Prospect Pulse: Rising stock

Getting the attention of the team that has your rights has always been the goal for a prospect. If you aren't turning heads, you simply aren't doing your job. These prospects on the Padres' farm showcased their talents last year and impressed along the way.

With Nick Trzesniak on the road to Texas, Luke Carlin gets a jumpstart to his career. In fact, his career was already on the rise; he is the best defensive catcher in the system.

A backup catcher through most of his career, Carlin played second fiddle to Trzesniak and George Kottaras this past season.

But the impressions he made when he got in the game have been enough to make the loss of Trzesniak to the Rangers bearable.

Carlin hasn't shown the offensive skills that one would like to see out of a catcher but his ability behind the plate is what the Padres' deem more valuable at this time.

Carlin has great footwork and balance behind the dish and can launch out of his stance quickly to get in throwing position. It helps that his arm and aim are true – he led the system in throwing out runners.

Asking more from his bat would require consistent at bats and until he gets those at bats the asking price is too high. But keep an eye on Carlin in the coming years – he could be backing up in the Bigs one day.

Peter Ciofrone, blessed with the ability to hit, showed that promise. Like most players taken out of the high school ranks, Ciofrone toiled in mediocrity – until this year.

He hit a blistering .363 with runners in scoring position and showed a knack for driving in the big run. He also displayed plate discipline, netting 50 walks to 53 strikeouts.

The one concern from many is where to place him on the field.

"I got the Gold Glove Award from 9th grade to 12th grade. I feel like that's a strong part of my game. Hopefully, one day the Padres, I mean I know they're seeing it now, but I hope they see a little more soon. "

When one Padres executive was asked about his gold gloves in high school, the response was "Really? I never knew that." He has changed the way they feel about his hitting ability and next up is bringing attention to his fielding ability.

Spending the whole year in Fort Wayne wasn't the kindest way to say thank you to Mike Ekstrom. It does not, however, mean that the Padres aren't fond of the right-hander.

He fell into "the everything happens for a reason" category. But it doesn't diminish the talent he showed this year. He went 13-6 and was 13-3 before the final month.

He had a better than 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and kept the ball down in the zone through the year. In 17 of his 28 starts he allowed two runs or less.

Ekstrom admitted he tired down the stretch and perhaps the Padres had the foresight to believe that would happen. An off-season program that ensures his stamina could continue his rise up the system.

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