MadFriars' Top 20 for 2012

Sampson is number one for 2012

Since Jeff Moorad assumed operational control of the Padres in 2009 his group has perceived the way to success through one path; the development of a productive farm system. While nearly anyone that would run the Padres would repeat this same mantra for a franchise with a limited local television market, but Moorad also backed up his statements with his money.

First, under his new General Manager Jed Hoyer and his assistant, Jason MacLeod, the new director of Scouting and Player Development, the Padres built up their infrastructure by hiring more scouts and cross-checkers to provide the decision makers with more and better information.

Second, the draft would now be about taking impact players, which frequently meant high school players with significantly more leverage, risks and costs. Moorad fired his first shot across the bow by drafting and signing Donavan Tate for over $6 million dollars, a pick that would have been unimaginable under former owner John Moores and his president Sandy Alderson.

Alderson and Director of Scouting and Player Development Grady Fuson deserve credit for transforming San Diego from a major league team to a major league organization. They implemented a systematic organizational approach as compared to the individual fiefdoms that characterized former General Manager Kevin Tower's tenure.

They brought in Bud Black to replace Bruce Bochy as manager, who was much more open to playing and developing younger players, a necessity for an organization that has trouble hanging onto its own players let alone signing expensive free agents.

Where Alderson and Fuson fell short was in discounting the role of athleticism when compared to raw ability. To readers of the popular book Moneyball, they embodied the philosophy that knowing how to throw a good changeup was more important than velocity and that patient non-power hitters with questionable defensive ability were more important than "toolsy" picks that non-quantitative scouts tended to favor.

The result were players who were intelligent and got the most out of their ability but were overmatched on the major league level because of a lack of athletic ability to propel their performance to the next level.

"If you aren't going to sign superstars in free agency, you have to get them in the draft if you are going to have a chance to win," said Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein.

"You have to be willing to swing and miss."

The new regime continued to support Alderson's ideas of vertical integration between the major and minor league operations but it also tweaked the underlying philosophy. Gone were the requirements that all starting pitchers had to throw twenty percent changeups which was replaced with a new emphasis on power arms and fastball command.

"We had guys that were throwing so many change-ups in the past we saw some decreases in velocity as opposed to now. The changeup is a great pitch, but you also have to use it appropriately," said Randy Smith, the Padres Vice-President of Development and International Scouting.

"Unless you have a major league average fastball, no matter how great your other pitches are, you are going to have a tough time pitching in the big leagues."

The position side saw the desire for players to become more aggressive at the plate and on the basepaths.

"The scouting department has done a good job of finding guys with the tools that fit PETCO; controlled aggression on the base paths and athleticism," said Smith.

"Most of the games we play are 2-1, 3-2 so if you can take that extra base it's going to translate into some wins by the end of the season."

Hoyer and MacLeod are now with the Cubs, but new GM Josh Byrnes and Chad MacDonald, the Director of Scouting also share the same philosophy as their predecessors in a acquiring young impact players. Six of the players in the top twenty were acquired by trading proven major league talent, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and pitchers Mike Adams and Mat Latos, for quality prospects. Others like center fielder Donavan Tate, pitcher Keyvius Sampson and catcher Austin Hedges were the result of a much more aggressive scouting/drafting philosophy backed up by a management willing to go over slot to get the signings done.

How good or how bad a system is can't really be answered on a annual basis. Players that are drafted take between three to five years to develop and the real answer to how effective a system is can only be determined by the success of the major league club.

While its uncertain what the future may hold for the Moorad Group, especially with their difficulties in assuming control from previous owner John Moores, they have backed up their words with actions in acquiring the best possible talent.

1. Keyvius Sampson Position: Starting Pitcher/RHP

Height/Weight: 6-1/210

Age: 21

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Fourth Round/2009

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BB HITSEARNED RUNS
TinCaps 12-3 2.90 118 143/29 8138

Sampson held the opposition to a .192 batting average.
2011 Highlights: In his first year of full-season ball, Sampson was everything the club could have hoped for and more. The athletic righty opened the year with a bang, striking out 10 hitters over six no-hit innings, and kept up the torrid pace all year. The Florida native led the organization in strikeouts by commanding a deceptive fastball and adding a plus changeup. This season the Midwest League had a robust .192 batting average against him.

