Top 60 San Diego Padres Prospects of 2008

MadFriars.com annually ranks the top 60 San Diego Padres Prospects, and the best news is it gets harder and harder to do every season. That is a credit to the strengthening of the farm by the San Diego Padres' front office and development staff.

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No player that missed most, if not all, of 2008 or is projected to miss all of 2009 was eligible to be ranked, eliminating Nick Schmidt, Matt Bush, Euclides Viloria, John Hussey, Will Startup, John Hudgins, Neil Jamison, Danny Payne, and Allen Harrington from consideration.

What is your philosophy on the value of a prospect as it relates to MadFriars.com Prospects rankings?

Long-term success at the major league level. It has been said that the easiest thing to do is get to the majors but the hardest thing to do is stay there.

It is easy to predict who will reach the major leagues. It is harder to predict who will not only reach their dream but also have long-term success. The word prospect is defined as "the possibility of future success."

Future success – not future mediocrity.

When determining the rankings below, there are a multitude of things to consider. Will they reach their potential? How much improvement has to happen? A position player may have all five-tools – but will he learn to use them at a major league level? How far have they come in the past year? How far can they go?

Those are just a few of the questions one needs to ask in determining a prospect's status. But – there is one trait that can't be measured – what the eye sees. It is an important quality and one that a scout lives by – his eyes. When talking about a prospect, there is a certain level of overzealousness. The eyes don't lie.

If you have a firm understanding of the mechanics of pitching and hitting, how a slider should break, and everything in between the foul poles, you can be more confident in your assessment. Scouts don't look at stats. While production is certainly worth noting, gems can be found by watching the player, their mechanics, the break of the pitch, the swing plane – the list goes on and on.

The top 60 San Diego Padres ranked below are a blend of more than just traits, tricks, assessments, theories, beliefs, and eyes. Not only do we see every player, we back it up by talking to players, coaches, and scouts. If we don't see a player, he is not ranked. If we see a player once, he is not ranked. It is the only way we can be honest with you – the reader. We look to backup our findings and one bad game can't tell the true measure of a prospect.

MadFriars.com Top 60 Prospects

1. Kyle Blanks – 1B

The massive man put together a phenomenal season in Double-A, hitting for power and proving to be clutch once again. His bat is special, as he hits all balls hard to all parts of the field. While he is relegated to first base right now, he has athleticism and might be a candidate to move to the outfield to make room for his potent bat – one that would have no trouble sending balls out of PETCO Park.

2. Jaff Decker – OF

Hunter was great in the AZL but Decker was superb. The outfielder came in from the high school ranks and dominated – showing an incredible batting eye, power, a strong arm and the ability to steal some bags. With his toolset, Decker has the potential to be an All-Star at the major league level and is really just scratching the surface of his talent. He rarely swings at bad pitches and can put barrel to ball with the best of them.

3. Cedric Hunter – OF

Hunter has the rare ability to put the ball in play on any pitch, and that had been a trouble spot in the past. He spent this season honing on his pitch and driving the ball with authority. As his eye continues to improve and centers on pitches he can handle, Hunter should continue to see his power numbers go up. With a high average a yearly thing, his ability to handle centerfield will dictate where he sits in years to come.

4. Mat Latos – RHP

While an oblique injury claimed a large part of the season, Latos remains a power arm with tremendous stuff across the board. If he can concede to throwing the changeup more often, his stuff will be deadly at any level. With a mid-90s fastball and solid command, Latos has the ability to be a front-line pitcher at the major league level. Concern about his maturity continue to creep up – dropping him in the rankings from a season ago.

5. Matt Antonelli – 2B

A down season took away some of the luster, but Antonelli remains a talented prospect with excellent plate discipline and burgeoning power. He has an array of skills that is enhanced by excellent makeup and will find his way back to being a top prospect in the next year. Bad habits early cascaded, but the real Antonelli showed up in the final month of the year.

6. Kellen Kulbacki – OF

After a terrible start, Kulbacki got into a rhythm and never slowed down. A corner outfielder with considerable power, Kulbacki was able to shorten up his swing and really connected on good fastballs that he missed a season ago. He doesn't strike out a ton and hits the gap with regularity but does seem to need at-bats to get the flow of his swing mechanics working in concert. Kulbacki also has room to grow and should become stronger as he matures.

7. Wynn Pelzer – RHP

After suffering a fractured kneecap last year, Pelzer came in and blew away the Midwest League with his plus sinking fastball and solid secondary pitches. Moving away from a splitter to the more traditional changeup, the right-hander wasn't shy in its use, and it enabled him to keep hitters guessing. Despite plus stuff, he is adept at working to contact and inducing the ground ball. Once he comes inside without fear, Pelzer will be a truly dominant force.

8. Chad Huffman – OF

Despite the sub par numbers he posted in San Antonio, Huffman is a big league hitter. He handles good pitching. A line drive hitter with solid power, Huffman's swing got a little loopy at times as he tried to put a charge into the ball at his home park where the wind blew in at 15 MPH nightly. The frustration was evident as a result. Huffman is a batter who goes up to the plate with a plan and sticks to it even with two strikes. That will lead to some called third strikes but he believes in his ability and doesn't waver in the approach.

9. Drew Cumberland – SS

An incredible athlete, injuries have limited Cumberland's ability to showcase his talent over a full season. He has game-changing speed that can pile on the stolen bases. The shortstop will also begin loading up on triples as the maturation process continues. He began this season slow but had turned it around before his season ended. He has made mechanical changes to his swing that should pay dividends with his ability to recognize pitches and drive them into the gaps where he can use his speed to his advantage.

10. Allan Dykstra – 1B

A late signing took away at-bats in his first professional season, but the hulking first baseman has as much power as anyone within the system. He has a few mechanical flaws in his swing that will produce a high strikeout total at this level but also has the patience required to hit his pitch and hit it far. Dykstra is a little stiff in his stance and is working on creating better separation to handle pitches on both sides of the plate.

11. Yefri Carvajal – OF

While he did not hit for as much power as the Padres' brass hoped, Carvajal was able to put bat to ball more consistently this year. The concern remains that he is swinging at too many breaking balls and making soft contact, but at-bats should begin to rectify that in the coming year, as his eye has steadily improved. He must make a concerted effort to lay off the ball tailing away to do damage with his potentially potent bat. Some players take longer to reach their immense talent and Carvajal fits that mold.

