Honorable mention: Todd Donovan was having the best season of his career in 2004 before an injury derailed him. He has the heart and determination to become a big leaguer one day but injuries continue to haunt the catalyst. He was a big reason for Mobile winning a first half championship and his loss for the year put him at a disadvantage because of his age.
10. Kennard Jones is about as hard a worker as one will find in the minor leagues but hard work on the field must also be accompanied by hard work with the mental approach to the game. He has the talent but struggles with putting it all in a collective order he can use. His work on the base paths reflect that as he is one of the faster players in the Padres system but cannot put mind to feet and gets caught often. His plate discipline, once a strength, has also deteriorated.
9. Eddie Bonine can quickly become a top talent in the Padres system if he can find a way to control the one bad inning. When he struggles, the problem often manifests itself and spawns into a four run inning. The minute he can control the damage will dawn the arrival of the draft-and-follow signee. Bonine may have been pushed into service in the California League too soon, but the Padres were eager to see how he would respond. Next year, Bonine can reassert himself as the pitcher many think he is.
8. Michael Johnson hits just well enough that the promise can be seen but when will it be heard. An injury forestalled his progression this year and he came back tentative in the field. His bat remains streaky and consistency will be the key to his offseason. The former Clemson standout has a long way to go before he carves out the career of another Clemson alum, Khalil Greene.
7. Jared Wells has an abundance of talent and a fastball that can reach the upper nineties but scouts have questioned how much he wants it. His personality borders on arrogance according to scouts and it affects him adversely on the mound. There is a difference between confidence and what Wells reflects. Once he can put in the extra work without cutting corners, Wells can develop into one of the best pitchers in the organization.
6. Greg Sain can hit, but can he hit for average? Sain broke the Mobile record for most homers in a season but struggled with consistency at the plate. While it is true power can hide other flaws, Sain has a lot to overcome before getting serious consideration as a potential Major Leaguer.
5. Colt Morton was again sent down to Eugene from Fort Wayne and responded with a torrid pace. His batting average was up over .290 and he was confident. His long swing eventually caught up with him and the slump began. He ended the year hitting .239 but continues to mash the ball when he does connect.
4. Josh Carter couldn't hack it in Double-A for one reason, he never hit for power. He was shipped back to Lake Elsinore and had trouble knocking the ball out in a hitter's league. He has the body type to smash twenty homers a year but rewarded the Padres system with just two in 2004 despite a plus .300 average.
3. Matt Bush was an enigma from the start. The expectations were high for the 18 year old Mission Bay high school product and a suspension early in the year derailed the start of his professional career. When he did finally get on the field, his bat failed him and his glove was even worse. The adjustment to pro ball was huge for the youngster and he will have ample opportunity to turn it around. His woeful defense is a concern, even after just a small sampling.
2. Daniel Moore was a second round pick out of North Carolina and has seen many jump him on the prospect chart. His dedication to the game has been questioned and an injury this year robbed him of valuable innings. When he did pitch, low-A Fort Wayne proved to be too much as he was routinely hammered in his four starts.
1. Gabe Ribas fell about as far from grace as possible in 2004. After an excellent 2003 year that saw him win Padres' Minor League Pitcher of the Year honors, Ribas lost as much as eight miles per hour off his fastball. For a player who never lit it up, the loss of velocity plagued him in every start. Also gone was his pinpoint control as his walk totals were elevated. There was even talk of removing Ribas from the starting rotation – permanently and no one in the organization can figure out exactly what happened to his stuff.
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