Wayne  –  18 yo;  –  (2011 – International FA/DR)
  • .248 –  24 2B  – 11HR  –  59RBi  –  67R  –  .383/.608/.990   – PAG: 2.75
  • I’m among the vast majority who believes 2013 – 1st rounder Hunter Renfroe is a future star.  The 6’1 – 200 pounder is known as the classic right fielder profile. Huge power, will hit for solid average, strong arm and shows above average defense. The Mississippi State draftee has posted higher csPAG scores (2013: 3.26; 2014: 3.40) as he’s ascended through the ranks, making it all the way to AA San Antonio by mid-June last season. With San Diego’s new and improved outfield of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Will Myers, Renfroe will have another year to cook in the minors while Justin Upton hits free agency after the 2015 season. But this is UTR; and no one in the Padres organization screams UTR louder than Franmil Reyes. I aggressively tabbed Reyes as my 2012 UTR Breakout prospect over at MLBDepthCharts before he logged a professional at-bat. Here was Franmil’s bio. The mammoth 6’5 – 240 lb. teenager posted his first full season in 2014 and even though his stats didn’t jump off the page, you still have to take into consideration that he’s posted nearly 1000 at-bats in the minors already and he won’t turn 20 years old until early July. The chasm with Reyes is upon looking down through his career, he hasn’t posted that true breakout yet, leading some to think he won’t. I have to go with my gut, just like I did back in 2012, and state that things will click for Reyes sooner than later and the Padres will have a potential monster prospect on their hands. 

 

RHP Zach Eflin ranked tops in mentions (13) for the 2014 with the Padres but was traded to the LA Dodgers in December for Matt Kemp. RHP Joe Ross (9) would have been at the #3 spot, but was also involved in a trade that included 3-teams and was sent to the Nationals.

Top 5 Starting Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
1.RHP Colin Rea (13) SP/TPS .123 
  • 23 years old – (HiA Lake Elsinore)
  • 12th round – 2011
  • 2-Time UTR Mention – (April 21st, May 14th)
  • This season, Rea was given the opportunity to take the ball every fifth day and he made the most of it. It was the first time since being drafted in 2011 where he had a solid hold on a rotation spot, as the prior two seasons he split time as a reliever. He led the Lake Elsinore staff in wins (11), strikeouts, (118),starts (28), and posted a 11-9 record with 3.88 ERA.
 2. RHP Bryan Rodriguez(9) cSR/TPS .129
  • 22 years old – (HiA Lake Elsinore)
  • Undrafted – 2010
  • UTR Mention (May 16th)
  • Nothing eye-popping about Rodriguez who went 8-9 with a 4.16 ERA and strikeout 104, walked 46 over 149.1 innings. Steady performer.
3. RHP Kyle Lloyd(8) cSR/TPS .069
  • 23 years old – (LoA Fort Wayne)
  • 29th round – 2013
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (April 29th, July 12th, July 25th)
  • Lloyd had his splitter giving hitters in the Midwest League headaches this past season. He struck out a system-leading 155 in 119.2 innings and tied Blue Jay’s top pitching prospect Daniel Norris with a 23.9% strikeout-to-walk rate, tops for all minor league pitchers. In the last two months of the season, Lloyd sat down 90 hitters over 63.2 innings. He sets up his out-pitch with a low 90’s fastball.
4. RHP Michael Kelly(6) cSR/TPS .088
  • 21 years old – (Short-Season Eugene)
  • 1st round – 2011
  • Could Michael Kelly be catching a development wave that might get him back on track? The former 1st rounder has struggled as a relief pitcher, with control issues since becoming a pro, and was well on his way to becoming a organizational type. The reset button was hit and he was bumped back to Short-Season Eugene and placed in their rotation and took home team honors. 
5. RHP Adrian De Horta(5) cSR/TPS .129
  • 19 years old – (LoA Fort Wayne / Short-Season Eugene)
  • 8th round – 2013
  • 2014 UTR Breakout
  • De Horta’s control was off the charts over 2 levels in 2014. He ended the season with a 7.9 BB9 in giving up 68 walks over 77.1 innings. His TPS may have taken a huge leap (+.061) from his debut year, but still indicates to remain hopeful for the soon to be 20-year old’s future.
 