12. Wade LeBlanc – LHP

The southpaw had a learning year in Triple-A, working his two-seamer into the equation and making adjustments away from his changeup to keep hitters off-balance. A few bad starts sent the ERA skyrocketing, but LeBlanc still has the outstanding changeup and ability to make good hitters look foolish. Once he learns to adapt on a game-by-game basis, LeBlanc has the potential to man the back half of a rotation for years to come.

13. Will Inman – RHP

After he was acquired from Milwaukee, Inman's velocity was down tremendously, but he came into the year hitting the low-90s and maintained consistency with that number through the year. Inman has a lot of deception in his delivery and a great curveball to baffle hitters. He sometimes will focus on the putting hitters away with a strikeout rather than inducing contact for the easy out and walked far too many this season due to a change in arm slot.

14. James Darnell – 3B

A late signing, Darnell is a terrific athlete who combines power with average and the ability to play multiple positions defensively. He has a lanky frame that has a lot of room to fill out. It is conceivable that he goes the path of Chase Headley with his off-season program to add weight to further buoy his prospect status. He can already hit the gaps with authority and added strength will ensure the homers follow.

15. Drew Miller – RHP

If stuff is the barometer, Miller has a great combination of tools to work with. Taking into account the 2008 season, it had to be a bit of a disappointment. Simply put, Miller's stuff spent too much time over the center of the plate. He has not learned how to be effective working inside to combat hitters leaning out over the plate. His changeup remains a work in progress while his breaking ball shows above average tendencies.

16. Steve Garrison – LHP

There are few who have the pinpoint control that this southpaw offers. Shoulder surgery aside, Garrison has a full compliment of four pitches he throws – each for strikes and to all four qudrants of the zone. The left-hander works effectively inside and is very mature for his age. He had some trouble holding runners but improved significantly in that area this season.

17. Sawyer Carroll – OF

Carroll still has a few aluminum bat kinks to work out from his swing but his willingness to work and readiness to play each day was a testament to his ability to learn a professional approach. He feasted on pitches on the inner half of the plate, sending them into the gaps and over the wall. Carroll did have some trouble staying away from the breaking pitches away and saw a steady diet of junk once promoted. He will have need to learn his comfort zone with those pitches, staying away from the ones he can't do damage with.

18. Anthony Bass – RHP

Spending the year in the pen after being overused in college, Bass has four quality pitches that he can throw for strikes from a Tim Lincecum style delivery. He has good extension towards the plate and the differential in the speed of his pitches is enough to keep hitters off-balance. Bass is a player that could move quickly, as he has an advanced feel for pitch sequencing and his confidence is off the charts.

19. Cesar Carrillo – RHP

He has top-five talent but is working his way back into shape after Tommy John surgery and his location has not been what it was. The velocity has crept back up to the mid-90s but not with consistency. The Padres expect Carrillo to be back to where he was prior to surgery in Spring Training. If his changeup comes back to where it was with his plus fastball that has late movement down in the zone, Carrillo could quickly rise into the top 10 again.

20. Will Venable – OF

Doing everything well but nothing extraordinary has made Venable a staple of consistency. He is not prone to the draughts that others may succumb to and keeps everything at en even keel. He is very athletic and has power that should continue to blossom, using his intellect and work ethic to get the job done and done well. Venable could be a tad more patient at the plate, as he does strikeout too much without the homer totals. He is at his best when he uses the whole field and drives balls into the gaps.

21. Blake Tekotte – OF

The Padres have been looking for a quintessential leadoff hitter for some time and may have found a true candidate this season in Tekotte. The centerfielder is a solid defender with excellent range, and at the plate shows patience, an ability to hit the ball to different parts of the field and surprising power. He has some work to do on his route running and taking a rather large rap out of his swing.

22. Simon Castro – RHP

The lanky right-hander has improved tenfold upon his command in his short time stateside and has all the makings of a special talent. He has an outstanding fastball and a slider that has much sharper break than in the past. If his changeup can become a go-to pitch with solid differential in the velocity from his slider, Castro could vault himself into the top 10. Not to go unnoticed, Castro's command of the English language has made tremendous strides in the last year – a great sign for an emerging Latin prospect.

23. Logan Forsythe – 3B

Three games into his career, Forsythe suffered a hand injury sliding into first base. He came back near the end of the season but his timing was off. In the Instructional League, Forsythe looked like the ferocious hitter that got him drafted so high. He has a clean, compact stroke and drives through the ball. Forsythe does not have a lot of wasted effort in his swing and his quick hands generate natural power that can play at any level.

24. Mitch Canham – C

There is no questioning his ability to hit. Canham has a fantastic batting eye and generates tremendous speed in the bat head, hitting most balls hard to all parts of the field. His power numbers should continue to rise as a result of his solid foundation. The question is whether he can remain at catcher. He has improved upon his blocking skills and calling a game but is still short in the arm department. A change of positions would, incidentally, hurt his prospect status.

25. Jeremy McBryde – RHP

Almost lost in the conversation about quality pitchers, McBryde made tremendous strides in his second season. A strike thrower that has a plus fastball, he developed as a pitcher this season rather than a thrower. While he still needs to use his changeup more, the spin on his slider became tighter and he wasn't as concerned with the strikeout as in the past. As his pitch sequencing improves, McBryde should make a big leap forward.

26. Cory Luebke – LHP

It was a disappointing year for the left-hander as his confidence waned from getting hit around in the California League. Simply put, he was catching too much of the plate with his fastball and could not get to his secondary pitches. Couple that with a delivery that was too compact – losing the effectiveness of a downward plane to the plate – his ball lacked the necessary movement to keep hitters from making solid contact. He made strides at standing up taller effectively when he was demoted.

27. Cole Figueroa – SS

A sophomore eligible draftee, Figueroa has one of the best batting eyes in the system already. On top of that, the infielder does not give at-bats away and claws until the end. The Florida native has terrific bloodlines, as his father played in the majors and is a coach in the Giants system. Figueroa gets more out of his talent because of his dedication to the game and has solid gap power with skills to steal a few bases, despite not being above average in the speed department.

28. Matt Buschmann – RHP

There are concerns about Buschmann's arm angle and cross-body motion but no such problems with the results he posts. After a sluggish start, no pitcher performed more consistently down the stretch than Buschmann. The same thing that gives the coaches pause allows him to be deceptive to the plate. A student of the game that studies hitters' tendencies, Buschmann's success is tied to keeping his two-seamer low in the zone and mixing in his off-speed.

