The 50 Top Prospects List and By Position Report"> The 50 Top Prospects List and By Position Report">

The MadFriars.com Top 50: #25-21

The MadFriars.com Top 50 continues with power hitters, starters, relievers, a lack of run support and a wealth of speed. As MadFriars.com gets closer to the top 20, find out who might be there, or higher, next year with <b>#25-21</b>. <br><br>And if you have missed any of the top 50 to date, check out <a href="http://padres.scout.com/3/TopProspects.html">The 50 Top Prospects List and By Position Report</a>

25. Rusty Tucker missed most of the year after Tommy John surgery. When he returned, his fastball hovered in the 86-90 area. The latest word has it back in the 90's but not at the level it was when he was injured.

He pitched in Peoria before throwing on the side with the Mobile team and ended up with Lake Elsinore late in the year. After being off the mound for so long, Tucker was trying to gain a comfort level and confidence in his ability to get people out.

After any surgery that renders a player incapable of performing, how he readjusts to his body and learns to keep everything in perspective is cloudy. Once Tucker can get past the injury and throw without pause, he should again join the elite.

Tucker remains the best closer prospect in the system. Plus he is left-handed. Until he proves he is 100 percent, which could take another year depending on his progress, his future will be in question.

24. Brian Whitaker sports a career record of 21-25 but his ERA is just 2.79. He simply hasn't gotten the run support.

A sinkerball pitcher, Whitaker has solid command of the strike zone and can move the ball to both part of the plate effectively. He has walked just 79 batters in 416.1 innings of work, an average of 1.7 per nine innings pitched.

A former 27th round draft pick out of North Carolina, Whitaker had another quiet season. Supremely effective in a brief stint with Lake Elsinore, he was elevated to Mobile.

He holds a career WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of 1.12 and held the opposition to a .244 batting average. Besides the sinker, Whitaker has a cut-fastball and slider, topping out around 92 milers per hour.

He needs another challenge with a good lineup to support him and that would definitely be the case in Portland, where Jon Knott, Tagg Bozied, Humberto Quintero and J.J. Furmaniak will reside. With confidence in his lineup, Whitaker could take his game to the next level.

23. Yordany Ramirez is likely the fastest player in the Padres system outside of Freddy Guzman and Todd Donovan (who incidentally won the 60-yard dash competition in camp this year). That alone makes him a valuable commodity.

Although he has not played above what equates to Rookie League ball, Ramirez has shown some flashes that could make him an intriguing prospect down the road.

Outside of the cannon arm of Ruben Mora, Ramirez has the best outfield arm in the system. He has above average range but needs to refine his ability to track balls. He will sometimes take a bad angle to get to a ball hit in the gap.

This year, Ramirez may be bumped up to Fort Wayne where he will get a chance to play in a full season league. He only had a cup of coffee with Eugene late in the year but smacked a homer and drove in three. Still just 20 years old, it is conceivable that the Padres would put him in Eugene for the year but his arm and potential could be well utilized by the Wizards.

22. Leo Rosales has been closing out games for two straight years and rarely gets the credit he deserves. After mowing down batters in Eugene, Rosales wasn't on the Fort Wayne roster to open the season. When he did make his appearance in the Midwest League in early May, he began another stellar campaign on the hill.

Rosales ended up winning the Midwest League Rolaids Relief Award, despite not getting a save opportunity until June 2. Twenty six saves and six wins later he had 90 points in the competition was a big reason behind the Wizards' run to the playoffs.

With a fastball that hits the low nineties to go along with a curveball and changeup, Rosales doesn't have what many consider "closers' stuff". But each day he hits the mound he attacks the hitter and challenges them with everything he has.

He has struck out 124 in 100.2 innings of work over a career that has spanned two seasons. He has allowed just 19 earned runs in the past two years for an ERA of 1.70. As one scout mentioned, "At some point, you have to look at his numbers and be impressed."

21. Daryl Jones was a fourth round pick of the Padres in 2004, out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles. He got his first exposure to the system, playing in Peoria and showed surprising instincts.

The first baseman had two seven game hitting streaks and another six game hitting streak in 36 games played, including 12 multi-hit games. He ended the season with a .295 average and his average never dipped below .290 after the third game of the season.

Just 17 when he was drafted, Jones had signed on to play with Cal-State Fullerton but the Padres made him an offer he couldn't refuse, including a bonus worth $375K. He struck out a lot the first half of his Peoria season but cut down on his whiffs over the final half by almost half (26 in his first 20 games, 12 in his next 16).

Jones, out until May after ankle surgery in February, has, perhaps, the highest ceiling of any position prospect in the system. He has a very easy swing and should greatly increase his power numbers as he gets older.


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