Padres 2010 Instructional League Awards

The San Diego Padres just completed their annual Fall Instructional League in Peoria, Arizona. Donavan Tate took home MVP honors for his efforts while four other awards were handed out. We caught up with the Padres vice president of player development Randy Smith to discuss the winners as well as newcomers Zach Cates and John Barbato.

"We had all of the roving instructors and coaches nominate someone and then discussed it as a group," Smith said. "We agreed all along. Everyone was in line."

Top Hitter: Nate Freiman

"The hitting one was a pretty tight one," Smith said. "We gave Nate it because of consistency of at-bats, for hard contact, situational hitting – really a very good Instructional League. (roving hitting instructor) Sean (Berry) was impressed with him.

Top Pitcher: Adam Schrader

"He didn't give up a run," Smith said. "He made it pretty easy on us in making that decision. He is a late round draft that came out and showed a good arm with a good body. He is an interesting guy."

Top Baserunner: Wes Cunningham

"He ran the bases well," Smith said. "He had a number of stolen bases but it wasn't just about stolen bases – first to third and second to home. He had good, solid, aggressive base running.

Top Defensive Player: B.J. Guinn

"To me, he is the guy from July – when I first saw him – that has improved the most of anyone," Smith said. "He is understanding his game, using his legs, keeping the ball on the ground. Defensively, he has really improved at shortstop. He looks natural there. He made several highlight plays. He had a nice second half of the summer and carried it over to the Instructional League.

MVP: Donavan Tate

"He was nominated in just about every category and ended up winning the MVP," Smith said. "He started the first day of Instructional League hitting and ended hitting on the last day of Instructional League. He had a very good camp in both the regular games and the simulated games. I think he hit in seven out of eight of the regular games, going 10-for-23 with a homer run and five RBI. He made a lot of solid, hard contacts. He played well, and, more importantly, played every day.

What were your thoughts on Zach Cates?

Randy Smith: Very impressed. A good bodied kid that is still growing into it. He showed a good arm. He ran it low-to-mid-90s every time out with a good curveball and good changeup. He made guys swing and miss – he was impressive.

John Barbato?

Randy Smith: A young high school kid with a good body. The ball comes out of his hand smoothly. He showed a good breaking ball as well.

I thought both of those guys were impressive, Cates moreso in the games. With Barbato, you can see that it is there. I think he was a little nervous early on but he finished up strong.

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