Negatives: His curve and two-seam fastball are still works in progress.

Projection: Sampson is one of the many athletic pitchers in the system that can easily repeat his delivery but he does need a more consistent third pitch.

MadFriars' Assessment: He will begin the year at High-A Lake Elsinore and should be there for most of the year. Sampson's plus fastball command should allow his success with the Storm and confidence to improve his curve. He has significantly improved every year and there is no reason why he can't continue on the same path.

2. Robbie Erlin

Position: Starting Pitcher/LHP

Height/Weight: 6-0/175

Age: 21

Bats/Throws: L/L

How Acquired: Acquired from the Texas Rangers in 2011 for Mike Adams

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BB HITSEARNED RUNS
Overall6-23.5092.2 92/119936
Missions1-01.3826 31/4264

Erlin was good in Round Rock and even better in San Antonio.
2011 Highlights: Erlin is an artist on the mound, working his fastball to any spot at will. His four-seamer sits in the 89-92 MPH range which he commands to all four quadrants of the strike zone. His command and ability to change speeds on both his curve and change-up should make him into a very effective major league pitcher and as his statistics indicate, he doesn't walk anyone. He was especially tough with runners in scoring position holding the opposition to a .174 batting average.

Negatives: He catches a bit too much of the plate and doesn't have the ideal size for a starter. Projection: Erlin pretty much is what he is. He's not going to get any bigger and his mechanics are so clean right now he's unlikely to add velocity. The knock on him from the Rangers perspective was that he threw too many fly ball outs which isn't going to bother him in PETCO or the other pitcher friendly parks of the NL West.

MadFriars' Assessment: Coming into the season he seems the safest bet to be in the big leagues by mid-season. But the thin air of Tucson will be a test for him if he catches as much of the plate as he did in Texas.

3. Jedd Gyorko

Position: Third Base

Height/Weight: 5-10/205

Age: 23

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Second Round/2010

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Missions.288 .358.428258 26/5068 197
Storm.365.429.638378 38/64124 5518

Gyorko hit 25 home runs overall in LE/SA.
2011 Highlights: Gyorko had the most dominant half-season of anyone in the Padres' minor leagues in recent history. Along the way he answered a few questions from his stellar debut last season; he arrived 15 pounds lighter and hit with much more power than he showed in Fort Wayne and Eugene in 2010. His full season numbers between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio, .333/.400/.552 with 25 home runs and 114 RBIs. In the Arizona Fall League he hit. .437/.500/.704.

Negatives: Because of his lack of speed and quickness he is limited to third base, but probably could play second in a pinch. Projection: Gyorko improved his conditioning in the off-season but is still limited to third base and probably will never be a major power hitter because of his all fields approach. MadFriars' Assessment: Gyorko should start the year in San Antonio and if he produces again as he did last year he will be in Tucson quickly. He should make a serious push on Chase Headley for the everyday third baseman in 2013.

4. Yonder Alonso

Position: 1b

Height/Weight: 6-2/240

Age: 25

Bats/Throws: L/R

How Acquired: Acquired in trade for Mat Latos

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Reds.330.398.5459810/212995
Louisville.296.374.486404 46/60106 4012

Alonso hit .330 for the Reds in 2011.
2011 Highlights: Trapped behind all-star Joey Votto at first and subpar defensively in left field and third base, Alonso became expendable to the Reds. One thing, Alonso the former seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft can do is really hit as he showed in his call-up with the Reds. With the AAA Louisville Bats he put up solid, but not spectacular, numbers.

Negatives: Limited to first base and doesn't posses plus power for a first baseman.

Projection: At 25, he pretty much is what he is. Since turning pro he's gotten in better shape and has improved defensively.

