MadFriars' Interview with BP's Jason Parks

Jason Parks is the lead writer for Baseball Prospectus on all things related to prospects, the draft and development in general.

In true twenty-first century fashion Jason opines on this and many other subjects via twitter, the web and on his podcast.

He was kind enough to take some time out of his day and answer a few questions on the state of the Padres' system for 2013 on the day his Top10 appeared on BP.

How does the Padres' system stack up to others in baseball?

Jason Parks : At this point in the process I am just getting started on the National League but I do have some idea how everyone stacks up. I would put the Pares somewhere in the middle. The big problem that they always have is with injuries, especially with some of the arms that that they have lost in the past.

This year I really liked the AZL squad, so they do have some guys coming in the pipeline. The problem is they are going to graduate quite a few of their quality pitchers pretty quick so we are going to find out how good the 2011, 2012 and 2013 drafts really were.

How well some of the guys from the very talented Fort Wayne staff of 2013 - Max Fried, Zach Eflin and Walker Weickel step up will go far in determining their success down the road.

Who surprised you most about the Padres' system last year?

Jason Parks: Peoria is right by where I stay in spring training and for the Arizona League and the Arizona Fall League; so I've gotten to see quite a bit of them. The easiest answer to that question is Matt Wisler. He had a very good year in Fort Wayne in 2012 but then he shows up in spring training throwing between 95 and 98 MPH and all of us are like, Wow!

You sometimes see this in spring and then the guy doesn't carry it over into the regular season but that didn't happen. He tore up the Cal League and went onto have a very good season in AA San Antonio at twenty years old.

Lionel Campos also looked good with his really funky delivery. The bottom seems to fall out of his breaking ball. He also missed a big amount of bats this year in San Antonio.

I also liked what I saw from shortstop Jace Peterson. He was a multi-sport athlete in college and I thought he really improved his feel for the game. He doesn't have crazy loud tools but he can make them work. As he keeps playing more baseball we are starting to see more nuance in his game.

Can he stay at shortstop?

Jason Parks: I think he can stay there. Will he be an impact guy defensively? No, I don't think so but his bat has a chance to make up any of the deficiencies. He has the arm to play there and a chance to become an average major league shortstop. Any organization that can develop a solid major league player is a win.

Who was the biggest disappointment?

Jason Parks: I'm going to be overly critical, and maybe a little unfair, but to me it's Max Fried just because the amount of talent that he has. I have him as the number three prospect in the system and one of the top one hundred in baseball, so my expectations are pretty high.

When you have his athletic ability, are left-handed and have the ability to throw three quality pitches I thought I would see a little more domination of the Midwest League.

Zach Eflin had a good year but I also think at times he didn't show enough feel. Also, Joe Ross has a great body but his fastball plays a little soft. He seems to rely upon more weak contact than swing and miss. As with the two others, he didn't have a bad season but with his talent you would expect to see a little more.

When I look at the Padres' system - a lot of pitching and if, and I know this is a big if, if Liriano and Renfroe come along - it could be really good.,p> Jason Parks: Both of them do have a lot of talent. Liriano has had some bad luck with injuries along with some inconsistency. One of the things that I really like about him is that he always comes back from whatever injury or performance setback. Some players really struggle when coming back from a setback but Rymer bounces right back with the same attitude and work ethic.

Liriano has a strong arm and good power it's just sometimes they don't show up in the games as much as you would like. Renfroe has a little more power and is a little more polished and has many of the same tools as Liriano. The ability is there with both of them; they just need a little more refining.

As you said, you get to watch a lot of the Arizona League. What did you think of Franchy Cordero?

Jason Parks: I really like him a lot and he just missed the Top 10. He's an up the middle player with a chance to stick at shortstop. He's a bigger athletic guy who has the actions to play at short. At the plate he has a nice stroke and can hit for some game power right now. It's going to be interesting to see that he can do in a full-season league.

Who else impressed you on that AZL team?

Jason Parks: It was really a pretty good collection of talent especially from the offensive side. {Franmil} Reyes is an interesting guy but right now he's in the mode of "let me see how far I can hit the ball too much." The infield with Cordero, Jake Bauers, Josh VanMeter and Dustin Peterson was interesting. I think Peterson can stay at third, liked what I saw of Van Meter and Bauers has a very nice swing that should generate more power this year. On the mound I liked Adrian de Horta. I think his fastball is going to keep coming and he has a chance with two good secondary pitches.

I know he was old for the league but Pete Kelich just had some unbelievable statistics particularly a strikeout to walk ratio of 69 strikeouts against a single walk in 58 innings.

Jason Parks: I didn't get a chance to see him but I have heard good things about Kelich. I tend to fall in "love" with the six-foot-three and six-foot-four, 180 lbs. to 190 lbs. guys that can control their bodies. But a lot of times the guys that are between six feet and six-foot-two are better athletes and can repeat their deliveries better.

With Kelich I don't think he knows how to throw a ball and I would like to see how well he does in a higher league. If you can locate one pitch, you can pitch in A ball. If you can do it with two you will be in AA with a chance to go to the major leagues. If he can do three, then he is going to have a long and productive career in the major leagues.

That is what makes it fun, you never really know until they get out there.

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