Fuson on Padres prospects in low minors

Is Yefri Carvajal really having a good year? You might be surprised. Wynn Pelzer more than a ninth-round pick? Is there disappointment with Corey Kluber and Cory Luebke? How good has Dan Robertson been? Is Eugene the same after Sawyer Carroll left? Is Jaff Decker as good as advertised? Who is the surprise in Arizona? MadFriars.com caught up with Grady Fuson to find out the answers.

Yefri Carvajal down in Fort Wayne. You have to be pleased with him putting the ball in play and putting up a solid average.

Grady Fuson: Well, I differ. I am not happy. I am a little disappointed. Granted, when you look at it from afar and see .270 or .280 with 20 doubles but my expectations for Yefri was a little bit better and not when it comes to average. It doesn't matter to me if he hit .240 or .280 but those other core numbers I thought were prepared to be better – homers, walks, consistency in his approach. The batting average doesn't do a whole lot for me. Don't get me wrong, there is a difference between hitting .210 and .280. There is not a big difference in guys hitting .240 or .260.

That consistency in the approach – the way he is attacking the baseball, the type of pitches he is going after – that is what I watch. Granted, I do give him credit when you look at the overall numbers. You kind of say, ‘Ok.' He is still very undisciplined, chasing breaking balls early in the count and late in the count.

He is not staying behind pitches where he can drive them. I know this is an estimate but I would estimate that half of his hits are undriven baseballs. There are shanks, rolled over and topped ground balls. But, he has a smile on his face, he is busting his butt and giving 100 percent. No matter how this season ends, it will be positive one for him.

Wynn Pelzer has been quite successful this season after not pitching last year. What has impressed you about him?

Grady Fuson: He has finally come fully as advertised. His whole personality has opened up. I think that is due to confidence and success. He has a good arm. He has movement. He has an electric slider. He is still fighting the changeup a little bit but he knows how important it is. He has had a terrific year.

Are you a little disappointed in the efforts of Cory Luebke and Corey Kluber after starting both in the California League?

Grady Fuson: Yes, obviously, we thought they were prepared for that league. Their maturity, where they have been in the past, what we saw from them last year. For whatever reason, we have our own, why it didn't hold up. I think going back to Fort Wayne is rebuilding the confidence along with some of the things we tried to clean up mechanically. Sometimes, a guy has to take a step back before moving forward. Those guys are certainly in that mode.

Dan Robertson has played much better than his 33rd-round status would indicate. He seems to have an infectious personality.

Grady Fuson: He has been a tremendous pick for us. He has had an All-Star year.

Sawyer Carroll had 25 extra base hits in the Northwest League to lead the league at the time of his promotion just as Eugene was really playing well.

Grady Fuson: I think the whole Eugene thing has come to fruition now that we have Carroll there early in the year but now (Matt) Clark is there, (Cole) Figueroa is there and it has elevated the play of all parties.

It took some time because this wasn't a dominant group of starters we took this year in the draft and of the starters we did take, we really had to back off on innings from what they have done with (Rob) Musgrave, (Anthony) Bass, Erik Davis. I think it took some time to put that rotation together to not only A) develop but B) to monitor innings based on the workload they had in college. We are in much better shape on the pitching side than early in the summer.

After the draft, you and Chief mentioned Jaff Decker as the best high school bat available and he has made you look good. Did you expect him to see this much success so soon?

Grady Fuson: It doesn't surprise me with what he is doing. He is a very polished, intelligent, 18-year-old hitter. Besides hitting skill and strength, this guy has an advanced idea of what is going on in the strike zone.

Granted, anytime a guy hits .350 their first summer with some damage – sometimes you never predict that. I remember when Cedric (Hunter) did it. It doesn't totally surprise us. We took those guys high in the draft with our expectation of them hitting-wise.

It seems Chris Wilkes is a ground ball pitcher that works to contact and throws strikes. Have you been surprised by his quick assimilation into pro ball?

Grady Fuson: He has been a tremendous surprise – a guy that we did not have a lot of information on, a guy that came to us late. He has a special knack for 18. I think he is loving it. He is learning a lot of baseball. He is leveraging the ball downhill. He is really digging this whole changeup thing. We have not done much with his breaking ball, which is fine. He has been good.

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