Randy Smith on the 2014 AZL Padres

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

Today Randy chats about the Padres’ prospects in the Arizona League for this season.

Position Players

Michael Gettys had a good year, but a really strong August. What aspects of his game did he improve on the most during his time in the league?

Randy Smith: Probably his ability to recognize and hit the breaking ball. Michael showed up with a simple swing, tools and really learned how to apply them. He started to become more comfortable and aware of what he could handle and that is when more power started to show up.

I really think he could be a force next year.

Jordan Paroubeck started off really strong then kind of tailed off. One, was he fighting an injury and two, what did you think of him this year?

Randy Smith: Jordan is a very talented player but the biggest thing for him right now is to just stay on the field. He missed all of last year and good chunk of this season too. He has great tools and is very athletic but right now he just needs reps.

Carlos Belen finished third in the league in slugging percentage. When we have talked to you in the past you always point out that the hit tool has to come before the power, especially with you guys. Tell us a little about Carlos’ power?

Randy Smith: He’s a big strong kid that has a simple swing and has some big time power. He can try to do too much and gets a little long in his swing but when he barrels the ball it really jumps. Carlos really has a chance to be a complete player, we think he can develop into an above-average third baseman defensively.

Luis Urias was very consistent at the plate and played both second and third. At what position do you see his future?

Randy Smith: To me he is a middle infielder and we have been working with him at shortstop in the Instructional League in addition to second. He stays within himself pretty well but could become a little better situational hitter and continue to develop into a player that is capable of playing shortstop.

Pitchers

As always you had some young interesting arms but to me I thought it you had quite a bit of talented college guys – many which seem to be real finds by your scouts.

I really liked T.J. Weir out of Ball State. Tell us a little about him and do you see him as having a good shot at Fort Wayne next year in the pen or as a starter?

Randy Smith: We like him as a starter but had to limit his innings because of how much he threw in college. T.J. has a good feel for what he is doing on the mound and I look forward to seeing what he can do in longer than two inning stints.

For so many of these pitchers we are just kind of curious who they are and what they throw. Lefty Kyle McGrath has some eye-popping stats (0.79 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 22.2 innings against only six walks and eight hits). Could you tell us a little about him?

Randy Smith: He’s got a pretty good feel for pitching; good curve, change, split and average fastball. He did a great job for us this year in the AZL working with what he has and we look forward to seeing what he can do at the next level.

Last question, what is the timeline for Alex Costanza. I’ve heard he has a big arm but, as with most young guys, needs to improve on his fastball command. What did you see?

Randy Smith: Alex will probably be a guy that competes for a spot in the Fort Wayne rotation and we will see what happens. In all probability he will probably be back in Extended Spring and then onto Eugene.

He has a really good arm and he can throw quality secondary pitches. Right now with him it’s just about improving his fastball command and his consistency with the secondary stuff. Good size and ability. When you look at a pitcher, Alex is what they are supposed to look like.


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