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San Diego Padres Top 20 Prospects for 2010

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San Diego Padres Top 20 Prospects for 2010.

All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd!

1) Donavan Tate, OF, Grade B+: I'll trust the tools and San Diego's approach to hitting instruction with this one.

2) Simon Castro, RHP, Grade B+: Excellent arm with improving command, has come a long way since pitching poorly in rookie ball in 2007.

3) James Darnell, 3B, Grade B: A solid all-around hitter with good power and very good plate discipline.

4) Jaff "Commodore" Decker, OF, Grade B: If John Kruk and Matt Stairs can play in the majors, Jaff Decker can too, bad body or not.

5) Wynn Pelzer, RHP, Grade B: A personal favorite, he strikes people out and gets grounders with plus stuff. Really like him a lot.

6) Everett Williams, Grade B: As with Tate, I trust the tools and the Padres' ability to refine them.

7) Logan Forsythe, 3B, Grade B-: Joe Randa type, good plate discipline, good glove, perhaps not the power of a standard third baseman.

8) Edinson Rincon, 3B, Grade B-: Very impressive bat, but I want to see him at higher levels and his glove looks like a big problem at third. Future outfielder most likely.

9) Cory Luebke, LHP, Grade C+: Doesn't have the power stuff of Castro or Pelzer, but very polished.

10) Aaron Poreda, LHP, Grade C+: Command collapsed after the Peavy trade, cutting into his grade.

11) Lance Zawadski, SS, Grade C+: At worst he could be a very good utility guy, but there's some chance he could develop into a decent regular.

12) Rymer Liriano, OF, Grade C+: Very toolsy, hit well in the Arizona Rookie League but will need to improve his plate discipline.

13) Sawyer Carroll, OF, Grade C+: Hit .317/.413/.489 with 19 steals and 80 walks between the Midwest League, Cal League, and Texas League, but no one seems to have noticed. Production didn't drop at San Antonio.

14) Drew Cumberland, SS-2B, Grade C+: Can't stay healthy, but when on the field he's been very effective as an on-base threat. Young enough to turn out very well.

15) Kellen Kulbacki, OF, Grade C+: Gets an injury mulligan, but he needs a fast start in '10 to quiet the persistent doubters.

16) Adys Portillo, RHP, Grade C+: Bad rookie ball numbers, but could follow the Simon Castro career path.

17) Keyvius Sampson, RHP, Grade C+: Impressive athlete with a lively arm, one of my favorite high school pitchers from the '09 draft.

18) Jonathan Galvez, SS, Grade C+: Scouts are panning his glove but his bat looks solid to me, good plate discipline as with many Padres prospects.

19) Jerry Sullivan, RHP, Grade C+: Solid arm out of Oral Roberts, could rise quickly.

20) Eric Sogard, 2B, Grade C+: Gets on base, not punchless, defense is so-so but I like the bat enough to keep give him this grade

21) Jeremy Hefner, RHP, Grade C+: Someone I've liked since he was in college. Another guy with good components.

OTHERS: (all Grade C): Vince Belnome, 2B; Mitch Canham, C; Cesar Carrillo, RHP; Dexter Carter, RHP; Matt Clark, 1B; Luis Durango, OF; Allan Dykstra, 1B; Chris Fetter, RHP; Ernesto Frieri, RHP; Brandon Gomes, RHP; Nick Greenwood, LHP; Chad Huffman, OF; Cedric Hunter, OF; Will Inman, RHP; Craig Italiano, RHP; Jeremy McBryde, RHP; James Needy, RHP; Cesar Ramos, LHP; Jorge Reyes, RHP; Evan Scribner, RHP.

I felt this system was underrated entering 2009, and things are really looking up here. They've got a good mixture of polished bats and upside arms, and adding additional athletic upside in the '09 draft just makes things even better. Although they went with more athleticism at the top (Tate, Williams, Sampson) this year, they continued to draft polished college guys in the latter rounds, and I think this strategy will help them. It should also be noted that even the "skill" drafts before 2009 included good athletes like Darnell, Forsythe, Cumberland, Pelzer, and Zawadski. This was never a "tools don't matter" organization, no matter what people said.

A year from now things could look even better if Tate, Williams, and some of the lower level guys develop as expected. I should also note that there were several other guys that I could have written about: Brad Chalk, Blake Tekotte, Brad Brach, Anthony Bass, Erik Davis, Nick Schmidt, Nate Frieman, and others were considered. I might end up dropping Nick Greenwood and adding someone else, but there just isn't enough room for all of the Grade C guys who merit inclusion. The list I ended up with reflects a mixture of what I thought would interest people, including some guys who are closer to the majors but also putting in a few lower-level sleepers.

Overall, I really like this farm system.