MadFriars' Assessment: Alonso is more of a line drive hitter than Rizzo and will make better use of left and center fields. Padres GM Josh Byrnes believes that Alonso's game is better suited to PETCO than Rizzo, hence the reasons for the trade. Alonso is not the classic home run hitting first baseman but he does have good power to all fields, so PETCO plays to his gap power strengths.

5. Jaff Decker

Position: LF

Height/Weight: 5-10/190

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: L/L

How Acquired: Supplemental first round/2008

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Missions.236.373.417599103/1451175019

Decker had 92 RBIs for the Missions.
2011 Highlights: Decker had an up and down season with two especially bad months, May and July, that brought down his average. Otherwise he was the same player, borderline .300 batting average, borderline .400 on-base percentage and borderline .500 slugging percentage. He led the Texas League in walks but was also in the top three for strikeouts. On the positive side he finished in the top three in RBIs with 92 hitting .283/.429/.579 with runners in scoring position.

Negatives: Decker is not fat. After his first season with the Padres he has been a regular for off-season workouts at Athlete's Performance in Arizona. The Padres believe he is limited to left field but could have the arm to play right.

Projection: As Decker continues to refine his swing and approach the power numbers should increase. His increased athleticism also resulted in a career high 15 stolen bases in 20 attempts.

MadFriars' Assessment: With the trade of Carlos Quentin, Kyle Blanks should be pushed down to Tucson which means its likely Decker will begin the year again in San Antonio. Don't put too much stock in one bad batting average, this is still one of the better hitters in the organization.

6. Rymer Liriano

Position: Right/Center Field

Height/Weight: 6-0/215

Age: 21

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Signed from Dominican Republic, 2007

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Storm.127.213.182616/13720
TinCaps.319.383.49950247/951455012

Liriano was the MVP of the Midwest League.
2011 Highlights:In Fort Wayne Liriano provided a glimpse of the five-tool talent the Padres have been raving about since he was signed. The 2011 Midwest League MVP and was among the league leaders in league leaders in average, slugging, on-base percentage, hits, doubles, triples, runs scored and stolen bases and most impressively had 50 extra-base hits to go along with 65 stolen bases in 80 attempts.

Negatives: While he has improved tremendously in controlling his emotions on the field he still has a tendency to let bad at-bats or baserunning miscues linger. He can improve his stolen base percentage and really needs to just keep on playing in more games. He has a strong and powerful arm but it needs to be more accurate along with taking better routes.

Projection: While there's some concern that he'll lose some of his speed as he continues to fill out, he is also just beginning to harness his in-game power and could ultimately be a 30-30 threat while offering plus defense. In essence he is the ideal right fielder for PETCO.

MadFriars' Assessment: Most Dominican players have played far less organized baseball than their American counterparts despite signing at very young ages. Liriano easily has the highest ceiling of anyone in the organization but is also one of the farthest away. Two straight years the Padres have tried to jump him a level, both years they have demoted him where he ended up having good seasons. This year start him in Lake Elsinore and leave him there. He is a few years away, but it is worth the wait.

7. Cory Spangenberg

Position: 2b

Height/Weight: 6-0/185

Age: 20

Bats/Throws: L/R

How Acquired: First Round/2011

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
TinCaps.286.345.365203 14/4254 102
Emeralds.384.545.535118 31/1633 111

Spangenberg had a .545 OBP in Eugene.
2011 Highlights: Thought by many to be more of a signability pick, the sophomore out of Indian River JC in Florida had as a good a debut as anyone in baseball. In twenty-five games with the Emeralds he reached base in every game with thirty-three hits and thirty-one base on balls. When you had a .545 on-base percentage there are quite a few statistics someone can pull out but in 25 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and two outs he hit .600. After a slow start in Fort Wayne he hit .350/.402/.485 in August. Overall he hit .316/.419/.418 to go along with 25 stolen bases in 33 attempts.

Negatives: Although he has the speed and quickness his defense, especially his footwork, at second needs work.

Projection: Once his defense improves and learns to turn on the inside pitch a little more this could be a truly special player.

