Alfredo Fernandez went 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA over 52 appearances with the Fort Wayne Wizards. In 65.1 innings he has allowed 61 hits, walked 13 and struck out 45. The opposition hit .243 off him with three homers.
“He just has to command his fastball a little bit better down and stay on his slider,” 2006 Fort Wayne pitching coach Tom Bradley said. “He has the makings of a very good slider. He had a consistent year from start to finish and dint really have any games where he was wild, being erratic and walking guys.”
This spring, however, his mid-90s fastball was just touching 90 MPH and the Padres were wary of his commitment (he has come in overweight in the past). He worked in Venezuela during the off-season but the progress the Padres expected wasn't there.
"Mechanics and the slider," Fernandez said of what he was working on during the off-season. "I worked in winter ball on the changeup. I throw a lot of two-seamers now to get ground balls."
Michael Wagner, a fifth-round selection by the Giants in 2003, has a career .275 minor league average over four seasons. He hit .284 with 15 doubles, eight homers, and 42 RBIs last season for High-A San Jose, drawing 15 walks and whiffing 81 times.
He will likely repeat High-A this year, although the rosters will officially be set on Sunday.
The Padres also signed left-hander John Gragg. Gragg was originally a ninth-round selection by the Kansas City Royals in 2003.
Gragg has a career record of 28-28 with a 4.20 ERA over 499.1 innings. He split last season between High-A and Double-A, seeing the majority of his time with High Desert where he compiled a 8-9 record with a 4.29 ERA over 130 innings.
Gragg may begin the year in Lake Elsinore - his third year in High-A.