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Top 40 Padres Prospects: 21-30

The San Diego Padres farm system has a wealth of potential…potential. By definition potential means: <i>The inherent ability or capacity for growth, development, or coming into being.</i><br><br> breaks down the top 40 prospects and continuing with 21-30 this week. Many of these players already have their 2003 scouting reports done, found by clicking on our <a href="">Prospect report link</a>

21. Chris Oxspring – 26 – RHP – Aussie had a late start to his career, but has impressed along the way. Ox is the reason the Padres jettisoned Cory Stewart to Pittsburgh. Since his ascension to Mobile in 2002, Oxspring has been dominant. In 46 appearances spanning 150 innings, he has a 2.76 ERA and has given up just six home runs, while striking out a hitter per inning during that span. His slider is his dominant pitch and his other three, a fastball, curve and change are all considered above average. Age is his biggest detriment.

22. Henri Stanley – 25 – OF – He has been a .300 hitter for the past three seasons and his on base percentage has been over .400 twice during that span. Why he was let go from Houston is still a mystery. He hits for some power, has speed and plays decent outfield. Don't be surprised to see this kid patrolling Petco sometime this season. Considering it cost the Padres just $25K for the waiver claim, this was a no-brainer. More impressive were his stats away from a pitcher friendly field in the PCL, .328-9-33.

23. JJ Furmaniak – 24 – SS – Furmaniak is the ideal candidate to be a utility player in the Majors. He is not afraid to get his nose dirty and puts the work in. He admits to the need to increase his stolen base totals and is constantly on top of other things he needs to improve on. This offseason he committed himself to working out while maintaining flexibility. That should add more power to his game in 2004. Ultimately, his continued work on plate discipline will be the key to his success.

24. Tagg Bozied – 24 – 1B – 2003 was just his second season in the Minors. He started off well in Lake Elsinore, struggled in Mobile and was sent to Portland despite needing more seasoning. In Portland, he was not great, but not bad either. He will have the next two seasons to show his wares in Portland. Rod Deer is working with him in an effort to increase his walk totals and become a better all around hitter. There was talk of trying Bozied out at the plate, but that appears to have gone by the wayside.

25. Mike Johnson – 23 – 1B – The left-handed hitting first baseman may have been a tough sign for the Padres, but his dominating college stats and start in Lake Elsinore are signs of things to come. Johnson has room to grow and will eventually start turning some of his Storm doubles into homers and next year will turn more heads on his way up the ranks. As many minor leaguers, Johnson needs to improve upon his selection when he is in the box. The weakest part of his game may be his fielding, which will improve in time.

26. Dale Thayer – 23 – RHP – Thayer burst on the scene in '03 with impressive stuff: a fastball in the low 90's, a cutter with bite and 25 saves to go with it. Thayer has the mentality of a closer and the stuff to go with it. He won't overpower, but has enough movement on his fastball to be effective. Many see this season as an aberration, instead it could be a breakout.

27. Brad Baker – 23 – RHP – A former first round pick in 1999, the Padres are still trying to figure out if Baker will be a starter of closer. After dominating Lake Elsinore, Baker has had two separate stints in Mobile where he has struggled. With the Storm he kept his walk totals low, but in Mobile his control suffered. Baker will not go far if he cannot pitch effectively in the strike zone.

28. Thomas Lipari – 24 – LHP – Lipari was old for his stint with the Storm, but was 23 when he left college. He struggled in that brief stint and should get another shot there this season. He has performed well in all his previous stints with an ERA that topped out at 2.66. His success stems from his ability to keep the ball down and throw strikes. This year could be a make or break year for Lipari.

29. Peter Stonard --- 22 -- 2B – Stonard settled in nicely in his Pro debut, successful at Fort Wayne. A contact hitter that needs to improve upon his walk totals given his current lack of significant power. Scouts say he will develop more homers, but he needs to play within his game, slapping the ball to all fields and taking an extra base. Concerns about his past drop him on the list.

30. Colt Morton – 21 – C – Morton was not extremely impressive during his career at North Carolina State and somehow finagled it into his contract that he was to get time at Fort Wayne. He may not have been ready for that. A classic all-or-nothing player that has raw power but must grasp the teaching of Rob Deer who will be instrumental in his development. Morton must also exhibit the patience that led him to a solid run of on base percentage numbers in college.

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