Given to the player that not only makes strides from a development standpoint but also produces results. Carvajal had some trouble chasing breaking balls out of the zone and is beginning to truly learn how to hit by laying off the ball down and away and tagging the ones he can drive.
From the start of the season until the end of Instructs, Chalk was the most improved position player. He had a back injury that limited his speed during the season but showed no ill effects from the injury, lacing liners down the line, hitting the gaps, and collecting quite a few extra base hits – including several triples.
Hussey had a rough season and had trouble finding the strike zone. He rarely got ahead in the count and never got into his secondary pitches. He rebounded mightily at Instructs, throwing first-pitch strikes with regularity and using his off-speed pitches with positive results.
Lara had a good year and continued the trend with an outstanding fall. He learned that he does not have to overpower hitters and his breaking ball and changeup took steps forward.
There is a common phrase associated with a player such as Parrino – ‘He is a baseball player.' The infielder does everything that is asked, gives his all on the field and his day is not complete unless it has dirt stains marking his jersey. He is a gamer and a player every manager wants on his team.
Tabbed to see time as a catcher for the first time as a professional, Freese was the epitome of bigger, faster, and stronger. He looked comfortable behind the plate and put in the work at other defensive positions, showing his superior stamina by doing everything he was asked to. Freese won the Mr. Clutch award last season.
Offense and defense are equally important and Sogard showed he is capable of rising to the occasion in both. He was sure-footed with an accurate arm in the field, showing a nice pivot from second base. He was also among the best with his offensive showing, hitting the ball hard in every at bat and improving on a solid first season as a professional.
The executive staff will continue to work on filling the coaching vacancies throughout the system.
With Tony Muser now the roving hitting instructor, the Arizona Rookie League Padres (AZL) managerial position is open.
The AZL batting coach is also open, as Manny Crespo will not return. Bronswell Patrick, now officially part of the staff, is expected to take over as the AZL pitching coach. With Gary Lance not returning as the pitching coach in Portland, it could have a cascade effect with each pitching coach getting bumped up a level.
The Padres also have an opening for an outfield defense and baserunning instructor with Tom Gamboa taking over as the minor league field coordinator.
Greg Riddoch is expected to return for what could be his final season as the Eugene Emeralds manager. It has been said he is grooming Jose Flores to take over when he departs.