Randy Smith on the 2013 Eugene Emeralds

We caught up with Randy Smith, the Padres' Director of Player Development and International Scouting from his headquarters in Peoria, Arizona for the second segment of our six part interview on the top prospects in the system.

This week we take a look at the Eugene Emeralds who finished with the worst record in the system with most of the top picks going to the Arizona League.

Hunter Renfroe got most of the attention this season in the NWL. What did you see that you like and what does he still need to improve upon?

Randy Smith: He played a lot of baseball this year between Mississippi State and with us. There is a lot to like with Hunter. He is a strong kid, can run, throw and another guy with just a strong set of tools across the board.

There is nothing that really stands out as a major flaw in his game that playing and being around the Instructs won't help.

Ronnie Richardson came back and had a very good year in Eugene before being moved up to Lake Elsinore.

How is he similar and different from Mallex Smith in Fort Wayne?

Randy Smith: Mallex really has game changing speed while Ronnie has good, but not great speed. Ronnie had a good year in Eugene with a very good OBP and performed well; but they really are two different type of players.

Ryan Miller was up and down this year at the plate but from what I've read he looked good defensively.

What were your impressions?

Randy Smith: He has good arm strength but offensively his swing needs some work which we will address at Instructs. We like what we seen in Ryan behind the plate he is just relatively new to catching even though he played a two years in Junior College. He's a good player but right now kind of a raw piece of clay for us.

Can you give us an update on Donavan Tate's progress?

Randy Smith: Good, but he still has a lot of work to do. The biggest thing for Donovan this year was just getting out and answering the bell every day to play which he did.

As I said, he has a lot of work to do and we will see what happens.

Do you see Erik Shoenrock's future more as a starter or in the pen?

Randy Smith: In Fort Wayne there is a good chance we will go again with a six-man rotation and there is a chance one of them will be a piggyback. Erik is a little older and had a good year. He is probably one of the guys you could project that would be in the rotation.

How were you guys able to get Coby Cowgill and where do you see him going forward?

Randy Smith: We were really happy to get him. His fastball averaged 93 and he touched 97. His secondary stuff is average and for Coby its all about throwing it over the plate.

We were really curious about Tony Rizzotti who you got late in the draft from Tulane? Is he somewhat similar to Matt Stites?

Randy Smith: The big difference is that Rizzotti is a much bigger guy at 6'4" than Stites. He was primarily a starter at Tulane and has a plus fastball, a pretty good slider and at times a good change. He has a chance to have three good pitches so in that way he is like Stites.

He didn't pitch that many innings for Eugene this year so we still haven't really taken a good look at him.

Who is the sleeper of this group?

Randy Smith: That is a tough one. Maybe someone like Rizz or Richardson who we promoted later in the year.

Jimmy Brabosan kind of ran out of gas but he looked good early on. With him it will be about durability and repeating three good pitches.

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