MadFriars' Assessment: He will open the season in Lake Elsinore and after Instructs and a full spring training at second, the defensive rough edges should be smoothed out. At the plate the hard infields of the Cal League will play into his game and he could put up better numbers than Gyorko last year.

8.Joe Wieland

Position: Starting Pitcher/RHP

Height/Weight: 6-3/175

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Acquired from the Texas Rangers in 2011 for Mike Adams

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BB HITSEARNED RUNS
Overall7-11.8070 54/175819
Missions3-12.7726 18/6238

Wieland had a 1.80 ERA in the Texas League.
2011 Highlights: If Wieland and Erlin pan out this could go down as one of the best trades the Padres have ever made. Wieland was every bit as good as the higher ranked Erlin and like him, also pounds the strike zone. The difference between both of these pitchers and other "strike throwers" of past Padres' prospects is they pound the zone with 90 MPH velocity. Wieland has slightly more velocity than Erlin and is bit more of a physical presence. He has a curve and a change to go along with the an occasional slider.

Negatives: He's good with three above-average pitches, but none is considered a truly plus pitch.

Projection: His stuff is above-average across the board, and he clearly understands the difference between throwing and pitching. If his slider continues to develop it will be a nice addition to go along with his other three pitches.

MadFriars' Assessment: Erlin, Wieland and Casey Kelly are all good reasons why Edison Volquez and his $3.2 million dollar contract will be moved at mid-season; but it won't be a payroll dump. At a minimum one of these three guys will be ready and better.

9.Yasmani Grandal

Position: C

Height/Weight: 6-2/205

Age: 23

Bats/Throws: B/R

How Acquired: Acquired in trade for Mat Latos

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Louisville.500 .667.667175/1620
Carolina.301.360.474169 13/3947 194
Bakersfield.296.410.510247 41/5761 2410

A 2010 draft pick Grandal made it to AAA last season.
2011 Highlights: Another top first round draft pick that was blocked and found a nice home in San Diego. With Devin Mesoraco set to ascend to the big leagues with the Reds Grandal became available for the right price. A star at the University of Miami who forced current Missions' catcher Jason Hagerty to first base, Grandal is considered more of an offensive catcher with the ability to spray hits to all fields from both sides of the plate. In AA Carolina he hit .359 with runners in scoring position.

Negatives: There are some, particularly ESPN's Keith Law, who question his ability to handle better velocity behind the plate.

Projection: A 2010 first round draft pick, Grandal only has 465 plate appearances as a pro, but if he can stay behind the plate a switch-hitting catcher with some power is going to have value.

MadFriars' Assessment: He will begin and likely stay for the full year in AAA Tucson. Working with former big league catcher, Tucson manager Terry Kennedy should be a great asset for him. Remember, the bat should be there but with Grandal its his defense that will determine when he arrives in San Diego.

10.Casey Kelly

Position: Starting Pitcher/RHP

Height/Weight: 6-3/200

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Traded for Adrian Gonzalez in 2010 from Boston

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BBHITSEARNED RUNS
Missions11-63.9827105/4615363

Kelly may have the biggest ceiling of any Padres' pitcher.
2011 Highlights: In his second full year as a pitcher the most impressive aspect of his performance was taking the ball for twenty-seven starts and showing he had the durability to pitch nearly one hundred and fifty innings. The stuff is there, a very good sinker combined with a four-seam fastball that can be dialed up to 95 with the same easy motion. What intrigues so many about Kelly is the controlled movement he generates off of his sinker making it very difficult for the opposition to get the barrel of the bat on the ball.

Negatives: Occasionally he will catch too much of the plate, especially when he is ahead in the count. The Padres have been working with Kelly on how to pitch outside the strike zone to get batters to chase.

Projection: His superior athleticism allows him to easily repeat his delivery. As he learns to command his secondary pitches better his ceiling as high as anyone in the organization.

MadFriars' Assessment: His performance continues to lag behind his prodigious talent and athleticism, but many observers remain convinced he's not far from putting it all together and becoming a reliable big league starter. He will need to miss more bats when he works in the thin air of the PCL's western circuit, but Kelly remains an intriguing talent.

