Mid-Season LE, FW update with Padres' Tye Waller

San Diego Padres' Director of Player Development, Tye Waller, joined up with John Conniff to get a mid-season update on the prospects within the system. Waller touched on prospects with the Lake Elsinore Storm and the Fort Wayne Wizards, including players such as Clark Girardeau, Eddie Bonine and Jared Wells who all earned promotions and others such as George Kottaras and Dirk Hayhurst making waves in Fort Wayne.

Lake Elsinore

The team started off the year with a fairly highly regarded pitching staff Stauffer, Ribas, Pauley and Whitaker. All have subsequently been promoted except for Pauley. How do you rate the current staff of Wells, Pauley, Girardeau, Huber and Bonine?

Tye Waller: We have five quality starters each and every day in Lake Elsinore. Jared Wells was a quarterback in high school and is still learning how to pitch. By moving him up we have challenged him to become more of a pitcher, than a thrower. Pauley definitely has a good arm, but with him utilizing his off speed stuff is the key. When he does go to the higher levels he's going to need confidence in all of his pitches. He's one of our younger guys, so we can take a little more time with him. Clark Girardeau is a guy that has come on strong, pitching deep into the game. He struggled some early in the season but was always able to rebound. We thought moving up has been good for him and a challenged. He can spot his fastball and throw breaking ball for strikes. Eddie Bonine came up to the Cal League early in the year and has been up and down. All of his trouble has been in one inning, which is why his ERA is so high. He has to learn how to minimize the damage and give his team a chance to win.

Jon Huber has a power fastball, good curve, and change. He is really becoming a pitcher, as compared to earlier in the season when he was more of a thrower. We want to make sure that he continues this transition from a thrower to a pitcher before we move him up.

Dale Thayer is another guy who had a really good season in Fort Wayne, and seems to be coming around in Lake Elsinore. What do you need to see from him in order to get promoted to Mobile?

Tye Waller: Thayer a power pitcher, plus fastball that is relatively straight. He's gaining control of his slider, and has done a good job for us. He still needs a little more work especially on throwing his slider for strikes.

Paul McAnulty, Josh Carter and Luis Cruz have been some of the offensive stars for the Storm. Could you rundown their strengths and what you see in their future for the Padres.

Tye Waller: Josh Carter has some things to work on in A ball and has been able to do that in the Cal League. We felt he would learn more by playing in A ball and getting consistent at bats. Josh needs to try to drive the ball more and use the whole field. In Mobile he was getting himself into bad positions, which is one of the differences between A and AA. He needs to make adjustments in his swing to be successful at the AA level because when you are not driving the ball, you can play guys a certain way.

Paul McAnulty is a hitter. I wish we had some guys to protect him at Lake Elsinore. The question is trying to find a position for him and to see how far his bat takes him.

Luis Cruz has made some careless errors, but he has first step quickness and can throw the ball well. Offensively he can hold his own and he is still very young, only 20. We just have to continue to try to work with him and teach him the game.

Fort Wayne

This years Fort Wayne team seems much younger than last years. Most of your better players are under 22, Thompson, Kottaras, Valenzuela, Bonvechio and Macias. How would you evaluate them?

Tye Waller: George Kottaras has good plate discipline which is very unique for a guy this young. We brought him along slowly so far, took him to instructional league where he spent a lot of time with Joe Ferguson, one of our catching instructors. George has to get used to catching every day, so far he has responded. We're very happy where he is at this stage. We are going to lose him for about three weeks with the Canadian Olympic team this year, but you have to let take that opportunity.

Drew Macias we thought could be a defender that could help the team. We were just hoping that he could hit .240- .250. He really grew on us in spring training and the work he did in winter really made it easy for us to put him there. He's a consistent hitter and hopefully he gets stronger and begins to drive the ball more. We're also very pleased with what he has done.

Fernando Valenzuela Jr. The key with him is going to be his bat. He catches the ball well and puts the ball in play all over the field. His ability to hit for some type of power and drive in runs will be the key. He is doing the job right now, but that will be the key in how far he will go in the future.

Sean Thompson has a power breaking ball, plus change and if can locate his fastball he will be a big league starter. He's a young guy and has put up some good numbers, but like Pauley we don't want to rush him.

Brett Bonvechio I haven't seen yet. From what I've read in the reports he makes the routine plays and has been contributing with the bat, but I need to see him to make a better evaluation.

Also, where did Dirk Hayhurst come from? Was barely even mentioned in any preseason previews and so far has done very well. Thoughts?

Tye Waller: Dirk Hayhurst came to us last year a little bit tired. When you see these guys in their first year, you really don't really know what you are getting. He can locate his fastball and throw the change and breaking ball any time in the count. He's performed out of the pen and in the starting rotation. Dirk's making the progress we need to see.

John Conniff can be reached at Conniff@sandiegosports.net

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