DJ's Top 30 Padres Prospects

1) Josh Barfield - Barfield has been on the watch list since he was drafted as an 18 year-old in 2002. Although he's struggled in the opening months each of the last two seasons, his numbers at Portland in 2005 show that he has nothing left to prove at Triple-A. With the departure of Mark Loretta, the future is now for Barfield.

2) Ben Johnson
Even two years ago when his career numbers were pretty unimpressive, many agreed that he was the finest athlete in the system. After some work with Rob Deer, all that ability clicked mid-year in 2004 and he hasn't slowed down since. Although he will go into the season as a fourth outfielder, he will likely get 300 at bats on the year between injuries and Dave Roberts' struggle against lefties. He generates a lot of bat speed and should enjoy banging the ball into the gaps at PETCO Park.

3)
Cesar Carrillo
Jake Peavy is the only starter to come through the Padres' system in the last decade with better stuff than Carrillo. The lanky right-hander throws a mid-90's fastball, has excellent command of the strike zone and knows what he wants to do on the mound. If he does well in Mobile to start the year, he could make the jump directly from Double-A.

4)
Jared Wells
There's a pretty big drop between three and four here, but Wells still has the ability to be an above-average starter in the big leagues. Another guy who grew into his skills this year - a credit to Elsinore pitching coach Dave Rajsich - Wells needs to find a balance between overthrowing the ball, as he tended to do in the lower end of the system, and "pitching to contact" rather than going for the kill.

5)
George Kottaras
While he is relatively inexperienced behind the plate for a guy his age (there aren't an awful lot of winter leagues for kids growing up in Ontario), he's a left-hand hitting catcher who makes good contact seemingly every time. There are still a few gaps in his swing, and he has some maturity to gain as a receiver, but there aren't many catching prospects above Double-A in the game who merit as much attention as Kottaras.

6)
Tim Stauffer
Even when his stuff wasn't considered the top of his draft class, the Padres liked Stauffer because they saw a fiery competitiveness in him. That seemed to be missing when he got to the big leagues last year, and certainly when he went back down to Portland. Stauffer should again be in the mix with the big club, but those who said he was a back-of-the-rotation guy appear to be right.

7)
Sean Thompson
One of the few high school pitchers the team has taken in the past six years, Thompson had a stellar start to 2005 at Lake Elsinore, but showed some flaws in Mobile. The lefty loses the strike zone at times and will have to improve in that area before succeeding at higher levels. His knee-buckling curve is a nasty pitch.

8)
Chase Headley
A switch-hitter with power and a good eye is a good thing. The fact he plays a position which is a black hole for the organization is even better. Headley retooled his swing from the left side this fall and will get every opportunity in the world with this franchise. He's not the fastest guy, but he moves well at third base and should rise quickly with success.
9) Clay Hensley Originally acquired for Matt Herges, Hensley's numbers fluctuated in the minors, but his 2005 season simply can't be ignored. After posting a sub-3.00 ERA in the Pacific Coast League - no easy feat - he simply outclassed major league hitters. He has no one great pitch, but he commands the entire strike zone and keeps batters off-balance. He should join the rotation in 2006.

10)
Paul McAnulty
All you hear about the guy is that he just hits. And that he does. But I'm not convinced his ceiling is much more than that of a fourth outfielder/backup first baseman. He deserves huge credit for his work to lose weight and add muscle before the 2004 season, and his numbers have been above average everywhere. He'll probably see some significant time on the big league bench this year.

11) Freddy Guzman
12) Colt Morton
13) Nick Hundley
Morton had to go back to Ft. Wayne for a third season before it finally came together for him, and Hundley is the sexier pick right now. But Colt has as high a ceiling as any hitter in the system and should continue to put up eye-popping numbers in Elsinore. The true test for him will come only after Kottaras moves up to Portland and he gets to try his now-shorter swing against pitchers in the Southern League.

14) Michael Johnson
15) Dale Thayer
16) Kyle Blanks
17) Steve Andrade
Andrade's career minor league numbers read like something from a video game. He's recorded more than 13 strikeouts per nine innings and has a 2.15 ERA over five seasons. He's a bit old to be getting just his first taste of the big leagues, but his curve should help shore up a Padre bullpen, which has lost a number of key contributors from 2005.

18) Leo Rosales
19) Neil Jamison
20) Kennard Jones
21) Fabian Jimenez
22) Sean Kazmar
23) Matt Bush
24) Geoff Vandel
25) Brent Carter
26) Kenny Baugh
After missing almost two years with arm injuries, it took another full year for Baugh to regain a feel for pitching. But over the last season and a half, he's been a very good pitcher in the Tigers' system. Look for him to put up strong numbers at Portland early in the year and then get to the big team.

27)
Cesar Ramos
28) Drew Macias
He doesn't have the same gaudy on-base percentage numbers of some of the other outfielders in the system or the tools of Yordany Ramirez, but his .355 OBP at Lake Elsinore is nothing to sneeze at. He can flat-out go get any fly ball and has good speed on the bases. His ability to move up beyond Mobile will depend on adding a bit more pop to his bat and honing his instincts on the basepaths.

29)
Javis Diaz
30) Yordany Ramirez

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