11. Anthony Bass

Position: Starting Pitcher/RHP

Height/Weight: 6-2/200

Age: 24

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Fifth Round, 2008 Draft

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BB HITSEARNED RUNS
Padres2-01.6848.1 24/21419
Missions6-43.7513 62/216229

Bass was 9-3 for the TinCaps in 2009.
2011 Highlights: Every year Bass has improved with a particular spike in his velocity that was touching 98 in San Antonio earlier in the year. He usually sits around 93 to 94 MPH with his four-seamer and also has a decent slider that is a little tighter with more velocity than most. If his changeup comes around he has a chance to be a starter.

Negatives: He needs a third pitch and better command with his fastball.

Projection: If the command can grow with the improved velocity, there is something to see. MadFriars' Assessment: Its unclear whether the Padres see him as a relief pitcher or a starter. If they want to continue his development as a starter he could begin the year in Tucson. If its in the pen he could stay up with the big club.

12. James Darnell

Position: Third Base/Left Field

Height/Weight: 6-3/200

Age: 25

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Second Round/2008

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Padres.222.294.333505/71031
T-Padres.261.344.42515016/3035 106
Missions.333.434.60434052/4896 4317

Darnell rebounded from a subpar 2010 with a big season in San Antonio.
2011 Highlights: Coming off of a hand injury to his non-throwing hand in 2010, Darnell had a huge year in San Antonio. Surprisingly he struggled in Tucson, especially against right-handed pitching where he hit .187, before going to San Diego where his season ended early with shoulder surgery. When he's on, the athletic Darnell can hit to all fields and has some serious pop. His defense, once considered a weak point in his game has improved.

Negatives: He has a tendency to expand the strike zone which will be exploited by quality pitching. Although he is a good athlete is still considered an average defender.

Projection: A quality athlete but at twenty-five he pretty much is who he is as a baseball player. Unfortunately he has been beset by nagging injuries the past two years.

MadFriars' Assessment: Darnell is in a tough spot with Chase Headley above him and Jedd Gyorko below him. The outfield is a possibility but its also pretty crowded out there too and the Padres seem to have tired of having on the job training in left field.

13. Austin Hedges

Position: C

Height/Weight: 6-1/190 lbs.

Age: 19

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Second Round/2011

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
AZL.313.500.500215/1511

2011 Highlights: Hedges was thought to have an iron-clad commitment to UCLA but the Padres stepped up and gave him a reported $3 million dollar bonus to change his mind. Baseball America reported that many scouts believe that Hedges is the best high school backstop to come out of the Southern California area in the past decade. What surprised the Padres, both in his short stint in the AZL and in the Instructs, where he was the offensive MVP, is that he is a much better hitter than most believed.

Negatives: The big questions going into the draft were on Hedges' bat and his tendency to be overaggressive at the plate.

Projection: A plus defender at a premium defensive position that can hit with power.

MadFriars' Assessment: By all indications the Padres are going to start him off in Fort Wayne, which is a big challenge for a player a few months removed from high school. Dealing with the cold weather, competing against players two and three years older and the transformation of becoming a professional baseball player for 140 + games a season is a challenge. But the organization believes as strongly in his character as they do his talent.

14. Brad Brach

Position: Relief Pitcher/RHP

Height/Weight: 6-5/210

Age: 25

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: 42nd Round/2008

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BB HITSEARNED RUNS
Padres0-25.147 11/1194
T-Padres1-33.9027.230/72812
Missions2-22.254464/53211

Brach was a 42nd round draft pick of the Padres in 2008.
2011 Highlights: Brach did what he always has done since joining the organization in 2008; dominate. After leading the Texas League in saves he was promoted in July to Tucson and after a bit of rough start he picked up where he left off. Every year his velocity has improved but his calling card is still his impeccable control; the ability to place a four-seam fastball on the outside corner.

Negatives: Good right-handed hitters that sit on the outside pitch and try to serve it to the opposite field have a chance against him especially when he is reluctant to throw his splitter inside.

