Minor League Camp Report: March 22

Several of the top prospects came into camp with noticeable improvement in their physiques and Austin Hedges stood out in particular. Hedges looked like he put on an easy ten pounds of pure muscle which has only added to his athleticsm.

Right now compared to his minor league counterparts he is simply in another league defensively as he moves behind the dish effortless framing pitches. While his arm is all it is hyped up to be what differentiates him from the others is simply how fundamentally sound he is. If his bat can continue to improve this may be the best position player that San Diego has developed in a long time.

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The pitching staffs at Fort Wayne, Lake Elsinore and San Antonio should all be very good but the strongest team position wise may be the Storm particularly with 2B Cory Spangenberg slotted to return to the Diamond. With Hedges, Spangenberg, SS Jace Peterson and CF Travis Jankowski Lake Elsinore will have a very solid, and fast, core up the middle.

What will be on the corners, however is another question.

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LHP Max Fried threw three innings and looked good. His breaking ball and changeup are still works in progress but the fastball is very real and on target. Throughout his three innings he sat between 92 and 94 with his only struggle coming in the second inning when he focused more on his changeup and curve.

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For a sleeper keep an eye on Stephen Carmon who should be the everyday shortstop for the Fort Wayne TinCaps. The diminutive left-handed hitting graduate of the University of South Carolina Aiken had a .383 OBP and a 27/21 BB/K ratio last year for Eugene.

Defensively he is very quick laterally with strong arm. He seems like the ideal leadoff man.

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And what would any MadFriars' report be without an update on one of our favorite players Cody Decker, who should be the starting first baseman in Tucson. In addition to playing both corners and first the Padres have let catch some too, his position in high school. He's in great shape and if he stays healthy and gets his at-bats in Tucson he is going to put up some power numbers.

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RHP Michael Kelly, a supplemental first round pick in 2011 and yet another 6'4" + Floridian, has potential but as David Jay noted in an earlier report he is much more of a thrower than a pitcher. While he doesn't always know where the ball is going when it does arrive there is a definite snap as he easily sat in the mid-90s for most of his outing.


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