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San Diego Padres Top 20 2015 PRE-SEASON prospects in review

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Cory Spangenberg
Cory Spangenberg
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Today we continue our summer reviews of the pre-season Top 20 Prospects lists with the San Diego Padres.

This is a review of the pre-season list.
It is not a new list.

These are the pre-season grades.

This list was originally published January 17, 2015

1) Hunter Renfroe, OF, Grade B+/B: Hitting .261/.311/.440 with 24 doubles, 17 homers, 33 walks, 120 strikeouts between Double-A and Triple-A. Impressive power, as expected, with significant contact issues, as expected. Could be an impact bat but not a sure thing yet.
2) Matt Wisler, RHP, Grade B+/B:
Traded to Atlanta Braves in spring training, 12 big league starts with 5.43 ERA, 41/23 K/BB in 65 innings, 80 hits. I think he can improve and become a reliable starter.
3) Rymer Liriano, OF, Grade B/B+:
Hitting .280/.375/.431 with 11 homers, 16 steals, 59 walks, 120 strikeouts in 425 at-bats. Decent season but not outstanding in PCL/El Paso context, 118 wRC+. Like Renfroe, he could be an impact guy but there are some questions to answer.
4) Austin Hedges, C, Grade B-/B:
Backup catcher most of season in majors, hitting .196/.240/.283 in 92 at-bats. Sharp defense as anticipated but not much of a hitter at this point, gradual improvement seems plausible but he’ll need playing time.
5) Michael Gettys, OF, Grade B-:
Hitting .231/.274/.356 with 18 steals in Low-A, wRC+81, 27 walks, 146 strikeouts in 455 at-bats. Fast, power potential is clear if you see him in person, but horrendous hitting approach renders natural tools ineffective at this point. Has time to improve at age 19.

6) Jose Rondon, SS, Grade B-:
Successful in High-A (.300/.360/.414, 17 steals in237 at-bats) not in Double-A (.190/.219/.230 in 100 at-bats before going down with fractured elbow. Fast, good glove, obviously needs more time in Double-A.
7) Zechariah Lemond, RHP, Grade B-:
Disappointing season in High-A, 5.66 ERA with 95/42 K/BB in 126 innings, 171 hits. Throws strikes and has eaten innings but hasn’t thrived in difficult Cal League, reportedly secondary pitches have stagnated.
8) Casey Kelly, RHP, Grade C+:
5.09 ERA with 63/37 K/BB in 87 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 99 hits. Even when healthy his performance didn’t quite match his reputation but years of injuries seem to have taken their toll. Turns 26 in October.
9) Franchy Cordero, SS, Grade C+:
Hitting .242/.291/.309 with five homers, 22 steals, 29 walks, 115 strikeouts in 443 at-bats in Low-A. Shortstop defense horrible (20 errors in 23 games), has spent most of the year in the outfield but bat won’t play there without major improvements.
10) Cory Spangenberg, INF-OF, Grade C+
: Hitting .256/.311/.362 with 16 walks, 48 strikeouts in 199 at-bats in the majors playing multiple positions. A bench asset at this point but could improve further.

11) Tayron Guerrero, RHP, Grade C+:
Combined 3.29 ERA with 55/28 K/BB in 52 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 40 hits, 13 saves in 15 attempts. Throws very hard, command erratic, relief asset if that comes around.
12) Alex Dickerson, OF-1B, Grade C+:
Hitting .314/.381/.514 with 34 doubles, 12 homers, 45 walks, 90 strikeouts in 440 at-bats in Triple-A, wRC+136. A solid hitter looking for at-bats, nothing left to prove in the minors.
13) Taylor Lindsey, 2B, Grade C+:
Hitting .188/.285/.287 with 35 walks, 49 strikeouts in 261 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A, has made no progress with the bat in the last two years. Hard to believe he was a supplemental first round pick by the Angels in 2010.
14) Jordan Paroubeck, OF, Grade C+:
Traded to Braves then traded to Dodgers, hitting .269/.358/.398 with 13 walks, 28 strikeouts in 93 at-bats in rookie ball. He’s barely played so it is hard to tell much, switch-hitter with well-regarded tools, age 20, needs to play.
15) Franmil Reyes, OF, Grade C+:
Hitting .236/.303/.361 with 42 walks, 88 strikeouts in 416 at-bats in Low-A. Repeating the league and has made no progress; he hit .248/.301/.368 at the same level last year. Young at 20 but needs a step forward.

16) Rafael De Paula, RHP, Grade C+:
4.77 ERA in 117 innings in High-A, 122/45 K/BB, 117 hits, 4.54 FIP. Has been much more effective since switching to bullpen (1.53, 22/4 in 18) and that’s likely his role going forward.
17) Fernando Perez, 2B-3B, Grade C+:
Hitting .218/.282/.355 with 10 homers, 33 walks, 106 strikeouts in 408 at-bats in High-A, very disappointing for the Cal League. Has legitimate pop but held back by shaky strike zone judgment.
18) Seth Streich, RHP, Grade C+:
Hasn’t pitched this year.
19) Elliot Morris, RHP, Grade C+:
4.98 ERA with 71/44 K/BB in 98 innings in Double-A, 117 hits, went on disabled list in late July. Can hit 95 but secondaries, command did not draw good reviews in Texas League.
20) Ryan Butler, RHP, Grade C+:
3.90 ERA with 40/23 K/BB in 65 innings, 69 hits between High-A, Double-A, and a rookie ball rehab outing. Has been clocked as high as 100 but results don’t match arm strength.

A 62-64 record was not what the Padres hoped for after dismantling the roster over the winter to make an immediate playoff run. Unfortunately "Win with veterans now" hasn’t worked and many prospects were sent elsewhere as A.J. Preller sought to remake the organization in his desired mold. Exports have thrived (Joe Ross, Trea Turner, Matt Wisler) and would look good in San Diego right now.

Player development news with the holdovers hasn’t been too wonderful though there are a few bright spots. Cory Spangenberg and Austin Hedges have shown some value in reserve roles, though it remains to be seen if they will hit enough to become regulars in time. Right-hander Colin Rea went from anonymous Grade C prospect to Double-A dominance, an inning in the Futures Game, and eventually a spot in the major league rotation thanks to improvement with his command and enhanced secondary pitches.

Outfielder Travis Jankowski hit .335/.413/.425 with 32 steals in the high minors and is now in San Diego. Although many of the highest-profile tools players have fizzled, shortstop Ruddy Giron is an exception, hitting .295/.343/.426 in the Midwest League at age 18. Right-hander Cory Mazzoni (acquired from the Mets after this list was written last spring) took well to relief in the high minors but was hit hard in a major league trial. Right-hander Dinelson Lamet can hit 95 and is pitching well in the Midwest League (2.93, 115/42 in 101). A new acquisition to watch: reliever Jon Edwards just came over from Texas for Will Venable and can find a bullpen role in the majors soon with a mid-90s fastball.

The 2015 draft class focused on pitching at the top with right-hander Austin Smith (second round) and right-hander Jacob Nix (third round) having the size and strength to be workhorse starters, though both will need development time. Fourth round catcher Austin Allen out of Florida Tech destroyed NCAA Division II pitching but has struggled in pro ball (.213/.292/.296 in the Northwest League). Seventh round RHP Trevor Megill out of Loyola Marymound is very polished and could move through the system rapidly.

It will be interesting to see how much and in what direction the Padres change course this winter.