David Jay/MadFriars

Padres Prospects Fort Wayne TinCaps

PEORIA, Ariz. - The upper level teams were in Goodyear to take on the Indians’ farm teams while the Padres lower level teams were home.

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As David alluded to yesterday, the Fort Wayne TinCaps’ staff should be the best in the organization and could be one of the better ones in minor league baseball by the end of the season. Their position players, while not quite as talented as the pitching staff, should also be something to watch.

The TinCaps’ will be strong up the middle with catcher Austin Allen, shortstop Peter Van Gansen, who was the Dust Devils’ lone all-star represenative and has been particularly impressive in camp, second baseman Luis Urias, who came into camp ten pounds heavier and hit .290/.370/.326 in 51 games with Fort Wayne last season.  

The corners should contain Carlos Belen, who had a rough year in short-season Tri-City, but has a huge ceiling, at third base and either San Diego State’s Ty France or mammoth Brad Zunica at first base.  The only real question is centerfield between Michael Gettys or Franchy Cordero, but speedster Rod Boykin and Jose Urena should be on the corners. 

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The Padres are attempting to convert former super prospect Franchy Cordero into a centerfielder to take advantage of his athleticism.  Cordero is a legitimate 6’3” and one of the more athletic players in the organization.  Cordero has looked acceptable in center but there is a real question if the organization wants to send him back to Fort Wayne for a third year or promote him to Lake Elsinroe after posting a .599 OPS in 2015. 

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Kodie Tidwell, a late round selection in last year’s draft out of the University of Louisiana-Monroe has also looked good at second and third base.  He is another one of the left-handed hitting infielders of which the Padres have a seemingly endless supply and has shown patience and a little more power in camp than he did at Tri-City last season where he posted a .373 on-base percentage.  He should also see time at shortstop as the principal backup to Van Gansen, Urias and Belen.

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RHP/Relief Pitcher Colby Blueberg came in and threw a scoreless inning.  The former Nevada-Reno Wolfpack star had a 1.07 ERA in 58.2 innings with 21 saves and should occupy the same role with the Storm this year.  If you want a “comp” on Blueberg it would probably be Kevin Quakenbush in that neither one throws particularly hard for a major league pitcher (Blueberg is in the low 90s) but both have exceptional deception and the ball appears to be coming much faster than it is.  Blueberg also has a decent breaking pitch - the “currider” - that acts as a change-up and drops at the last minute.

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With the Padres announcing that Alex Dickerson has been optioned to Triple-A El Paso, you have to wonder if he will be going back as a left fielder or first baseman. If it’s in the outfield, then the Chihuahuas will have a strong outfield of Manuel Margot in center, Hunter Renfroe in right with Dickerson at the other corner…C/1B Jason Hagerty, INF Nick Noonan and INF Ryan Schimpf were assigned to Minor League Camp.

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Shortstop Jose Rondon has looked better in camp than we saw at the end of last year, and a newly lean physique has enabled him to get to more balls than in last season.  His offense will still be a big question and with shortstops Javier Guerra and Ruddy Giron in Lake Elsinore, he needs to get off to a fast start.

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OF Nick Torres has been impressive in camp and seems to have found the loft in his swing that hopefully will see a few more of the 44 doubles that he hit last year land over the outfield wall. Auston Bousfield is also noticably more muscular after losing a lot of weight in the summer heat.  

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After five days of roaming the back fields we are going home.  We’ll see everyone in San Antonio for our next trip.


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