29. Wilton Lopez – RHP

Early on, Lopez was challenged with facing more experienced Double-A hitters and was a tad overwhelmed. Sent back down to Lake Elsinore, Lopez was dominant in a closer's role. He used his power sinker to get a ton of ground ball outs and was always around the plate after trying to be too perfect with his control at the higher levels. Having pitched just one year of affiliated baseball since '04 entering 2008, Lopez came away with a positive season.

30. Dan Robertson – OF

An unheralded pick out of college, Robertson showed he has very few flaws in his game. He hits, hits for some power, runs well, and is an exceptional defensive player with a solid arm. He may not have the ideal size, but Robertson is a gamer that does all of the little things right. He bunts well, uses his smarts to take extra bases, works the count into his favor and has a great feel for the strike zone.

31. Lance Zawadzki – SS

After a slow start to the season, the infielder turned around his season, showing considerable pop that ballooned as he began listening to his coaches and applying their input on the field. A bit headstrong, Zawadzki has enough power to do damage but was focused more on hitting the ball out then making solid contact. With some refined mechanics to his swing and swing plane, Zawadzki was able to use his natural strength to drive balls into the gaps and over the wall. Very athletic, he also will steal bases and has plenty of arm to play shortstop.

32. Luis Durango – OF

The outfielder has struggled to make believers out of everyone but people are beginning to take notice of his ability to hit. He struggled out of the gate and thoughts of him being exposed crept up. Once the weather warmed, however, so did his bat. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and despite a solid batting eye will swing himself into outs by going after bad pitches. He must make more strides with his base running skills but has come a long way defensively – even if centerfield will be a stretch for him.

33. Eric Sogard – 2B

A breakout year put Sogard firmly on the map at the second base position. A pioneer in the Padres patiently aggressive approach at the plate, he is an incredibly tough out that maximizes each at-bat. Armed with tremendous baseball acumen, he is able to maximize his abilities at the plate, on the bases, and in the field. Sogard has surprising pop and is disciplined in the field, making all plays within his range.

34. Jose DePaula – LHP

Armed with a solid fastball that he commands and a solid curveball, De Paula is polished for his age with a clean delivery and understanding of the working ahead in the count. His main problem this year was putting hitters away. He struggled when he reached a 0-2 count and allowed more hits ahead in the count than he should. As his changeup improves and his confidence level rises, DePaula is one to watch.

35. Ernesto Frieri – RHP

Frieri burst onto the scene last year with a fastball that hovered at 90-91 MPH jumping up to 94-95 MPH. This season, the Padres moved him into the starting rotation so he could continue to work on refining his secondary pitches. The right-hander had a very good slider a few years back and is working on recovering that pitch as well as adding an effective changeup. The one plus was he wasn't afraid to use either pitch and each improved as the season went on.

36. Edinson Rincon – 3B

Co-winner of the Most Improved Player in the Padres Instructional League, Rincon is impressively built but still figuring out what he can do with his frame. Not biting off more than he can chew, Rincon puts the bat to ball well and has a sound feel for the strike zone. He has a great temperament that doesn't get overwhelmed and at-bats should bring his considerable power potential to the forefront.

37. Josh Geer – RHP

A savvy pitcher without an above average pitch, Geer mixes his pitches effectively, keeps hitters off-balance and isn't afraid to work inside. His two-seam fastball has solid downward movement and induces ground ball outs and his pitch sequencing is among the best in the organization. He has to be fine with his pitches, as it is a matter of inches between a good pitch and a poor one. A strike thrower, he will get hit around at times but can be baffling at other times.

38. Jackson Quezada – RHP

Quezada has always had the talent but has had trouble harnessing it on a consistent basis. There were some who thought he has a fragile psyche, but he proved otherwise this season. He proved to be adept at closing out ball games and was consistent throughout the year, utilizing movement on his fastball and a slider that had right-handers fishing. Quezada does not give up a lot of hard contact and knows how to put hitters away.

39. Jeudy Valdez – SS

The raw ability is there but harnessing that talent on a consistent basis has eluded the infielder. He is a max-effort hitter that chases too many balls out of the strike zone and does not stay controlled at the plate. When he is feeling confident, he has the ability to hit the ball out of the park and create havoc with the bat. In the field, Valdez is similar to his work at the dish – rushing his footwork and throws. He has improved in that area over the last year and the hope is his bat follows.

40. Jonathan Galvez – SS

A patient hitter that uses the whole field as his playground, Galvez has some power in a frame that has considerable room for growth. He got into a rut in the middle of the year when he was trying to hit homers rather than letting his natural athleticism and bat control do the work. An intellectual player, Galvez benefitted from seeing a diet of breaking balls this season and will be better served because of it in the future.

41. Greg Burke – RHP

A season ago, Burke was an afterthought. This year, he is a bona fide prospect. Credit goes to his work ethic last off-season, where he gained 10 pounds of muscle and it equated into 3-4 MPH added onto his fastball. He also developed a slider/cutter that became his go-to pitch this season, getting hitters to either swing over top of the pitch or hit it weakly on the ground. He went back to using his two-seamer as the year progressed and needs a third pitch to consistently handle left-handers.

42. Brian Joynt – 3B/1B

Like Burke, Joynt wasn't on any list to begin the year – quite literally. He was in extended spring training before an opportunity to join High-A arose. He ended the season with 42 extra base hits and was among the league leaders in isolated power – a key ingredient to a consistent run producer. To get there, Joynt made significant changes to his hitting mechanics and broke through. His career has come full circle, as Joynt earned the Leadership Award at the Padres Instructional League.

43. Corey Kluber – RHP

Thought to be able to handle High-A to begin the year, Kluber struggled with his command and his confidence wavered and fell apart. He was afraid to work inside and became predictable as a result. Moved down to Fort Wayne, Kluber was rejuvenated and showed better command of his arsenal and a willingness to use his pitches. He still left a few pitches up in the zone and keeping the ball down is crucial to his continued success.

44. Chris Wilkes – RHP

There are few pitchers in the system that grasped the need for the changeup as quickly as Wilkes. The right-hander is a baseball player in a football player's body and has been quick to learn the nuances of pitching, working to contact, and getting ahead in the count. The ball is put in play with him on the mound and his changeup became a plus pitch that had hitters rolling over for weak ground balls.

45. Emmanuel Quiles – C

Still maturing as a catcher, Quiles has a tremendous toolset to work with. He has great footwork and an accurate laser for an arm. Where he needs work is on blocking balls and continuing on his work with handling a staff. Offensively, Quiles has a long ways to go. He can get impatient at the plate and does not lay off pitches outside his zone. As a result, he does not make consistent solid contact. Once he learns to swing at his pitches, he might be able to turn those singles into extra base hits.

