Kim Contreras

Padres Spring Training Trae Santos Carlos Asuaje

The Padres squads faced off against their Los Angeles Dodgers counterparts.

Padres first baseman Wil Myers was getting in some extra at-bats and looked sharp making hard contact in all of his at-bats on the Triple-A side…One slightly overlooked player in the Craig Kimbrel trade may be Carlos Asuaje.  The left-handed hitting Asuaje saw time at both second and shortstop today and looked good both at the plate and in the field.  The 5’9” 169 pound Venezuelan is not the biggest guy on the diamond, and had a bit of an off-year in Double-A Portland last year for the Red Sox (.252/.334/.374) but in 2014 hit 14 home runs between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem for the Red Sox. He should provided needed middle infield depth for the big club.

In the Triple-A game the pitcher that stood out - and who always does because of his height - was Tayron Guerrero who throws the easiest mid-90s heat of any pitcher in the organization.  Right now he was still missing with his slider, but his fastball was on target.  

Tough outing for RHP Sam Holland on the Double-A side. He gave up a home run and a double, after walking the first two batters.  Catcher Michael Miller helped to negate the damage by throwing out both runners attempting to steal.

It is amazing the number of left-handed hitting middle infielders that the Padres have in camp.  Currently they have Nelson Ward, Carlos Asuaje, Fernando Perez, Javier Guerra, Casey McElroy, Josh VanMeter, River Stevens, Taylor Lindsey, Peter Van Gansen and Kodie Tidwell.

Right now the most popular game in minor league camp is trying to figure out at what level everyone will play at and who may be left out. A quick note, these are simply are observations and educated guesses where different players may or may not end up.

Today we will look at the position players, tomorrow the pitchers.

Triple-A El Paso

The outfield appears to be set with Manuel Margot in centerfield and Hunter Renfroe in right.  The big question is who will be in left with Travis Jankowski and Alex Dickerson battling for a major league roster spot on the big club.  The situation is the same in the infield where the only possible sure starter is Carlos Asuaje, who came over in the Craig Kimbrel trade, at second base.  Recent signee Mike Olt appears locked in at third base while shortstop and first are very much in the air.  Also Casey McElroy should end up somewhere in the mix….A.J. Cassavell reported today, barring a trade, catcher Austin Hedges is likely to be back in the Sun City.

Double-A San Antonio

Nick Torres appears to be in lock in right and Auston Bousfield in center with an intense battle for the left field spot between Yale Rosen, Nick Schulz and D’Arby Myers.  Ryan Miller appears set to return at catcher with the infield also a jumble of possibilities.  Shortstop Jose Rondon should be the starter again and Duanel Jones could be back, but this time at first base.  The organization could put Fernando Perez, Nelson Ward and River Stevens somewhere in the mix for second and third along with a backup shortstop for Rondon.

High-A Lake Elsinore

Franmil Reyes seems to be the leading candidate for the right field spot. Edwin Moreno has looked very good in camp and hit .308 in 89 games with the TinCaps last year in left.  The big question is will Michael Gettys join them in the Cal League? The infield will be led by SS Javier Guerra, who many believe was the key component in the Kimbrel trade.  Trae Santos should be at first base, who came into camp in even better shape that last year along with Ruddy Giron, who will see time at second, short and third.  Josh VanMeter should be in the mix for the final starting infield position.  Right now catching is the three-headed monster with Jose Ruiz, Michael Miller and Miguel Del Castillo vying for playing time.

Low-A Fort Wayne

Again, so many things depend on what happens at the level above. If Gettys comes back to Fort Wayne, the Padres could send converted shortstop Franchy Cordero to Lake Elsinore in center.  Jose Urena, who put up some power numbers in Tri-City, has been running with this squad in camp and Rod Boykin, whose speed always makes him an interesting prospect could earn a spot in the other corner.  If the organization puts both Gettys and Cordero in Lake Elsinore, look for Boykin in center with the possibility of Henry Charles or someone else in the corner..The infield should feature third baseman Carlos Belen, who despite a tough year in the short-season league has a ton of potential, Peter Van Gansen at shortstop and Luis Urias, will return, albeit much bigger than last year at second.  Brad Zunica and Ty France appear destined for a type of platoon between DH and first.  Behind the plate, the organization has been impressed with the gains that Austin Allen has made and along with A.J. Kennedy appears to have the catching duties.

See you tomorrow.


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