Padres Minor League Notes

The back fields of the Padres complex in Peoria were active on Saturday with the Single-A clubs playing a pair of contests against the Cincinnati Reds and one contest against a Canadian travel ball team.

Though Robbie Erlin (four innings) and Leonel Campos (one) came over from the big league side to get the bulk of the work on Field Three, we got looks at lefties Jose Castillo and Thomas Dorminy as well as Jose DePaula, and 2012 draftee Walker Lockett. The tall righty has only managed to throw 31 innings since signing as a fourth-rounder out of high school, but he is fully healthy in camp this spring. He worked two innings with the Low-A team, and though there was some hard contact against him in the first frame, he mixed in some solid breaking stuff his second time up.

Castillo, the 19-year-old Venezuelan who came over in the Wil Myers trade this winter, completely overmatched the Canadian teenagers he faced. As a matter of policy under the new player development regime, no Padres staff had radar guns at any of the fields, but the lanky lefty was working with solid velocity, locating well for this early in spring.

DePaula, part of the return for Chase Headley last summer, remains an enigma. He has big-league stuff (peeks at the Reds’ gun behind the plate showed a lot of 93s and 94s), but his feel is spotty. He didn’t look very comfortable on the mound and one of his innings was rolled over after he reached his pitch count. He had a lot of eyes from the player development staff and a few front office guys on him for his two innings.

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Big third baseman Carlos Belen put on a show in his morning BP session. The Dominican, who just turned 19 last month, hit balls with authority all over the field. Clearly heavier than his listed weight of 213, he has easy power, and though he’ll be a work in progress in the field, he had better action than I’d been led to believe.

Speaking of big, Franmil Reyes got some action at first base, building on work he put in during instructs last fall. The massive righty, who won’t turn 20 until this summer, played exclusively in the outfield last year, but if he can make it work at first, he’ll make building out the Storm and TinCaps rosters easier. He had one ugly error on a throw that went straight past him in the action I saw.

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A trio of big-leaguers who’ve been struggling this spring came out to the fields to get some swings under the watchful eye of Alonzo Powell. Jedd Gyorko hit a towering homer and smoked another, but also had a frustrating strike out. Derek Norris and Will Venable also got five plate appearances each. When the 40-man guys come to the back fields, the focus is definitely more on seeing pitches and finding a rhythm at the plate.

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Donavan Tate, whose fit in the organization is still hard to divine, had a homer and a double while playing center on a team that mostly included players looking for a spot in Ft. Wayne. The organization seems to be giving him room to try to figure things out without many expectations.


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