46. Sean Kazmar – SS

Belief goes a long way, and Kazmar had the backing of the Padres entering the year. After a tough time in the first two months, the shortstop turned his season around by being more selective with what pitches he swung at – seeing the dividends with success at the plate that included a higher average and on-base percentage. Proving he can play shortstop and now getting some turns in the outfield, Kazmar has utility infielder capability that can step in and play for extended periods.

47. Jeremy Hefner – RHP

A right-hander with game awareness and moxie, Hefner has command of four pitches and uses his expertise in pitch sequencing to setup hitters. He can spot his fastball to both corners and has a quality changeup, coming to the Instructional League specifically to work on perfecting a slider. Hefner keeps hitters guessing and off his fastball by mixing any pitch in any count. He also has a knack for getting batters to hit themselves into outs.

48. Pablo Menchaca – RHP

With an easy delivery and simple motion, Menchaca was poised for a breakout season. A lackluster performance all around, however, has pushed him back. His velocity was down out of the gate, and while it improved, the Padres hoped to see some emotion begin propelling him through starts. Armed with a solid two-seamer that floats down in the zone, he gets ground ball outs. But he has not crossed over the hump of hype, and one wonders if the fire will ever stay lit and propel him to greater heights.

49. Matt Clark – 1B

There are few who have the raw power that Clark possesses but refining his pitch selection and approach at the dish is necessary to tap into the immense potential. While he can catch up with any fastball, off-speed pitches can give him fits and he will chase outside of the zone. Clark is also long to the ball, and he is working on shortening up to take advantage of his strength. On defense, Clark is a work in progress. He lacks lateral movement and needs to improve his footwork.

50. Brad Chalk – OF

A baseball player that has all the instincts – playing above average defensively in centerfield with solid range and above average on the base paths, Chalk will only be as good as his bat. He has struggled making the strides the Padres hope he can to pull the ball more effectively. Without hitting the gaps regularly, he is a singles hitter with some speed and solid defensive tools. That is not enough.

51. Evan Scribner – RHP

Acquired from Arizona in a July trade for Tony Clark, Scribner has consistently gotten outs everywhere he has pitched. The right-hander is aggressive inside the strike zone and commands his breaking ball and changeup for strikes. With a low-90s fastball, he can also drop in a hook that will come in some 25 MPH slower. Scribner also has a deceptive motion and hides the ball well before exploding towards the plate.

52. Jesus Lopez – SS

Above average defensively, despite his lack of range, Lopez' bat has yet to make a consistent appearance. Fluid in the field and smooth with his arm, Lopez is a contact hitters that never seems sure of which way to take a pitch, often resulting in him pulling outside pitches and fending off those offerings on the inner half. He made progress taking the ball where it was pitched in the latter half of the season. His bat, however, will be the deciding factor in his prospect status.

53. Aaron Breit – RHP

Arriving late after missing two months to recover from surgery, Breit didn't have a true bounce back year but there were positive signs. His fastball velocity is creeping back up to what it was and his curveball has looked solid. His changeup remains a work in progress and the lack of success with the pitch has made his confidence wane at times. He couldn't seem to avoid the big inning but is a hard worker that is looking to shine in 2009.

54. Bryan Oland – RHP

Pitching coaches were abuzz in extended spring training when Oland was still with them. They simply couldn't figure out why he was there. Making good on the hype, Oland dominated all season. He has a power arm with a mid-90s fastball and sets up hitters by regularly working ahead in the count. He stifles hitters with his breaking ball and keeps the ball low in the zone, getting grounders when hitters are able to make contact.

55. Rob Musgrave – LHP

Armed with a plus changeup, Musgrave was immediately at home in the Padres system and ahead of the curve. While he profiles as a starter, the left-hander worked out of the bullpen this past season, using his fastball to work ahead and the changeup as an out pitch. When he got two strikes, Musgrave knew how to finish off hitters. He has had some trouble getting the curveball over and that will be a crucial pitch in limiting left-handed hitters effectiveness off him.

56. Rolando Valdez – RHP

Valdez has always preferred to work as a starter rather than coming out of the pen and got his wish late in the year – flashing his plus changeup and a fastball that hits the low-90s with command. He is an emotional pitcher that will show his frustrations, allowing the mental side to carry over to his work on the hill. Valdez needs a third offering he can rely on to continue his ascension to the higher levels.

57. Stephen Faris – RHP

Evolving over the last year, Faris has become a pitcher who is not afraid of contact and uses it to his advantage. Relying on his fielders, Faris mixes his pitches well and uses fastball command to get ahead. Faris became dependent on the use of his curveball and it showed a tighter two-plane spin than in the past. It was, however, at the expense of his changeup – a pitch that regressed in the last year.

58. Nathan Culp – LHP

With four pitches he can throw for strikes and a pitch to contact mentality, Culp is a workhorse that goes deep into games and saves bullpens. Coupled with his groundball efficiency, the southpaw is a pitcher that should improve as the defense around him increases their range and ability. Culp is a backward pitcher, working off the effectiveness of his changeup and curveball to keep hitters guessing.

59. Mike DeMark – RHP

An aggressive pitcher that isn't afraid to come inside and stake his claim to the plate, DeMark pitches with all the confidence in the world. His attitude on the mound is fearless and he uses a low-90s fastball to work ahead while sporting some deception that makes the ball seem even harder than it is. He has worked on his changeup to give hitters an alternative to the hard fastball and hard slider, increasing his effectiveness.

60. Stiven Osuna – RHP

A ground ball pitcher with room to mature, Osuna can hit 90 MPH on the radar gun today with room for projection. He uses the fastball – more of a sinker – to work ahead and commands it low in the zone. Osuna also sports a solid changeup that has hitters rolling over on his pitches. He needs to work on a third pitch, as both his curveball and slider have been inconsistent. With his ability to work ahead, the third pitch will enhance his prospect status.

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\r\nDO NOT reveal the rankings, either partially or in full, on other message boards, blogs, sites, etc. Remember, this is copyrighted material and we'd hope everybody would respect the other paying subscribers by not divulging any of the information in the rankings, including the listing of names.

\r\n\r\nWe encourage you to talk about the rankings in our subscriber-only message boards.

\r\n\r\nNo player that missed most, if not all, of 2008 or is projected to miss all of 2009 was eligible to be ranked, eliminating Nick Schmidt, Matt Bush, Euclides Viloria, John Hussey, Will Startup, John Hudgins, Neil Jamison, Danny Payne, and Allen Harrington from consideration.