Projection: He has improved his velocity but if his inside splitter comes along that can take him up another level.

MadFriars' Assessment: Brach, who arguably is the most successful closer the Padres have ever had in the minor leagues with 112 saves and 283 strikeouts in 223 innings pitched during his four year minor league career. He now throws consistently in the mid-90s and can even touch 96 MPH and should break camp with the big club.

15. Donavan Tate

Position: Center Field

Height/Weight: 6-3/200

Age: 21

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: First Round/2009

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
TinCaps.316.435.421234/3620
Emeralds.283.406.40915225/3236 120

Tate had a .400 OBP at both Fort Wayne and Eugene.
2011 Highlights: Tate, the third overall pick in the 2009 draft, has obviously not lived up to his selection but he hasn't been the bust that many also consider him. A two-sport star who turned down a football scholarship to University North Carolina, Tate was always more of an athlete than a baseball player. This past season, despite injuries and a monthlong suspension he showed flashes of the five-tool player with his biggest improvement coming with much better pitch recognition. He was just a few plate appearances short of qualifying for the Northwest League's best on-base percentage and stole 17 bases in 22 attempts.

Negatives: He needs to play. In two and half years in the organization he has yet to play 40 games in a season.

Projection: The tools and the athleticism are still there and the baseball skills, which have showed major improvement in the Instructional Leagues and Spring Training, are starting to come.

MadFriars' Assessment: It can't be overstated enough how big a year this will be for Donovan Tate. Ideally he should be the starting center fielder for the Storm but much will depend on what he shows in the spring since he missed the Instructs recovering from his wrist injury.

16.Blake Tekotte

Position: Center fielder

Height/Weight: 5-11/190

Age: 25

Bats/Throws: L/R

How Acquired: 3rd Round/2008

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Padres.176.263.265384/21620
Missions.285.393.49848167/108118 4819

Tekotte had 19 HRs and 36 stolen bases for the Missions.
2011 Highlights: Bouncing back and forth between San Antonio and San Diego five times this year Tekotte still put together the best season of his career in the Texas league with 48 extra-base hits and 36 stolen bases in 48 attempts. He has good speed and an improved arm but he enhances his range with quality reads in center. Best statistic; he hit .345 with runners in scoring position and two outs for the Missions.

Negatives: The cliche he has enough power to get in trouble applies to Blake. He needs to maintain his power while cutting down on his strikeouts but its really tough to ding someone with a .393 on-base percentage.

Projection: He has the blend the Padres want to see, speed, power and plus defense.

MadFriars' Assessment: He'll be the everyday centerfielder in Tucson and if San Diego continues to show its preference for having two plus outfielders in PETCO he could have a chance.

17.Juan Oramas

Position: Starting Pitcher/LHP

Height/Weight: 5-10/215

Age: 22

Bats/Throws: L/L

How Acquired: Signed in Mexico, 2007

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BB HITSEARNED RUNS
Missions10-53.10104.2102/289936

Oramas in Peoria during Instructs.
2011 Highlights: On a roster that posted the highest strikeout and lowest walk totals in the Texas League, the Oramas posted the best strikeout and base-on-balls rates of any starter who worked fifty innings.Under-appreciated by many prospect mavens because of his body type and a career trajectory that included a year pitching in Mexico City, he continues to put up impressive numbers at every stop. The lefty's 3.10 ERA paced the rotation throughout the year as he crossed 100 innings pitched threshold. Oramas throws a fastball, change and a decent slider on which he can change speeds and arm angles.

Negatives: Two-fifteen and five-foot ten is not the ideal stature for a starting pitcher.

Projection: Right now he throws three average to plus pitches with fastball that tops out around 94 MPH; but that doesn't really tell the whole story. His success lays in his ability to disrupt batters's timing by throwing all three of his pitches at a variety of speeds and constantly changing their sight lines with different release points.

MadFriars' Assessment: On a staff with Erlin, Kelly and Wieland he will be the under the radar starter. But as he did last year, he just might outperform all three again.

