Randy Smith on the 2012 AZL Padres

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

Today Randy chats about the players in the Arizona League.

With the change in the draft rules you were able to get many of the younger players in camp on July 15 instead of August 15 as in the past.

Whenever we speak with you about what you are working on with draft picks its usually so late you just say that you wanted to see what they have and then make decisions.

Since you were able to have pitchers like Max Fried, Walker Locket and Walker Weickel for some time did any of this philosophy change?

Randy Smith: No, not really and its especially true with the high school players; particularly the pitchers. The main thing we are trying to do is protect them - because most of these guys have thrown quite a few innings before they come to us - and see what they are comfortable doing.

In the Instructional Leagues and mini-camps is when we start to make mechanical adjustments and work on new pitches.

Max Fried put up some good numbers. What did you see that you liked and what are you guys going to work with him on between now and spring training?

Randy Smith: With all four of these pitchers they have great size and loose arms. Max has a plus fastball and really good curve. As with many young pitchers we will be working on helping him to develop a better change-up and just learn how to prepare like a professional.

What sidelined Zach Eflin and how has he looked now coming into instructs?

Randy Smith: He caught mono but he will be with us in the Instructs. We didn't get to see that much of him so he will throw a little more than the others at the Instructs.

Will getting these young pitchers into pro ball early help them possibly be more prepared to throw more innings next season?

Randy Smith: I don't think so because it's not so much when we get them but really about what they have thrown for the whole year. I do think its reasonable that if we are able to start someone in a full season league that going 110 to 125 innings is reasonable.

Everyone was impressed with Rodney Daal's bat this summer. What can you tell us about his defense?

Randy Smith: Rodney just turned 18 so he is very young. Defensively he is still learning how to catch and he needs work on blocking balls but the physical skills are there and as you mentioned his bat has some pop and is going to get him noticed.

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