\r\n\r\nWhat is your philosophy on the value of a prospect as it relates to MadFriars.com Prospects rankings?

\r\n\r\nLong-term success at the major league level. It has been said that the easiest thing to do is get to the majors but the hardest thing to do is stay there.

\r\n\r\nIt is easy to predict who will reach the major leagues. It is harder to predict who will not only reach their dream but also have long-term success. The word prospect is defined as \"the possibility of future success.\"

\r\n\r\nFuture success – not future mediocrity.

\r\n\r\nWhen determining the rankings below, there are a multitude of things to consider. Will they reach their potential? How much improvement has to happen? A position player may have all five-tools – but will he learn to use them at a major league level? How far have they come in the past year? How far can they go?

\r\n\r\nThose are just a few of the questions one needs to ask in determining a prospect's status. But – there is one trait that can't be measured – what the eye sees. It is an important quality and one that a scout lives by – his eyes. When talking about a prospect, there is a certain level of overzealousness. The eyes don't lie.

\r\n\r\nIf you have a firm understanding of the mechanics of pitching and hitting, how a slider should break, and everything in between the foul poles, you can be more confident in your assessment. Scouts don't look at stats. While production is certainly worth noting, gems can be found by watching the player, their mechanics, the break of the pitch, the swing plane – the list goes on and on.

\r\n\r\nThe top 60 San Diego Padres ranked below are a blend of more than just traits, tricks, assessments, theories, beliefs, and eyes. Not only do we see every player, we back it up by talking to players, coaches, and scouts. If we don't see a player, he is not ranked. If we see a player once, he is not ranked. It is the only way we can be honest with you – the reader. We look to backup our findings and one bad game can't tell the true measure of a prospect.

\r\n\r\n

MadFriars.com Top 60 Prospects

\r\n\r\n1. Kyle Blanks – 1B

\r\n\r\nThe massive man put together a phenomenal season in Double-A, hitting for power and proving to be clutch once again. His bat is special, as he hits all balls hard to all parts of the field. While he is relegated to first base right now, he has athleticism and might be a candidate to move to the outfield to make room for his potent bat – one that would have no trouble sending balls out of PETCO Park.

\r\n\r\n2. Jaff Decker – OF

\r\n\r\nHunter was great in the AZL but Decker was superb. The outfielder came in from the high school ranks and dominated – showing an incredible batting eye, power, a strong arm and the ability to steal some bags. With his toolset, Decker has the potential to be an All-Star at the major league level and is really just scratching the surface of his talent. He rarely swings at bad pitches and can put barrel to ball with the best of them.

\r\n\r\n3. Cedric Hunter – OF

\r\n\r\nHunter has the rare ability to put the ball in play on any pitch, and that had been a trouble spot in the past. He spent this season honing on his pitch and driving the ball with authority. As his eye continues to improve and centers on pitches he can handle, Hunter should continue to see his power numbers go up. With a high average a yearly thing, his ability to handle centerfield will dictate where he sits in years to come.

\r\n\r\n4. Mat Latos – RHP

\r\n\r\nWhile an oblique injury claimed a large part of the season, Latos remains a power arm with tremendous stuff across the board. If he can concede to throwing the changeup more often, his stuff will be deadly at any level. With a mid-90s fastball and solid command, Latos has the ability to be a front-line pitcher at the major league level. Concern about his maturity continue to creep up – dropping him in the rankings from a season ago.

\r\n\r\n5. Matt Antonelli – 2B

\r\n\r\nA down season took away some of the luster, but Antonelli remains a talented prospect with excellent plate discipline and burgeoning power. He has an array of skills that is enhanced by excellent makeup and will find his way back to being a top prospect in the next year. Bad habits early cascaded, but the real Antonelli showed up in the final month of the year.

\r\n\r\n6. Kellen Kulbacki – OF

\r\n\r\nAfter a terrible start, Kulbacki got into a rhythm and never slowed down. A corner outfielder with considerable power, Kulbacki was able to shorten up his swing and really connected on good fastballs that he missed a season ago. He doesn't strike out a ton and hits the gap with regularity but does seem to need at-bats to get the flow of his swing mechanics working in concert. Kulbacki also has room to grow and should become stronger as he matures.

\r\n\r\n7. Wynn Pelzer – RHP

\r\n\r\nAfter suffering a fractured kneecap last year, Pelzer came in and blew away the Midwest League with his plus sinking fastball and solid secondary pitches. Moving away from a splitter to the more traditional changeup, the right-hander wasn't shy in its use, and it enabled him to keep hitters guessing. Despite plus stuff, he is adept at working to contact and inducing the ground ball. Once he comes inside without fear, Pelzer will be a truly dominant force.

\r\n\r\n8. Chad Huffman – OF

\r\n\r\nDespite the sub par numbers he posted in San Antonio, Huffman is a big league hitter. He handles good pitching. A line drive hitter with solid power, Huffman's swing got a little loopy at times as he tried to put a charge into the ball at his home park where the wind blew in at 15 MPH nightly. The frustration was evident as a result. Huffman is a batter who goes up to the plate with a plan and sticks to it even with two strikes. That will lead to some called third strikes but he believes in his ability and doesn't waver in the approach.

\r\n\r\n9. Drew Cumberland – SS

\r\n\r\nAn incredible athlete, injuries have limited Cumberland's ability to showcase his talent over a full season. He has game-changing speed that can pile on the stolen bases. The shortstop will also begin loading up on triples as the maturation process continues. He began this season slow but had turned it around before his season ended. He has made mechanical changes to his swing that should pay dividends with his ability to recognize pitches and drive them into the gaps where he can use his speed to his advantage.

\r\n\r\n10. Allan Dykstra – 1B

\r\n\r\nA late signing took away at-bats in his first professional season, but the hulking first baseman has as much power as anyone within the system. He has a few mechanical flaws in his swing that will produce a high strikeout total at this level but also has the patience required to hit his pitch and hit it far. Dykstra is a little stiff in his stance and is working on creating better separation to handle pitches on both sides of the plate.

\r\n\r\n11. Yefri Carvajal – OF

\r\n\r\nWhile he did not hit for as much power as the Padres' brass hoped, Carvajal was able to put bat to ball more consistently this year. The concern remains that he is swinging at too many breaking balls and making soft contact, but at-bats should begin to rectify that in the coming year, as his eye has steadily improved. He must make a concerted effort to lay off the ball tailing away to do damage with his potentially potent bat. Some players take longer to reach their immense talent and Carvajal fits that mold.

