Q&A with John Sickles on Padres Prospects
For ESPN I write the "Down on the Farm" column twice a week, usually one mailbag and one in-depth prospect profile. The newsletter is produced for email subscribers only and consists of organization updates, draft updates and selected prospect profiles. I've also written a book, Bob Feller: Ace of the Greatest Generation, in addition to putting out my yearly Baseball Prospect book. You can access more information about me on my web site.
John Sickles website
How are you able to stay on top of all 30 organizations and their respective minor league teams?
Well it's my job now. It used to be a hobby. I found that people are really interested in it, so it has provided me with some opportunities. It is daunting and humbling when you realize how much you don't know. Like watching players develop over time, different organizational philosophies and even the occasional guy that gets called up that I've never heard of!
How would you rank the Padres minor league system?
An average system over all, some top guys, but not a lot of depth. Right now I would be concerned about Josh Barfield, one of the Padres' top prospects, plate discipline, although it is a little early to really be worried.
Who do you see as the top five Padres prospects and why?
Josh Barfield, Tim Stauffer and Freddy Guzman, although I think he profiles as a reserve outfielder, not enough power. The rest is a kind of mix-mash, a lot of guys are not living up to expectations.
Could you name some sleepers in the Padres system that perhaps are overlooked by the casual fan?
Jordan Pickens, the main concern is his strikeout to base on balls rate, but I do like the power. Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. is having a good year in Fort Wayne and I also like Sean Thompson.
RD Spiehs at Mobile also could be a nice middle relief prospect, has 90 mph sinker and a nice strikeout to base on balls ration.
Who are September call-ups for the Padres?
At this point impossible to tell, where they are in the race depends who they bring up. Right now, my guess would be the usual guys, Mike Bynum, Xavier Nady, depending if he is on the big team of course, Tagg Bozied.
John Conniff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org