Fitting pieces into the minor league puzzle

We caught up with Jeff Kingston, the Padres director of baseball operations to see if we could get a beat on where players such as Kyle Blanks, Daryl Jones, Geoff Vandel and Chase Headley will begin the year. Kingston admitted a lot would be up to the individual player in spring but did share his thoughts.

John Conniff: Kyle Blanks, a.k.a. "Gigantor" captured a lot of people's interest last year. Have the Padres thought of playing him at other positions besides first base and any idea where he will start next year?

Jeff Kingston: As of right now, he is just focusing on first base, there really hasn't been much discussion about moving him around. We'll probably start him off in Eugene.

John Conniff: Javis Diaz had a nice year as well, same question Fort Wayne or extended spring training/Eugene.

Jeff Kingston: He profiles more as a centerfielder, but at this point his defense needs some work. His bat could probably handle Fort Wayne, but he should be in Eugene next year.

John Conniff: Two pitchers who really shined this year in Peoria were Geoff Vandel, who is only 19, and Ernesto Frieri. Where do you see them starting next year?

Jeff Kingston: Vandel will probably be targeted for Fort Wayne, but we're going to have close to 30 pitchers in the major league camp, so a lot of where certain players are headed is going is to be as much about numbers as their talent.

John Conniff: Last year I was really impressed with Seth Johnston, the Padres fifth round pick out of Texas in 2005. Do the Padres plan on keeping him in the middle infield?

Jeff Kingston: We plan to keep him at shortstop for next year, that seems where most of his value is. He is good enough to play there right now; we hope he can stick there. His bat has some pop.

John Conniff: Daryl Jones, a top draft pick from 2004 had a down year in Eugene. What are the Padres plans for him next year?

Jeff Kingston: He is a raw kid with a lot of talent, but he has a long way to go. We aren‘t going to move him up until he‘s ready. He‘ll probably be back in Eugene.

John Conniff: Is it true Chase Headley will start the year at Lake Elsinore and not Fort Wayne and why?

Jeff Kingston: He will get an opportunity to play there, we're going to look to push him if he can handle it. He's got a lot of talent, great makeup, but we'll see what he does in spring training.

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