Questions for Randy Smith: Arizona League

Randy Smith is the Padres' Director of Player Development and more than anyone else in the organization sees everyone, multiple times.

Based out of Scottsdale, Arizona he was kind enough to take the time to speak with us on the prospects at each level of the system.

Today we discus the ones in his own backyard, the Arizona League.

The team had some very talented outfielders this year. Since I know few if any people that see them as often as you do what can you tell us about Alberth Martinez?

Randy Smith: He's pretty close to a five-tool guy. Good instincts in center field and offensively he has a great approach. His power came into play this year and if he hadn't been injured for three weeks he may have led the league in home runs. He has a natural swing and can get the ball.

Same question on his sidekick Yoan Alcantara.

Randy Smith: They are different players. Marty can play center field while Yoan has a plus arm, a lot of power and profiles more as a right fielder. What stands out to me is that he has very good hand eye coordination and will drive the ball while making a lot of contact.

We think he will improve his walks down the road but you have to take into account that he also has very few strikeouts. Quite a few people have written that he has a little bit of Vlady [Vlad Guerrero] in him in that he can square up about anything.

So you would be ok if he ends up with 450 home runs?

Randy Smith: [laughs] Oh yeah, I will take that.

Duanel Jones had some substance problems last year but rebounded pretty well this season. How did he look defensively at third and what are the big areas that you hope to see improvement on next year?

Randy Smith: He has tremendous size, strength and power. In the off-season he worked really hard on his agility. He did a better job with his defense but still has a ways to go. He has a plus arm, size that you want to see and I could see him developing into a young Beltre, a 20 to 25 home run guy in the big leagues.

The decision to bring Filpo, Quintana and Corpas over mid-season is a bit atypical.  What did you get on their performance in the Dominican that convinced you they were ready for the States?

  Randy Smith: We just did in the end. The DSL had a few games left and all of these guys earned that trip by swinging the bat really well. Quintana has a great frame and has improved a lot. Flipo is a switch-hitter with a good stroke but needs to work on his outfield play like most of the young Latin Americans we get.

Last on the position players, catcher Austin Hedges came up briefly for a few games. What did you see?

Randy Smith: He's an advanced defensive guy which we all know. What surprised me is actually how big he is and offensively how he drove the ball better than I thought he would. In some ways his defense is so good it overshadows his offense. Also he really impressed people with his attitude and intelligence.

On the mound you guys did pretty well raid the small colleges again. What role do you see Daniel Cropper in next year?

Randy Smith: He did have a good year. With a lot of these guys it's just going to depend upon where the innings are at the beginning of the year and see how things shake out.

Two guys who posted very good K/BB ratios were Uber Paz and Gennison Reyes. Both have size but also seemed to put the ball over the plate a little too much. What did you see in them that you liked this year and what do they need to improve upon?

Randy Smith: Reyes is one of the best arms in the system. He is an easy 97 to 98 MPH. Great arm, very loose to go along with a good body. He just needs to learn how to pitch; command his fastball, develop his breaking ball and learn to throw a change.

So many hitters at this level just sit on a fastball because that is all these guys can throw and Reyes understands that and is making progress.

Guerrero is like that too, huge body and big velocity.

Paz surprised everyone with his transformation, remember he is from Nicaragua and doesn't have a lot of baseball experience. He throws around 90 to 92 MPH and did a good job for us this year but also needs to learn about pitching more.

Monday we begin our series on Eugene and yes, we will have photos for this and the rest of the segments. Pictures in the AZL are tough to obtain.

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