Top 3 Relief Pitchers – (Mention Points) / TPS
 
 1. LHP Brandon Alger(13) RP/TPS .071
  • 22 years old – (HiA Lake Elsinore)
  • 26th round – 2012
  • Assigned to Lake Elsinore’s bullpen for 2014, Alger settled into the closer role and converted 15 saves with a 2.70 ERA over 63.1 innings. Alger debuted with Short-Season Eugene in 2012 and went straight to the HiA Storm in 2013 where he made 9 starts in 37 appearances.
2. RHP Tayron Guerrero (9) RP/TPS .067
  • 23 years old – (LoA Fort Wayne / HiA Lake Elsinore)
  • Undrafted – 2009
  • Ranked 11th by Baseball Prospectus
  • A 6’7″ presence on the mound that can hit 100 mph frequently. The lanky right-hander still needs to work on his mechanics to sync with his large frame. He flashes a plus slider and with continued progress on the command of his fastball and the development of an off-speed offering will have him moving up the ladder.
3. RHP Bryan Verbitsky(7) cSR/TPS .066
  • 22 years old – (HiA Lake Elsinore / LoA Fort Wayne / Short-Season Eugene)
  • 3rd round – 2013
  • Verbitsky tumbled from HiA to Short-Season quickly to start the season, but mainly due to an undisclosed injury, as he was on the DL for the month of April. He returned in early May and was assigned to rehab at S-S Eugene’s bullpen and promptly become the closer. He converted 10 of 11 saves through 23 appearances.
 
Top 5 TPS – Starting Pitchers
 
 1. RHP Kyle Lloyd – cSR/TPS .069

  • 23 years old – (LoA Fort Wayne)
  • 29th round – 2013
  • 3-Time UTR Mention (April 29thJuly 12thJuly 25th)
  • Lloyd had his splitter giving hitters in the Midwest League headaches this past season. He struck out a system-leading 155 in 119.2 innings and tied Blue Jay’s top pitching prospect Daniel Norris with a 23.9% strikeout-to-walk rate, tops for all minor league pitchers. In the last two months of the season, Lloyd sat down 90 hitters over 63.2 innings. He sets up his out-pitch with a low 90’s fastball.
 2. RHP Michael Kelly – cSR/TPS .088

  • 21 years old – (Short-Season Eugene)
  • 1st round – 2011
  • Could Michael Kelly be catching a development wave that might get him back on track? The former 1st rounder has struggled as a relief pitcher, with control issues since becoming a pro, and was well on his way to becoming a organizational type. The re-set button was hit and he was bumped back to Short-Season Eugene and placed in their rotation and took home team honors. Kelly is fortunate to be young enough to start over.
3. RHP Elliot MorriscSR/TPS .095
  • 22 years old – (LoA Fort Wayne / HiA Lake Elsinore)
  • 4th round – 2013
  • Acquired from LAA where he would have ranked #2 in mentions with the Angels, Morris came to the Padres in the Huston Street deal. TJ surgery in the past has scouts predicting his future as a bullpen arm. He has a plus fastball that tops out at 96 mph along with a decent change-up and above-average slider
4. RHP Joel Linares cSR/TPS .104
  • 19 years old – (DSL Padres)
  • Undrafted – 2013
  • UTR Mention (June 7th)
  • Pedestrian numbers for his second season in the DSL
 
5. RHP Colin Rea – SP/TPS .107

  • 23 years old – (HiA Lake Elsinore)
  • 12th round – 2011
  • 2-Time UTR Mention – (April 21stMay 14th)
  • This season, Rea was given the opportunity to take the ball every fifth day and he made the most of it. It was the first time since being drafted in 2011 where he had a solid hold on a rotation spot, as the prior two season he split time as a reliever. He Lake Elsinore in wins (11), strikeouts, (118),starts (28), and posted a 11-9 record with 3.88 ERA.
 
Top 3 TPS – Relief Pitchers
 
 1. RHP Seth Lucio RP/TPS .050
  • 21 years old – (Short-Season Eugene)
  • 12th round – 2014
  • Nice debut year for the right-handed Lucio. Though he had some control issues (6.6 BB9), he showed promise that he could miss bats in striking out 46 over 27.1 innings.
 2. RHP Bryan Verbitsky – (7) cSR/TPS .066

  • 22 years old – (HiA Lake Elsinore / LoA Fort Wayne / Short-Season Eugene)
  • 3rd round – 2013
  • Verbitsky tumbled from HiA to Short-Season quickly to start the season, but mainly due to an undisclosed injury, as he was on the DL for the month of April. He returned in early May and was assigned to rehab at S-S Eugene’s bullpen and promptly become the closer. He converted 10 of 11 saves through 23 appearances.
3. RHP Tayron Guerrero  (9) RP/TPS .067

  • 23 years old – (LoA Fort Wayne / HiA Lake Elsinore)
  • Undrafted – 2009
  • Ranked 11th by Baseball Prospectus
  • A 6’7″ presence on the mound that can hit 100 mph frequently. The lanky right-hander still needs to work on his mechanics to sync with his large frame. He flashes a plus slider and continued progress on the command of his fastball and the development of an off-speed offering will have him moving up the ladder.
 
2014 Breakout Grades
 
The following pitchers were chosen in early March. Their selection was based solely on their previous season’s TPS rating and using the UTRMinors.com criteria for those under the radar.
 
 SP Adrian De Horta – Control issues aside, Im still holding on hope that De Horta and turn it around based on his TPS rate. Grade D
 
RP Trevor Gott – Gott was part of the Huston Street trade and was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels – Grade N/A

 

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