Ivan Pierre Aguirre

Sam Geaney on the El Paso Chihuahuas

We caught up with Sam Geaney, the Padres’ Director of Player Development for the final segment of our six part interview series on the top prospects in the system for 2016.

Today Sam chats about the Padres’ prospects in the Pacific Coast League.

Hunter Renfroe had a big year but we have gotten quite a few questions on how big his home (.365) and away (.247) splits are.  What caused it and do you have any concerns?

Sam Geaney: I think he is somewhere between those.  We really didn’t worry too much about it because there are just so many different hitting environments in the PCL to go along with some very tough travel.  Next year he will be going into a hitting environment in Petco Park that is also different than it was a few years ago.

The main thing is I think we will continue to see Hunter improve as he did this past year.

What part of Manuel Margot’s game have we not seen yet?

Sam Geaney: That is a good question, because he is pretty well known. [laughs].  To me it’s his strength.  I’m not sure you are going to see him popping more over the outfield wall but I do think we are going to see a few more double and triples with his speed too.

He has a really clean swing with good mechanics.

He looked like his routes picked up as the season went on?

Sam Geaney:  I thought so too.  He’s always been a very athletic centerfielder but as he gets more experience his knowledge of the game is also increasing.  Also El Paso is a difficult place to defend and I thought he played a really good centerfield for the Chihuahuas this season.

Offensively Austin Hedges easily had his best year of his professional career.  Earlier you talked about how important it was for him to be “on time.”  What else did you see at the plate?

Sam Geaney: Mechanically he got a lot better.  He was in a good position to hit when his foot landed and anytime you put up the type of numbers that he did is going to help your confidence.  By confidence I mean he was able to see that the work he put in with our coaches was paying off and I think it will carry over into next season too.

Carlos Asuaje was largely seen as the fourth player in the Craig Kimbrel deal.  When did you begin to realize that he may have been better than advertised?

Sam Geaney: Our scouts always really liked him a lot and he did a very good job at the plate this season.  He’s an offensive minded second baseman who can also play some third – right now he is playing both sides of the infield in winter ball.

Consistently night-in and night-out he had some of the best at-bats in the organization and for a guy that is not that big; he has some sneaky power.

What is the main thing he needs to do to stick on the big league roster next year?

Sam Geaney: He has to continue to physically get stronger and continue making the routine plays defensively.  As I said, he had a very good year and just needs to continue getting better.

At the beginning of the year Alex Dickerson was sharing playing time with the Chihuahuas and in the end he was the everyday outfielder on the big club.  What happened?

Sam Geaney:  There really wasn’t any mandate from above; Alex was healthy and just continued to put up numbers.  When players do that, they are earning more playing time. 

I know he had some problems with his hip last year but last offseason he got his body prepared to play a full season and it paid off.

Eric Yardley is a great story.  Can you see his frisbee slider playing in the big leagues?

Sam Geaney: I think so mainly because he has always performed at every level that we have put him at.  Any time you can get a reliever that gives that batter that different of a look, it’s going to be difficult for them.  He’s a very good competitor who gets that most out of his ability and as I said he has the numbers to back it up.

If you do that, you’ve earned an opportunity. 

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