\r\n\r\n12. Wade LeBlanc – LHP

\r\n\r\nThe southpaw had a learning year in Triple-A, working his two-seamer into the equation and making adjustments away from his changeup to keep hitters off-balance. A few bad starts sent the ERA skyrocketing, but LeBlanc still has the outstanding changeup and ability to make good hitters look foolish. Once he learns to adapt on a game-by-game basis, LeBlanc has the potential to man the back half of a rotation for years to come.

\r\n\r\n13. Will Inman – RHP

\r\n\r\nAfter he was acquired from Milwaukee, Inman's velocity was down tremendously, but he came into the year hitting the low-90s and maintained consistency with that number through the year. Inman has a lot of deception in his delivery and a great curveball to baffle hitters. He sometimes will focus on the putting hitters away with a strikeout rather than inducing contact for the easy out and walked far too many this season due to a change in arm slot.

\r\n\r\n14. James Darnell – 3B

\r\n\r\nA late signing, Darnell is a terrific athlete who combines power with average and the ability to play multiple positions defensively. He has a lanky frame that has a lot of room to fill out. It is conceivable that he goes the path of Chase Headley with his off-season program to add weight to further buoy his prospect status. He can already hit the gaps with authority and added strength will ensure the homers follow.

\r\n\r\n15. Drew Miller – RHP

\r\n\r\nIf stuff is the barometer, Miller has a great combination of tools to work with. Taking into account the 2008 season, it had to be a bit of a disappointment. Simply put, Miller's stuff spent too much time over the center of the plate. He has not learned how to be effective working inside to combat hitters leaning out over the plate. His changeup remains a work in progress while his breaking ball shows above average tendencies.

\r\n\r\n16. Steve Garrison – LHP

\r\n\r\nThere are few who have the pinpoint control that this southpaw offers. Shoulder surgery aside, Garrison has a full compliment of four pitches he throws – each for strikes and to all four qudrants of the zone. The left-hander works effectively inside and is very mature for his age. He had some trouble holding runners but improved significantly in that area this season.

\r\n\r\n17. Sawyer Carroll – OF

\r\n\r\nCarroll still has a few aluminum bat kinks to work out from his swing but his willingness to work and readiness to play each day was a testament to his ability to learn a professional approach. He feasted on pitches on the inner half of the plate, sending them into the gaps and over the wall. Carroll did have some trouble staying away from the breaking pitches away and saw a steady diet of junk once promoted. He will have need to learn his comfort zone with those pitches, staying away from the ones he can't do damage with.

\r\n\r\n18. Anthony Bass – RHP

\r\n\r\nSpending the year in the pen after being overused in college, Bass has four quality pitches that he can throw for strikes from a Tim Lincecum style delivery. He has good extension towards the plate and the differential in the speed of his pitches is enough to keep hitters off-balance. Bass is a player that could move quickly, as he has an advanced feel for pitch sequencing and his confidence is off the charts.

\r\n\r\n19. Cesar Carrillo – RHP

\r\n\r\nHe has top-five talent but is working his way back into shape after Tommy John surgery and his location has not been what it was. The velocity has crept back up to the mid-90s but not with consistency. The Padres expect Carrillo to be back to where he was prior to surgery in Spring Training. If his changeup comes back to where it was with his plus fastball that has late movement down in the zone, Carrillo could quickly rise into the top 10 again.

\r\n\r\n20. Will Venable – OF

\r\n\r\nDoing everything well but nothing extraordinary has made Venable a staple of consistency. He is not prone to the draughts that others may succumb to and keeps everything at en even keel. He is very athletic and has power that should continue to blossom, using his intellect and work ethic to get the job done and done well. Venable could be a tad more patient at the plate, as he does strikeout too much without the homer totals. He is at his best when he uses the whole field and drives balls into the gaps.

\r\n\r\n21. Blake Tekotte – OF

\r\n\r\nThe Padres have been looking for a quintessential leadoff hitter for some time and may have found a true candidate this season in Tekotte. The centerfielder is a solid defender with excellent range, and at the plate shows patience, an ability to hit the ball to different parts of the field and surprising power. He has some work to do on his route running and taking a rather large rap out of his swing.

\r\n\r\n22. Simon Castro – RHP

\r\n\r\nThe lanky right-hander has improved tenfold upon his command in his short time stateside and has all the makings of a special talent. He has an outstanding fastball and a slider that has much sharper break than in the past. If his changeup can become a go-to pitch with solid differential in the velocity from his slider, Castro could vault himself into the top 10. Not to go unnoticed, Castro's command of the English language has made tremendous strides in the last year – a great sign for an emerging Latin prospect.

\r\n\r\n23. Logan Forsythe – 3B

\r\n\r\nThree games into his career, Forsythe suffered a hand injury sliding into first base. He came back near the end of the season but his timing was off. In the Instructional League, Forsythe looked like the ferocious hitter that got him drafted so high. He has a clean, compact stroke and drives through the ball. Forsythe does not have a lot of wasted effort in his swing and his quick hands generate natural power that can play at any level.

\r\n\r\n24. Mitch Canham – C

\r\n\r\nThere is no questioning his ability to hit. Canham has a fantastic batting eye and generates tremendous speed in the bat head, hitting most balls hard to all parts of the field. His power numbers should continue to rise as a result of his solid foundation. The question is whether he can remain at catcher. He has improved upon his blocking skills and calling a game but is still short in the arm department. A change of positions would, incidentally, hurt his prospect status.

\r\n\r\n25. Jeremy McBryde – RHP

\r\n\r\nAlmost lost in the conversation about quality pitchers, McBryde made tremendous strides in his second season. A strike thrower that has a plus fastball, he developed as a pitcher this season rather than a thrower. While he still needs to use his changeup more, the spin on his slider became tighter and he wasn't as concerned with the strikeout as in the past. As his pitch sequencing improves, McBryde should make a big leap forward.

\r\n\r\n26. Cory Luebke – LHP

\r\n\r\nIt was a disappointing year for the left-hander as his confidence waned from getting hit around in the California League. Simply put, he was catching too much of the plate with his fastball and could not get to his secondary pitches. Couple that with a delivery that was too compact – losing the effectiveness of a downward plane to the plate – his ball lacked the necessary movement to keep hitters from making solid contact. He made strides at standing up taller effectively when he was demoted.

