In addition to lacking power, the first-baseman-turned-outfielder struggled in left field during spring training. Of particular note were several poor jumps and missed catches on seemingly routine fly-balls. At the plate, Baxter continued to display the patience for which he's often commended, but his lack of solid defensive skills makes him more of a liability. He also didn't show quite as much gap power as we anticipated.
Despite agile footwork and decent range, Ciriaco continues to be an error-prone shortstop. Since his defense is his greatest asset, this reduces his overall stock in our view. Unless he adds more bulk, we don't expect him to show power, either. It doesn't help that he wasn't comfortable in bunt or hit-and-run drills. Ciriaco was improved on pitch selection and drew a few walks, but he must ensure that he's adept at routine plays on both ends before he improves his rating on our list of prospects.
Although he worked hard this off-season, Delabar's command – already in question – has not been stellar. He starts out fine but has petered out in the third innings of each game he pitched – leaving his fastball up and missing out on the corners of the zone with his two-seamer. His slider has also not been effectively placed. Perhaps his move to the pen will prove fruitful.
Used to seeing his tenacious approach, Howard seemed bothered all spring by his inability to hit the ball on the nose. Instead of working the line drives and grounders, Howard elevated the ball and showed frustration – that mental block hindering through what we saw. He will get a boost in confidence going to Triple-A Portland.
Johnson is entering a crossroads this year and the early signs were not encouraging. He was bailing out on pitches this spring and never looked comfortable in the box. His hitting will be what saves him – along with health – and not having that in the early going could be suicidal. He is a streaky hitter and it may just be his timing. He better find it fast.
His pitch selection wasn't great when he came back from injury – and that is something he has been working on. The feeling is he wanted to show something in spring and pressed. He no longer is starting and has to come over the hump and mental block of not being in the starting lineup to begin the year.
Lobaton lacks accuracy on routine throws to second base and his hitting was unimpressive. With a glut of catchers, this puts him in my "stock falling" category. A few days ago, he grounded into a double play with bases loaded. Earlier this spring, he popped up to strand a couple and end the inning. Let's hope the season is better.
The clock is running out on Ramirez and he didn't respond as the Padres had hoped this spring. He looked bored out in centerfield, lollygagging on several occasions and the bat has yet to show consistency. This is the make or break season, and we are not encouraged by the signs he showed in spring. Perhaps we will see the competitiveness come out in the season.
Only players still with the Padres were considered.