Padres' Player Development Director Sam Geaney on the AZL prospects

We kick off our series of conversations about the 2016 season with Sam Geaney looking at the AZL squad that featured so many of the Padres' top picks and international signings.

MadFriars: What surprised you this year about Hudson Potts?

Sam Geaney:  First, our scouting staff did a great job in identifying him and getting to know him before the draft. He was one of the youngest guys in the league and we were a bit surprised at how advanced the bat was. Another surprise was his ability to play shortstop along with doing well at second and third base.

With both Fernando Tatis, Jr., Potts where do you see their ultimate positions?

Sam Geaney:  Right now the general plan is to keep them both at shortstop and rotate to other infield positions. Guys that are that talented you like to keep in the middle of the field as much as possible.

Hudson moves very well and has an average arm and hands for a shortstop.  Fernando has a little bigger frame and could outgrow the position.  Both really enjoy playing the position and are willing to put in the work to stay there.

Tre Carter was an eleventh round pick that got off to a delayed start because of some medical issues but played very well in limited games.  Where do you see him next year?

Sam Geaney: As you said he got off to a late start because of some medical issues, but when he did get on the field he was always one of the more talented guys on the field. He has a lot of tools and a very good feel for how he swings the bat.

As for where he ends up a lot of that will depend on the Instructional League and Spring Training just because we don’t have a lot to go on right now with him.

Tell us a little about Jack Suwinski.

Sam Geaney: He’s another talented high school player that we were able to add. Again, a lot of nice surprises. He is a better athlete than we thought; he has some good quickness and is faster than we thought.  We played him some in center and plan to continue that going into the future.

As with Potts and Tatis, we like to keep talented guys in the middle of the field until we have to move them.

Three young pitchers, Dan Dallas, Reggie Lawson and Mason Thompson seem like they will be joined together going up the ladder.  Can you give us a brief scouting report on all three?

Sam Geaney:  It’s somewhat similar to the situation that we had in Fort Wayne this year with Logan Allen, Jacob Nix and Austin Smith; we generally want to keep them together so they can push and learn from each other.

Individually Dan has a very good feel for pitching.  He’s a polished pitcher from a cold weather state without a lot of miles on his arm.  He is very mature and has solid stuff across the board.  Mason is just coming off of Tommy John surgery and has a lot of projection in his physical development at six-foot-six.  Right now he is 90 to 93 and locating all three pitches, so its just a matter of getting more consistency.  Reggie is probably the most athletic of the three with a ton of projection.  He has some very good velocity on his fastball and is working to refine his breaking ball.

There is a whole lot to like with all three of them.

Lake Bachar is a big arm that you guys got from Wisconsin-Whitewater where he was a two-sport star.  What improvements has he made since he switched to baseball full time?

Sam Geaney: He came to us in a very good spot and we liked the athleticism.  He put some good numbers, mainly in the AZL.  The key for us will be to start to work with him in the offseason when his focus is totally on baseball.  He is another pitcher from a cold weather background and we like the way the arm works.

This year you also had three young pitchers from Latin America who made their stateside debut; Henry Henry, Starlin Cordero and Andres Munoz.  What can you tell us about them?

Sam Geaney: All three made tremendous strides starting with Henry who showed some tremendous growth and maturity.  He got stronger, cleaned up his delivery and his breaking ball in particular really picked up.  Starlin just has a huge frame [six-foot-seven, 220 lbs.] and is starting to grow into his mechanics. Munoz was one of the better arms that we saw in Mexico when we scouted him and has really bought into our arm care program.  His breaking ball picked up and he touched 100 a few times with his fastball.

All three made huge strides this year and are capable of developing into starting pitchers; but they also have a ways to go.

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