\r\n\r\n27. Cole Figueroa – SS

\r\n\r\nA sophomore eligible draftee, Figueroa has one of the best batting eyes in the system already. On top of that, the infielder does not give at-bats away and claws until the end. The Florida native has terrific bloodlines, as his father played in the majors and is a coach in the Giants system. Figueroa gets more out of his talent because of his dedication to the game and has solid gap power with skills to steal a few bases, despite not being above average in the speed department.

\r\n\r\n28. Matt Buschmann – RHP

\r\n\r\nThere are concerns about Buschmann's arm angle and cross-body motion but no such problems with the results he posts. After a sluggish start, no pitcher performed more consistently down the stretch than Buschmann. The same thing that gives the coaches pause allows him to be deceptive to the plate. A student of the game that studies hitters' tendencies, Buschmann's success is tied to keeping his two-seamer low in the zone and mixing in his off-speed.

\r\n\r\n29. Wilton Lopez – RHP

\r\n\r\nEarly on, Lopez was challenged with facing more experienced Double-A hitters and was a tad overwhelmed. Sent back down to Lake Elsinore, Lopez was dominant in a closer's role. He used his power sinker to get a ton of ground ball outs and was always around the plate after trying to be too perfect with his control at the higher levels. Having pitched just one year of affiliated baseball since '04 entering 2008, Lopez came away with a positive season.

\r\n\r\n30. Dan Robertson – OF

\r\n\r\nAn unheralded pick out of college, Robertson showed he has very few flaws in his game. He hits, hits for some power, runs well, and is an exceptional defensive player with a solid arm. He may not have the ideal size, but Robertson is a gamer that does all of the little things right. He bunts well, uses his smarts to take extra bases, works the count into his favor and has a great feel for the strike zone.

\r\n\r\n31. Lance Zawadzki – SS

\r\n\r\nAfter a slow start to the season, the infielder turned around his season, showing considerable pop that ballooned as he began listening to his coaches and applying their input on the field. A bit headstrong, Zawadzki has enough power to do damage but was focused more on hitting the ball out then making solid contact. With some refined mechanics to his swing and swing plane, Zawadzki was able to use his natural strength to drive balls into the gaps and over the wall. Very athletic, he also will steal bases and has plenty of arm to play shortstop.

\r\n\r\n32. Luis Durango – OF

\r\n\r\nThe outfielder has struggled to make believers out of everyone but people are beginning to take notice of his ability to hit. He struggled out of the gate and thoughts of him being exposed crept up. Once the weather warmed, however, so did his bat. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and despite a solid batting eye will swing himself into outs by going after bad pitches. He must make more strides with his base running skills but has come a long way defensively – even if centerfield will be a stretch for him.

\r\n\r\n33. Eric Sogard – 2B

\r\n\r\nA breakout year put Sogard firmly on the map at the second base position. A pioneer in the Padres patiently aggressive approach at the plate, he is an incredibly tough out that maximizes each at-bat. Armed with tremendous baseball acumen, he is able to maximize his abilities at the plate, on the bases, and in the field. Sogard has surprising pop and is disciplined in the field, making all plays within his range.

\r\n\r\n34. Jose DePaula – LHP

\r\n\r\nArmed with a solid fastball that he commands and a solid curveball, De Paula is polished for his age with a clean delivery and understanding of the working ahead in the count. His main problem this year was putting hitters away. He struggled when he reached a 0-2 count and allowed more hits ahead in the count than he should. As his changeup improves and his confidence level rises, DePaula is one to watch.

\r\n\r\n35. Ernesto Frieri – RHP

\r\n\r\nFrieri burst onto the scene last year with a fastball that hovered at 90-91 MPH jumping up to 94-95 MPH. This season, the Padres moved him into the starting rotation so he could continue to work on refining his secondary pitches. The right-hander had a very good slider a few years back and is working on recovering that pitch as well as adding an effective changeup. The one plus was he wasn't afraid to use either pitch and each improved as the season went on.

\r\n\r\n36. Edinson Rincon – 3B

\r\n\r\nCo-winner of the Most Improved Player in the Padres Instructional League, Rincon is impressively built but still figuring out what he can do with his frame. Not biting off more than he can chew, Rincon puts the bat to ball well and has a sound feel for the strike zone. He has a great temperament that doesn't get overwhelmed and at-bats should bring his considerable power potential to the forefront.

\r\n\r\n37. Josh Geer – RHP

\r\n\r\nA savvy pitcher without an above average pitch, Geer mixes his pitches effectively, keeps hitters off-balance and isn't afraid to work inside. His two-seam fastball has solid downward movement and induces ground ball outs and his pitch sequencing is among the best in the organization. He has to be fine with his pitches, as it is a matter of inches between a good pitch and a poor one. A strike thrower, he will get hit around at times but can be baffling at other times.

\r\n\r\n38. Jackson Quezada – RHP

\r\n\r\nQuezada has always had the talent but has had trouble harnessing it on a consistent basis. There were some who thought he has a fragile psyche, but he proved otherwise this season. He proved to be adept at closing out ball games and was consistent throughout the year, utilizing movement on his fastball and a slider that had right-handers fishing. Quezada does not give up a lot of hard contact and knows how to put hitters away.

\r\n\r\n39. Jeudy Valdez – SS

\r\n\r\nThe raw ability is there but harnessing that talent on a consistent basis has eluded the infielder. He is a max-effort hitter that chases too many balls out of the strike zone and does not stay controlled at the plate. When he is feeling confident, he has the ability to hit the ball out of the park and create havoc with the bat. In the field, Valdez is similar to his work at the dish – rushing his footwork and throws. He has improved in that area over the last year and the hope is his bat follows.

\r\n\r\n40. Jonathan Galvez – SS

\r\n\r\nA patient hitter that uses the whole field as his playground, Galvez has some power in a frame that has considerable room for growth. He got into a rut in the middle of the year when he was trying to hit homers rather than letting his natural athleticism and bat control do the work. An intellectual player, Galvez benefitted from seeing a diet of breaking balls this season and will be better served because of it in the future.

\r\n\r\n41. Greg Burke – RHP

\r\n\r\nA season ago, Burke was an afterthought. This year, he is a bona fide prospect. Credit goes to his work ethic last off-season, where he gained 10 pounds of muscle and it equated into 3-4 MPH added onto his fastball. He also developed a slider/cutter that became his go-to pitch this season, getting hitters to either swing over top of the pitch or hit it weakly on the ground. He went back to using his two-seamer as the year progressed and needs a third pitch to consistently handle left-handers.

