Waller on Padres' prospects in the low minors

Peoria isn't Fort Knox, but sometimes it seems that way with five people in the stands on a daily basis. That is why we went to Tye Waller to talk about prospects such as David Jolliff, Ernesto Frieri and some players added from the Dominican Summer League while also talking about new additions Ryan Meaux, Geoff Vandel, Richie Daigle and Josh Howard.

After a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, Tye Waller, the Padres Director of Player Development, brought back some prospects to stock the club in the Arizona Rookie League. Waller swears these players were all on there way to Peoria prior to his visit:

Tye Waller: It takes a little while to get the guys in the country with visas. I knew they were coming here before I went down.

Replenishing the stock of the squad has also become essential with four players promoted to Eugene.

Tye Waller: We did sign Josh Howard, an outfielder. We signed Richie Daigle that just joined the team and will pitch (Wednesday). And we signed Geoff Vandel our 34th round pick from this year's draft.

Vandel, 6-foot-2, 205-pound, is a high school lefty taken out of Shaw High School in Columbus, GA. He struck out a school record 18 in one game during the 20005 season. He went 10-2 with a 2.05 ERA in 2005.

Daigle is a converted outfielder who last pitched in high school. He hit.342 with 24 home runs, 119 RBIs, 113 runs scored, 145 hits, a .604 slugging percentage, and a .944 fielding percentage while playing for North Georgia College & State University.

David Jolliff is a player who had not pitched prior to joining the Padres organization. What made you think he could develop as a pitcher?

Tye Waller: He has arm strength and is able to make adjustments. He could throw strikes. He can throw a good breaking ball. It is worth giving him a chance. Low 90's and a crisp breaking ball. He threw in the mid-nineties with ease and has a repeatable delivery.

So far he has been Jekyll and Hyde. He usually has one inning where a few runs cross the plate. If you can get a guy to get through that you might find something. Maybe he is a starter or maybe he is a guy who can give you a few innings as a middle reliever.

Ernesto Frieri has been lighting it up down in Peoria but has an inordinate amount of walks given up. What is his story?

Tye Waller: He is a guy that at the extended he had a problem with his finger. I don't know if you call it an ingrown nail but he could not get his hand healed. He couldn't pitch. That hand was so raw. He hasn't been consistent from there. Is that still how he is holding the ball.

He has an average fastball and a curve that he can throw for strikes. The important thing is he knows when to throw the curve. If you have a good curve, you will have success at the lower levels.

Ryan Meaux was added to Mobile after being acquired for Geoff Blum. What is the scouting report on Meaux?

Tye Waller: He is a guy that has a good arm. He has been a consistent pitcher. He is a fastball, curve, working on the changeup. He has pitched in Double-A. Being a left-hander – as long as he breathing, they have a chance. I know he told me he is working hard on the change.

You mentioned lefties simply need a pulse, does that apply to Craig Breslow?

Tye Waller: He was out of professional baseball last year. He has tightened up his breaking ball and has learned how to throw strikes with all of his pitches in any count.

What kind of emphasis is placed on the numbers you see from a player at each level?

Tye Waller: Numbers do matter in the big scope of things. Our goal is to find out where these guys are and to get them to improve.

I am excited about these players and moves.


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