Padres MLN: Skills Competition

Peoria, AZ- The San Diego Padres minor leagues performed its skills evaluation on Thursday at the Peoria Sports Complex. Everyone ran the 60-yard dash, outfielders threw from right field to home, infielders fielded a variety of balls, and catchers tossed the ball to second base.

  • Padres minor league field coordinator Tom Gamboa told everyone before the day began to "have fun with it. Compete."

    The day was setup to help the coaching staff get accurate grades for the players they see through the year. Several first-year coaches will be tasked with putting together reports and Padres vice president of scouting and player development Grady Fuson wanted to ensure everyone is on the same grading page.

  • As expected, Luis Durango topped all runners with a 6.30 60-yard dash time. Mitch Canham led the catchers – the only one to run a sub-7.00 time.

    Mike Sansoe ran well, but joked when he was partnered with another fast runner who did not want Sansoe to bump into him, "I am going to be yelling at you from behind."

    Felix Carrasco could not run a straight line. He looked more like a NASCAR driver ‘rubbing is racing'.

    After hurting his ankle the previous day, Daryl Jones wanted to run but Fuson kicked him out of the competition.

    The most anticipated time had to be the one Drew Cumberland would put up. Unfortunately, no one was able to find out as he was not on the field due to illness.

  • On the outfield drills, Drew Macias was the only player to flash an arm that rated slightly above average. He also showed the best positioning to throw the ball on a line to the plate.

    The accuracy department was led by Robert Perry. While he does not have the arm of a few outfielders, he hit the catcher's glove and was around the plate on each throw.

    Craig Cooper also flashed an average arm and had a nice line to the plate, positioning his body well to make the throw. Luis Durango impressed with his arm mainly because it is evident he has become stronger in that department and more accurate.

    The biggest disappointment had to be Javis Diaz. His arm has not gotten better – and may have actually been worse than it was last year.

  • On the catching front, Luis Martinez led the charge. The backstop fired down to second base in 1.85 seconds – the only player to measure up less than 1.9. His quick hips and ability to get into throwing position quickly make him a potential force behind the dish. His accuracy will need to improve.

    Luke Carlin has the surest mechanics coming out from behind the plate. He locked in times at 1.91 seconds with his quick glove to hand exchange.

    Jose Lobaton flashed the strongest arm. He rifled four straight throws on the money to second base, but needs work in getting out of his stance and throwing position to be among the elite. His arm could prove to be a boon if the rest of his body catches up.

    Wary Polanco had a tough time with the drills. As a contingent of Padres coaches and staff watched, Polanco began rushing. The result was a lack of concentration that caused him to drop several balls before getting a chance to throw.

    "Catch the ball first – soft hands," Dyer reminded.

  • All of the infielders who are not first basemen worked from shortstop during their drills to even the playing field.

    The best defenders came one right after another with two sharing the same surname. Gabe Lopez and Jesus Lopez both showed grace with quick releases, sure hands, and accurate throws. Brian Lauderdale showed good feet and solid positioning, looking smooth fielding from shortstop. Ray Stokes has a much better arm than in the past but will rush his movements trying to get the ball to first.

    Rayner Contreras, who may end up playing third base this year, rushes his throws and lacks the footwork necessary to play the position. While he has a good arm, he does not attack the ball.

    Jones looked good swiveling his hips during first base drills. His throws to the second and third base were solid and his footwork looks much better than in the past. Zachary Brown looked fluid turning to throw to second and his movements appeared to be smooth and unhindered.

    Carrasco, playing first base this year, had a tough time corralling the ball. When he did get the ball in his mitt, he rushed his throw and stood too tall – making his throws go errant.

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