On 7/1 I had 12 guys rated “should” protect, including Brooks Conrad @ #11. In reality, even with a purge of current roster, these guys can’t/won’t all be protected: 1) Tayron Guerrero RP: He can throw 100+ MPH and has finally found control; simple as that. Old for Lake Elsinore. Another good month & he’s a lock. 2) James Needy SP: Never going to be dominant front of rotation guy, but his stuff should play really well at PETCO. Looks like true innings-eater. Also a good month away from “lock”. 3) Jon Galvez 2B/3B: Hard to imagine Pads NOT protecting him as a 2B/3B option with likely loss of Headley. Think he’d be a minors FA & someone will definitely sign him if we don’t. 4) Leonel Campos RP/SP: After disastrous first month in AAA, showing promise as a starter. Another big arm type teams look for in Rule 5. 5) Cory Spangenberg 2B/CF?: If the CF experiment leads to Amarista off roster, Cory will be a great draft pick, IMO. If he plays even decently, very likely to protect him. 6) Alex Dickerson OF/1B: His chances really hurt by injury which led to trade for & promotion of Goebbert. Would really help him if he can at least DH in Aug, maybe play in AFL? Pads & other teams need LH OF bats, though. 7) Johnny Barbato RP: Had him as a “lock” until injury. Even if fairly serious, also a likely protect. 8) Diego Goris INF: This is probably the dividing line below which guys including Goris are much less likely to be protected. “Everyone” can hit in Cal League; Pads need to see if he can sustain it in AA. 9) Adys Portillo RP: Oh, Adys. Last month I had him as a lock. Inconsistency is reminiscent of Keyvius Sampson unfortunately, but seems to be back on track last 5-6 games & still so young! 10) Adam Moore C: I think it’s premature to add Austin Hedges to a tight 40-man roster for a Sept callup. I’d rather see Moore trade places with Grandal for August (after roster thins out), Grandal back up in Sept, then go into offseason with 3 catchers protected on 40-man plus Hedges slated for AAA. 11) Brooks Conrad 2B/3B: Happy to see him get a shot on Pads. Has earned it. Need as many 2B/3B candidates as possible for 2015. 12) Luis De La Cruz RP: Re-signed as minors FA last year & living up to potential in San Antonio, but age & maybe too many others to protect work against him. Likely minors Free agent.
On 7/1 I had fully 23 guys rated “Fringe” meaning some argument could be made for them making it onto a MLB roster, but odds against it: Casey McElroy – Lefty SS/util always useful, Colin Rea & Bryan Rodriguez SP both doing “good” but not “great” in LE, Dennis O’Grady RP: I don’t see it, but Pads have him in AAA after ST this year, Rico Noel’s defense is MLB worthy, but hitting not, C Rocky Gale doing a nice job in AAA; could get Sept callup if Moore joins another team before then, RP Matt Branham flashes in spot start duty, RP Jerry Sullivan high on this list, but tough competition, Jason Hagerty & Cody Decker both hitting with regular playing time; mirror roles of 1B/C/PH, OF Alberth Martinez #39 for a reason; talented, but behind others, 3B Gabe Quintana heating up, but Pads hoped for more in Lake Elsinore all yr, RP Frank Garces probably #1 on this list; Lefty Closer in San Antonio who has started in past, SS/util Benji Gonzalez was signed as system depth but playing well, easy to envision OF Corey Adamson as young LH Denorfia, but at this point he’s probably behind OF/1B Luis Domoromo who is red hot recently. Almost all veteran AAA guys in this category too: SP/RP/PH! Jason Lane, RP Hector Ambriz, SS/util Tyler Greene, OF Jeff Francoeur, OF/util Alex Castellanos, OF/1B Travis Buck, and finally SP/RP Josh Geer.
Notably below “Fringe”: #34 SP Justin Hancock due to injury, but rehabbing now. #38 C Rodney Daal due to injury, drug use suspension & too far away. Donovan Tate would have to return in July & hit .400-.500 somewhere to return to prospect status.
Of course many vets will move on as minors FA, and most guys won’t get picked in Rule 5, but the Pads do have some interesting decisions to make moving forward. Hopefully many good performances make the decisions even tougher!