Padres top 50 prospects: 46-50

The top fifty begins with prospects 46-50 in the Padres farm system. Some haven't yet scratched the surface of their ability in the lower minor leagues while others are just getting the ball rolling and getting noticed by Padres' execs. Without further adieu, the balloting begins…

46. Kelvin Vasquez was drafted by the Padres in 2004 and played the season out in Peoria of the Arizona Fall League. A converted shortstop, Vasquez played 39 games at second base and another ten games at third.

His 17 extra base hits led the team and he tied for the team lead in runs scored with 30. Vasquez pounded out X multi-hit games and walked 22 times, tied for the team lead.

Vasquez struck out a bit too much in his initial year in the system, whiffing 38 times in 49 games. He is a gap-to-gap hitter who tends to get overaggressive at times trying to come through with the big hit.

His defense is above average and his switch of positions came because Matt Bush was already playing shortstop and Sean Kazmar was another high pick at the position. He has good range and proved it with his ability to play third base.

47. Alfredo Fernandez wasn't fazed when the Padres moved him up to Portland to make a spot start. At 19 years old, he performed well but returned to Peoria for extended spring. He ended up in Eugene where he started off performing well but seemed to hit a barrier as the season wore on.

Fernandez was the ace of the Eugene staff coming into the year. He threw two one-hitters on the year and allowed more than three runs just once over his first seven starts.

The Padres paid $500K for the righty. At the time of the signing, he was already throwing in the low-90's as a 17-year old. He is still holding strong in the nineties but needs to work on his control. He walked 23 in 62.2 innings and hit six batters. He also keeps the ball up in the zone from time to time, giving up seven homers.

The Venezuelan seemed to tire out at the end of the season and put a huge burden on himself when the team was performing poorly. He was simply trying too hard. The Padres believe he will bounce back and become a force down the road. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

48. Daniel Baca is a relief pitcher that has not played above Peoria in the Arizona Rookie League. But what he did while he was there raised some eyebrows among the Padres' staff.

Baca went 4-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 28 appearances for Peoria. While he did not register any saves, he finished ten games for the Peoria team. Through his first 15 appearances, Baca allowed just two runs <96> a span of 18.2 innings.

It wasn't until his last appearance of the year that he surrendered a homer. From the Padres perspective, they came in expecting him to display some skills that warranted him being added to the club but his success has burgeoned into the team expecting bigger and better things from him in the future.

49. Nate Whitney is a player that many in the organization hope to replicate. He plays hard, will do anything that is asked of him, and puts his best foot forward.

Signed as an undrafted free agent, Whitney ended up playing the year with Peoria of the Arizona Rookie League. He spent most of his time in the middle of the order, despite being a natural top of the order player.

Whitney led the Peoria squad in RBI's while tying for the team lead in walks, runs scored and homers.

He plays solid defense and will do the things necessary to become better, he just needed a chance. How high he will go depends on his versatility. He is an organizational player that will be around for a while because of his leadership qualities, high character and ability to play.

50. James Darby fits perfectly at the end of the list. A former fast-pitch softball player, Darby maintained some of that irregular delivery, the submariner. Because of his delivery, the ball looks like it is coming from third base and can break over the plate.

The biggest problem he faces is consistency. With a delivery that no coach can mimic, Darby must be in tune with his mechanics and stick to the same release point on every pitch. When he puts the ball close to the plate, he has been nearly unhittable.

The heavy price he pays is when he is not throwing it over the plate. Last year, he walked a ton of batters and that bloated his ERA.

He is one of the toughest pitchers to catch in the organization because of his delivery and the erratic nature of his pitch. Command of his electric stuff could shoot the Aussie up the prospect charts.

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