18.Matt Lollis

Position: Starting Pitcher/RHP

Height/Weight: 6-9/285

Age: 21

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: 15th round/2009

TeamW-L ERAIP K/BB HITSEARNED RUNS
Storm4-85.35119.1114/4513571

6'9" Matt Lollis hit the learning curve in Lake Elsinore.
2011 Highlights: The Cal League is a brutal place to pitch with the high winds that send many fly balls over the fence and the hard infields that make routine ground outs into base hits. While at first look a 5.35 ERA and a losing record doesn't do much for anyone, the minors, especially for pitchers are much more about development than performance particularly at this level. Lollis has always been a strike thrower and for much of the year he simply caught too much of the plate but still managed nearly a strikeout per inning. When he is on, his ball is very hard to hit because of the downward trajectory he is able to generate because of his height.

Negatives: As do many taller pitchers he experienced some mechanical problems with his delivery. Also his breaking pitch, a slider, will have to get better.

Projection: He is 6'9", sits in the mid-90's and can touch 97 MPH. I think that qualifies as "high".

MadFriars' Assessment: San Antonio will be a much better place for him to pitch and having a full season of professional baseball under his belt should greatly aid Lollis' development. There is still some uncertainty whether his future lays as a starter or out of the pen but he is going to have to pitch his way out of the rotation for that to happen.

19. Brad Boxberger

Position: Relief Pitcher/RHP

Height/Weight: 6-2/200

Age: 23

Bats/Throws: R/R

How Acquired: Acquired in trade for Mat Latos

TeamW-LERAIP K/BBHITSEARNED RUNS
Louisville1-22.932836/15169
Carolina1-21.313457/13165

Boxberger was a number one draft pick out of USC in 2009.
2011 Highlights: A former first round pick out of USC, the Reds moved Boxberger to the bullpen midway through his first year and has thrived there. He is the classic reliever in that his success relies mostly upon a four-seam fastball that he can throw in the low 90s with some cutting action.

Negatives: By most reports, his secondary pitches need work. Also he can get a little wild at times with his fastball. Projection: What he is now should be good enough to pitch in middle relief in the major leagues. If he can refine his command and develop either a better slider or changeup he will find much more success and longevity.

MadFriars' Assessment: With the losses of Heath Streak and Mike Adams, San Diego in the off-season has quietly been stocking quality bullpen arms. Boxberger should vie with Brad Brach for one of the final spots in the Padres' bullpen this season.

20.Vince Belnome

Position: 2b/3b/1b

Height/Weight: 6-1/210 lbs.

Age: 24

Bats/Throws: L/R

How Acquired: 28th round/2009

TeamAVGOBPSLG PA BB/KHitsXBH HR
Missions.333.432.60331447/5989 3717

Belnome at Instructs in Peoria.
2011 Highlights: If Belnome hadn't missed nearly six weeks of the season with abdominal and groin injuries he may have been the player of the year. The former college teammate of Jedd Gyorko is similar to his fellow Mountaineer in that he is extremely disciplined at the plate, in the past almost too much. This season in San Antonio he became more aggressive in looking for his pitch and punished the Texas League hitting .409/.610/.807 when he was ahead in the count.

Negatives: The Padres moved him over to second from third and he had a much better year defensively than in 2010. Third is crowded place in the organization and if he is going to continue at second he will have to improve his range.

Projection: If Belnome can increase his athleticism, particularly on lateral movement, he could have a chance at second. Then again if he puts up the offensive numbers he did last year for a full season, as opposed to 75 games, the bat is going to play in a lot of places.

MadFriars' Assessment: In normal situations, a promotion to AAA Tucson after the season he had would be automatic. But with Logan Forsythe, Andy Parrino and Everth Cabrera competing for one spot on the big league roster, its not clear if the Padres will start him in Tucson or San Antonio. Belnome showed up at camp in the best shape of his career and with his bat he should be able to push his way into the Pacific Coast League.

Compiled and written by John Conniff, David Jay and Ben Davey

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