Fernandez, 22, most recently worked as a reliever for the Padres' farm team in Low-A Fort Wayne, with a 2.89 ERA in 52 games, with 45 strikeouts and 13 walks in 65.1 innings. The 2006 season was a follow-up to Fernandez's 2005 breakout year after being moved to relief.
Wagner, 25, has developed slowly since being drafted in the 5th round of 2003 from the University of Washington. Wagner's 2005 season was derailed by injuries, but in 2006 he simply couldn't find playing time in High-A San Jose. Wagner played in just 76 games, with 15 doubles, 4 triples, and 8 home runs. He struck out 81 times and walked 15 times.
Fernandez came into camp this spring for the Padres with some decreased velocity. He has thrown as high as 96-97 in the past, but his fastball velocity was sitting in the 92-94 range in Fort Wayne last year. This spring, the fastball has been in the 90 MPH area. He pairs his fastball with a good slider. His pitching coach with Fort Wayne, Tom Bradley, says of him, "He has the makings of a very good slider."
Fernandez had been expected to join the Padres High-A team in Lake Elsinore of the California League, but there will be some stiff competition for him to join the Giants affiliate in the same league.
Wagner's playing time has dwindled in recent years, mostly because of a crowded outfield situation in the Giants' system. Jack Hiatt, the Giants' Director of Player Development, recently said in an interview of the team's outfield depth "The only thing that bothers us sometimes is that they get really stacked up…there's no room to move." He also added "If [the team's minor league outfielders] can't help our big club, they can certainly be a part of something to help our big club."
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