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Prospect Note: Tommy Medica, 1B, San Diego Padres

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With two homers in his first 10 major league games, San Diego Padres prospect Tommy Medica looks to stand out in his September audition.

Tommy Medica
Tommy Medica
Justin K. Aller

San Diego Padres prospect Tommy Medica didn't show up on many pre-season prospect lists, but he had a strong 2013 season in Double-A and has knocked two homers in his first 10 major league games since being promoted for the September stretch run.

Medica was a successful college hitter at Santa Clara. He hit .342/.408/.509 with good reviews for his defense behind the plate in 2008, but a severe shoulder injury cost him most of 2009 and made his future as a catcher quite doubtful. He returned to hit .386/.464/.667 with 13 homers and 15 steals in 2010, but was used mainly as an outfielder. This was enough to get him drafted in the 14th round.

He split '11 between Low-A Fort Wayne (.268/.366/.465, wRC+139 in 44 games) and High-A Lake Elsinore (.302/.440/.504, wRC+144 in 42 games), showing power and good strike zone judgment at both levels, used primarily as a first baseman. More injuries limited him to 93 games for Lake Elsinore in 2012, but he was extremely productive in those 93 games, hitting .330/.406/.623 with 19 homers, wRC+161.

Despite his outstanding hitting record in A-ball, he was left off most prospect lists entering 2013 due to his age (25 in April), history of injuries, and position. He got hurt again this year, limited to 76 games for Double-A San Antonio with a strained lat, but he continued to rip the ball, hitting .296/.372/.582 with 18 homers, wRC+165.

Medica is a 6-1, 190 pound right-handed hitter and thrower, born April 9, 1988. He can pull the ball for power but isn't a strictly pull type and will drive the ball the opposite way on occasion. His swing was critiqued as being too long when he was younger and scouts weren't sure it would work against advanced pitching, but so far he's done fine.

He's kept his strikeout rates at a reasonable level, and as noted his production has been excellent in relative terms at each level. He lost nothing when he reached Double-A, and San Antonio isn't the easiest place to hit. The former backstop is solid enough as a first base defender, has been used in the outfield, and could probably still catch temporarily in an emergency.

He turns 26 next spring and is too old to be a hyped prospect, but Medica should not be overlooked. He has a shot at being a useful player due to his power.