The Fort Wayne team should be impressive this season with a young talented infield of 1B Jake Bauers, 2b Josh VanMeter, SS Franchy Cordero and 3B Dustin Peterson. Cordero who hit .333/.381/.511 in the AZL last year at 19 has the biggest upside.
In todays game he was 2-2 with a double and an easy triple in the gap. On the downside he twice threw balls into the dugout on a pair of routine groundouts that appeared to slip out of his hand.
However, as with most young shortstops with talent, he also made a pair of spectacular plays in the field; snagging a line drive out of the air behind second base and turning a quick double play. Bottom line, he's a long ways a way but this is someone to get excited about. He's athletic, a legitimate six-foot-three and has a power stroke from the left side.
Dustin Petersen, last year's second round pick, was even better with a four RBI s on a home run and a double that also nearly cleared the fence. Petersen has a quick short stroke and should generate considerably more power than last season in the AZL.
Josh VanMeter, who will start at second base for the TinCaps but was the DH today, also was 2-2 with a pair of sharply hit balls to the right side. VanMeter, a high school basketball star, will form a very athletic double play combination with Cordero. As with most of the players from the AZL last year they seemed to spend a considerable amount of their bonus money on food and getting bigger. VanMeter put on twenty pounds in the offseason; all of it solid.
Rounding out the infield quartet was 1B Jake Bauers, who also looked very good at the plate with a 2-2 day (Cordero, Peterson, VanMeter and Bauers all had a pair of hits). In both appearances Bauers worked the count before making solid contact. When he's on he's driving the ball to all fields, particularly left-center. Bauer is also noticeably bigger from last year coming into camp at 210 lbs and just turned 18 in October.
Cordero is the oldest of the four and he will turn 20 on September 2 of this year. It should be a fun summer in the Summit City.
On the mound RHP Colin Rea gave up a home run - quite a few balls were flying today - but his velocity and motion looked good. After a tough beginning in Lake Elsinore last season he came back and was very effective in Fort Wayne. That was the pitcher that was out today.
Also keep an eye on RHP Nick Mutz, a relief pitcher that was signed out of the Independent Leagues last season and played with Eugene. Mutz has decent size and flashed a low to mid-90s fastball with movement.
According to Pitching Coordinator Gorman Heimueller, LHP Max Fried has been making steady progress. He's been playing catch and the Padres plan to put him on a three week throwing program. Coach Heimueller states that the organization is being very carefull with him but so far everything is going on the right track.