Padres prospect mailbag: Conniff edition

As a new feature, in addition to the daily summary and interviews on your favorite Padres' prospect, we have decided to add some mailbags to

We will rotate between John and Denis as we each get unique questions related to the Padres organization and its prospects.

There have been some excellent questions, and we have provided some pretty good replies (so we like ourselves a lot, what can we say).

It's also a way to make the site more interactive, and for our readers to help us explore new angles, stories and opinions that we haven't written about.

This mailbag will catch you up on several letters we received in July and the original response we gave. Let's see if there was any validity to our claims…

July 20, 2005


What do you think the Padres will do with Chris Kolkhorst? His numbers are pretty good and being a college senior draftee do you think they will move him? I haven't seen him mentioned in your interviews with Padres brass.


John Conniff: Thanks for taking the time to send me you question. I've always been a fan of the "Grit Man". In fact he just missed making my pre-season Top Ten. In fact, I had him as an "honorable mention" at #11.

He's had a good year this year at Fort Wayne, and in the last column on the players of the month for Fort Wayne I wrote that he would probably be the most likely to be promoted. The best aspects of Chris' game is his ability to control the strike zone, ability to play all three outfield positions and be the quintessential lead-off man.

After a bad May (.223), he's put together some really solid performances, including this month where he is hitting .379. Right now his biggest impediment to promotion might be more organizational, rather than how well he is playing in the Midwest League.

For the Padres to promote him they have to do something with either Jordan Pickens, Skip Adams or Craig Johnson. However, with the Padres moving Adam Hydzu from Portland, we could see Paul McAnulty (Mobile) moved up to Portland, which could cause someone from LE to be moved up to Mobile.

Kolkhorst is definitely my first choice to be moved up from Fort Wayne right now, and hopefully we will see him in Lake Elsinore sooner, rather than later.

Kolkhorst was called up to Lake Elsinore on August 1, 2005, and has produced admirably since.

July 21, 2005


Daryl Jones has struggled in Eugene adjusting to the off speed and breaking pitches .what do you think of his future?


John Conniff: Daryl Jones, 18, drafted in the 2004 draft and was the Padres third overall pick (Jones will turn 19 on September 1). He is 6-foot-3, 200 lbs and his raw power potential was considered one of the best among prep players in the draft. Last year he easily had the best season among the top Padres' draft picks [fellow high school players shortstop Matt Bush and catcher Billy Killian] hitting .295 with a .327 OBP and a .389 slugging percentage in the Arizona League.

An ankle injury prevented him from competing for a full season position in the spring and probably factored into his slow start in Eugene, where he hit .088 for the first month. Jones has picked it up slightly in July hitting .233, but seven of his 17 hits were for extra bases, so there has been some improvement.

Obviously he will have to pick it up if he's going to start next year in Fort Wayne, but a solid August and a good performance in the winter Instructional Leagues should do the job. Frankly, as of now, the Padres don't have a lot of other options in 2006 at Fort Wayne, so it's really his position to lose.

Mike Baxter, the current Wizard's first baseman, should move up to Lake Elsinore in 2006 and Peoria first baseman Kyle Banks, a.k.a. "Gigantor" is simply too athletic to be limited to only one position.

As for his overall future within the organization it's far too early to make a credible prediction. However, the road to the major leagues for a right handed hitting first baseman is the most difficult in baseball. Jones will have to show some serious power and adjust to a lot more than breaking balls in the Northwest League for him to land in PETCO.

As for right now, he seems to be on the right path, but we will really have a better idea of his major league potential in a few years.

Thanks for the question.

August 20, 2005

I was wondering your thoughts on the progression of Matt Lauderdale. I am a subscriber and noticed that you thought that Nick Hundley would be taking his playing time in the near future. Matt is putting up great numbers, but I was wondering as far as the organization is concerned…does he fit in? Does he have a projectable future with the Padres? I've seen this kid play before when I was in Fort Wayne and his defense definitely stood out. Now he's killing the ball. Just wondering your thoughts.

Chris Stanley

John Conniff: Thanks for the email, sorry about the delay in getting back to you. I saw Lauderdale play this year in Fort Wayne too, but I came away more impressed with his bat.

I think Matt's biggest problems right now are the guys in front of him in the organization Kottaras (Mobile), Morton (LE) and Trzesniak (Portland), behind him (Killian in the Arizona League) and the player that he is with right now Nick Hundley. Throw in the fact that he is older than everyone except Trzesniak in the system, and the other guys just have more upside, especially defensively, so it's difficult to project much of a future with the Padres for him.

Nick Hundley especially, with his power, defense, high draft status and that he is three years younger than Lauderdale, he is going to see a lot of playing time for the remainder of the year behind the plate with the Wizards.

My guess is next year you will see the Padres put Kottaras at Portland, Morton at Mobile, Hundley in Lake Elsinore and Killian at Fort Wayne. The Padres just have so much talent at catcher, my guess is you will probably see him with another organization next year, unless they want to keep him around in a backup role at Lake Elsinore.

Depending on what the Padres do in the off-season, I think Nick Trzesniak may have an outside chance of making the Padres, he is an exceptional defensive player, the big question about him has always been his bat.

Have a question about a prospect in the San Diego Padres' system. Send John an email at Some questions will be forwarded and answered on air during weekly segment on the flagship station for San Diego Padres' baseball, The Mighty 1090. The show airs each Friday at 10:35 AM PST with Brian Wilson and Ernie Martinez.

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