Sam Geaney on the Tri-City Dust Devils

We caught up with Sam Geaney, the Padres’ Director of Player Development for the second segment of our six part interview on the top prospects in the system.

Today Sam chats about the Padres’ prospects in the Northwest  League for this season.

Chris Baker spent most of the year with the University of Washington at third base but exclusively played shortstop for the Padres in Tri-City and at Fort Wayne.  What made you believe he could play shortstop and how do you think he did?

Sam Geaney: As you said he didn’t play a lot of shortstop in his junior year at Washington, but from what we saw of him before the draft, we knew he could play there.  Yes, I think he can stay there going forward too.  He has good actions, decent arm strength and did a nice job wherever we put him.  

He may have had the best debut of anyone we picked and you always have to like a kid from northern California [laughs] (Editor’s note: Sam is a native of the Bay Area).

Another player that moved positions was Nate Easley, from the outfield in college to second base.  How do you think he did and what are you looking on him to build for next year?

Sam Geaney: I thought he did a nice job and it was a challenge to start him in the infield.  He not only didn’t play the infield at Yavapai Junior College, but he hadn’t played there since eighth grade.  He really improved as the season went on.  

In the beginning he kind of survived on his athleticism and at the plate he has some pop and  can run well.

When I was out in Tri-Cities, Ben Fritz - the team’s manager - said the biggest thing they were working with Buddy Reed was being on time at the plate.  How did that progress?

Sam Geaney:  That is something that we really emphasize up and down the system; being on time with your swing.  I think our hitting coach in Tri-City Oscar Bernard did a great job with him this summer.  

Anytime we get a shot to add an athlete like Buddy, we are going to take it.  We were pleased with the progress that he made this season and look forward to him continuing to get better.

G.K. Young had a big year with Coastal Carolina and flashed some early power.  What did you think of him this season?

Sam Geaney:  It’s always good to add someone from a program that won the College World Series.  If you look at him from a scout’s perspective he has life in his hands and the ball will jump off of the bat.  

It was a long year for him and sometimes that will affect guys.  Also, and this is not an excuse, a lot of his focus was getting used to playing the field at first base after three years of being a DH only in college.  

There is a lot to work with, a good lefty bat with power.

Luis Asuncion - what progress did he make this year?

Sam Geaney:  He had a nice spring and a nice start in Tri-Cities.  He’s kind of a player development dream; very good size, big long arms and he really made some progress this season in repeatability of his swing and pitch selection.  

As the season progressed we started to see him have more consistent at-bats and get better at being on time.

I saw Eric Lauer’s debut with Tri-Cities and was really impressed with his fastball/slider combination.  What is the third pitch that you plan to emphasize with him next season?

Sam Geaney:  Its kind of strange; in college he was more fastball/curve and as a pro he was more fastball/slider.  Hopefully we will get him to get a little more consistency on his actions with both of his breaking pitches and the development of his changeup, as with all young pitchers will be huge.

What really stands out about him though is his fastball command, which is very good.

Cal Quantrill hadn’t pitched in nearly two years after recovering from Tommy John surgery.  What did you see that went well and what could use some improvement?

Sam Geaney:  We were really excited from what we saw of him this year.  First and foremost we wanted to make sure that we could get him back out on the mound because he really likes to compete and pitch.  We nearly got him 40 innings this summer and with the exception of one or two outings, he pitched very well.  

We tried to focus more on having him just build up his velocity and command his fastball, but he has a very good change too,  Right now his arm is in good shape and we are looking forward to the off-season with him.

Loved watching the funky  motion of Joey Lucchesi.  Do you guys have any plans to modify it and why was he so successful?

Sam Geaney:  I think it is a big reason that makes him so good, it is a very uncomfortable at-bat.  He’s a big kid, with a very healthy arm, great command of his fastball, good change and curve and really likes to compete.  

We aren’t going to change a whole lot.

Will Headean seemed on the verge of turning the corner this year.  Where do you see his future in the rotation or coming out of the bullpen?

Sam Geaney:  I think he had a good year in a variety of ways.  He’s left-handed with a big fastball and has a good curve and changeup; just needs to be a little more consistent with his pitches.  

We were happy with the number of innings he got this year in Tri-Cities and think it was really good year for his development. As for if he ends up in the rotation or in the bullpen the development and consistency of his stuff will determine that.

Jessie Scholtens, a ninth round pick out of Wright State this year, looked good coming out of the pen.  What can you tell us about him?

Sam Geaney: He’s another northern California guy that took a circuitous route to the Midwest to go to college.  He threw a lot of innings in the spring so that is one of the reasons that kept him in the pen; but we think he could be a starter going forward.

If you want a comp, he is a lot like Brett Kennedy who we took in last year’s draft.

Check out our upcoming interview with Chris King, the play-by-play voice of the Dust Devils, which will run on FoxSports San Diego on Friday.  

Monday we head east to Fort Wayne to find out about the 2016 TinCaps.


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