Overview : We used a simple formula for the awards. A player is eligible with whichever team he appeared for the most. For the top prospect, we took into account not just what the player did this year, but his age and potential impact in the major leagues.
Level : The Arizona League is the lowest level of the minor leagues in the states. Typically the players at this level are young Latin American players, high school draftees and second-tier college picks. If they play well, a few will get an opportunity to compete for a spot in Fort Wayne next spring. As opposed to last year, where we saw a record number go from the AZL to the Midwest League this year’s edition we should see most of the team in Extended Spring with only two or three players having a shot at breaking camp with Fort Wayne.
Player of the Year: CF Michael Gettys .310/.353/.437
Gettys, 18, an athletic prep center fielder from Georgia turned into everything Donovan Tate, an athletic prep center fielder from Georgia that the Padres took with the third overall pick in 2009, was not. He played in 49 out of the team’s 56 games as compared to Tate who played in 39 games each of his first two years.
Oh yeah, he also hit. Gettys led the league in hits with 66, was second in RBI with 38, fourth in batting average and second in total bases. He also led the team with 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. According to scouts, he is also a plus defender in center.
Runner-Up: 3B Carlos Belen .256/.348/.541
Belen, 18, finished third in the AZL in slugging percentage and second in triples with nine but also tied for the team lead in errors with 14. His best month was in July where he had 14 extra-base hits in 22 games before slumping in August with a .176 batting average in six games. He should begin the year in Extended Spring followed by a trip to Eugene later in the summer.
Player of the Year: CF Michael Gettys
Gettys was the highest ranked player coming into the AZL season, so it is not much of a surprise that he ended up as the player of the year. We knew he would play great defense, we knew he had speed, and above average power. The question was going to be could he make enough contact to be a legitimate prospect. While he will never be a pure “contact hitter,” he did lead the league in hits and showed some power in August while being in the top five in most other offensive categories. He will, at least for a season, put an end to many of the early questions.
Runner-Up: 2B Luis Urias .310/.393/.355
While in terms of prospect status Urias ranks below Belen and Jordan Paroubeck, what Urias managed to do in a season was pretty remarkable. In his first year of professional ball, at only 17, he played in two Dominican Summer League games and was deemed good enough to come to the US to play in Peoria. More impressively, he walked more than he struck out (18 walks, 13 strikeouts in 43 games) and while we have, and will continue, to discuss players going through long slumps; Urias was about as consistent as they get. In June he hit .333/.455/444; in July he was at .318/.358/.355 and finally in August, .300/.419/.343. Did I mention he is only 17?
Others of Note: LF/DH Jordan Paroubeck, 19, a second round pick in 2013 missed all of his debut season with a small labrum tear in his throwing shoulder. This season he got off to a quick start - hitting .432 in his first nine games in June, before slowing down in July and August. Paroubeck still put up the second best slugging numbers at .457 on the team, second only to 3B Carlos Belen’s .541. C Rodney Daal, 20, came back from Tommy John surgery and suspension to hit .258/.333/.452 in nine games. He still has a load of talent and should be the everyday catcher in Fort Wayne next season.
MadFriars’ 2013 AZL Player of the Year: Michael Gettys
Top Prospect: Michael Gettys
There was quite a difference of opinion on draft day on whether Gettys would be able to hit professional pitching and so far has shown that he can hit in the AZL; which means he can hit a fastball. It’s not so easy to go from playing before near empty spring training complexes to the cold of Northeastern Indiana in April.
Ask Franchy Cordero, who was last year’s top prospect and player of the year in the AZL.
However, Gettys’ tools are simply off the charts and if he can keep on making gains in the Instructional Leagues and during spring training, the Padres could have gotten a real talent at a much better price than they did in 2009.