\r\n\r\n42. Brian Joynt – 3B/1B

\r\n\r\nLike Burke, Joynt wasn't on any list to begin the year – quite literally. He was in extended spring training before an opportunity to join High-A arose. He ended the season with 42 extra base hits and was among the league leaders in isolated power – a key ingredient to a consistent run producer. To get there, Joynt made significant changes to his hitting mechanics and broke through. His career has come full circle, as Joynt earned the Leadership Award at the Padres Instructional League.

\r\n\r\n43. Corey Kluber – RHP

\r\n\r\nThought to be able to handle High-A to begin the year, Kluber struggled with his command and his confidence wavered and fell apart. He was afraid to work inside and became predictable as a result. Moved down to Fort Wayne, Kluber was rejuvenated and showed better command of his arsenal and a willingness to use his pitches. He still left a few pitches up in the zone and keeping the ball down is crucial to his continued success.

\r\n\r\n44. Chris Wilkes – RHP

\r\n\r\nThere are few pitchers in the system that grasped the need for the changeup as quickly as Wilkes. The right-hander is a baseball player in a football player's body and has been quick to learn the nuances of pitching, working to contact, and getting ahead in the count. The ball is put in play with him on the mound and his changeup became a plus pitch that had hitters rolling over for weak ground balls.

\r\n\r\n45. Emmanuel Quiles – C

\r\n\r\nStill maturing as a catcher, Quiles has a tremendous toolset to work with. He has great footwork and an accurate laser for an arm. Where he needs work is on blocking balls and continuing on his work with handling a staff. Offensively, Quiles has a long ways to go. He can get impatient at the plate and does not lay off pitches outside his zone. As a result, he does not make consistent solid contact. Once he learns to swing at his pitches, he might be able to turn those singles into extra base hits.

\r\n\r\n46. Sean Kazmar – SS

\r\n\r\nBelief goes a long way, and Kazmar had the backing of the Padres entering the year. After a tough time in the first two months, the shortstop turned his season around by being more selective with what pitches he swung at – seeing the dividends with success at the plate that included a higher average and on-base percentage. Proving he can play shortstop and now getting some turns in the outfield, Kazmar has utility infielder capability that can step in and play for extended periods.

\r\n\r\n47. Jeremy Hefner – RHP

\r\n\r\nA right-hander with game awareness and moxie, Hefner has command of four pitches and uses his expertise in pitch sequencing to setup hitters. He can spot his fastball to both corners and has a quality changeup, coming to the Instructional League specifically to work on perfecting a slider. Hefner keeps hitters guessing and off his fastball by mixing any pitch in any count. He also has a knack for getting batters to hit themselves into outs.

\r\n\r\n48. Pablo Menchaca – RHP

\r\n\r\nWith an easy delivery and simple motion, Menchaca was poised for a breakout season. A lackluster performance all around, however, has pushed him back. His velocity was down out of the gate, and while it improved, the Padres hoped to see some emotion begin propelling him through starts. Armed with a solid two-seamer that floats down in the zone, he gets ground ball outs. But he has not crossed over the hump of hype, and one wonders if the fire will ever stay lit and propel him to greater heights.

\r\n\r\n49. Matt Clark – 1B

\r\n\r\nThere are few who have the raw power that Clark possesses but refining his pitch selection and approach at the dish is necessary to tap into the immense potential. While he can catch up with any fastball, off-speed pitches can give him fits and he will chase outside of the zone. Clark is also long to the ball, and he is working on shortening up to take advantage of his strength. On defense, Clark is a work in progress. He lacks lateral movement and needs to improve his footwork.

\r\n\r\n50. Brad Chalk – OF

\r\n\r\nA baseball player that has all the instincts – playing above average defensively in centerfield with solid range and above average on the base paths, Chalk will only be as good as his bat. He has struggled making the strides the Padres hope he can to pull the ball more effectively. Without hitting the gaps regularly, he is a singles hitter with some speed and solid defensive tools. That is not enough.

\r\n\r\n51. Evan Scribner – RHP

\r\n\r\nAcquired from Arizona in a July trade for Tony Clark, Scribner has consistently gotten outs everywhere he has pitched. The right-hander is aggressive inside the strike zone and commands his breaking ball and changeup for strikes. With a low-90s fastball, he can also drop in a hook that will come in some 25 MPH slower. Scribner also has a deceptive motion and hides the ball well before exploding towards the plate.

\r\n\r\n52. Jesus Lopez – SS

\r\n\r\nAbove average defensively, despite his lack of range, Lopez' bat has yet to make a consistent appearance. Fluid in the field and smooth with his arm, Lopez is a contact hitters that never seems sure of which way to take a pitch, often resulting in him pulling outside pitches and fending off those offerings on the inner half. He made progress taking the ball where it was pitched in the latter half of the season. His bat, however, will be the deciding factor in his prospect status.

\r\n\r\n53. Aaron Breit – RHP

\r\n\r\nArriving late after missing two months to recover from surgery, Breit didn't have a true bounce back year but there were positive signs. His fastball velocity is creeping back up to what it was and his curveball has looked solid. His changeup remains a work in progress and the lack of success with the pitch has made his confidence wane at times. He couldn't seem to avoid the big inning but is a hard worker that is looking to shine in 2009.

\r\n\r\n54. Bryan Oland – RHP

\r\n\r\nPitching coaches were abuzz in extended spring training when Oland was still with them. They simply couldn't figure out why he was there. Making good on the hype, Oland dominated all season. He has a power arm with a mid-90s fastball and sets up hitters by regularly working ahead in the count. He stifles hitters with his breaking ball and keeps the ball low in the zone, getting grounders when hitters are able to make contact.

\r\n\r\n55. Rob Musgrave – LHP

\r\n\r\nArmed with a plus changeup, Musgrave was immediately at home in the Padres system and ahead of the curve. While he profiles as a starter, the left-hander worked out of the bullpen this past season, using his fastball to work ahead and the changeup as an out pitch. When he got two strikes, Musgrave knew how to finish off hitters. He has had some trouble getting the curveball over and that will be a crucial pitch in limiting left-handed hitters effectiveness off him.

\r\n\r\n56. Rolando Valdez – RHP

\r\n\r\nValdez has always preferred to work as a starter rather than coming out of the pen and got his wish late in the year – flashing his plus changeup and a fastball that hits the low-90s with command. He is an emotional pitcher that will show his frustrations, allowing the mental side to carry over to his work on the hill. Valdez needs a third offering he can rely on to continue his ascension to the higher levels.

\r\n\r\n57. Stephen Faris – RHP

\r\n\r\nEvolving over the last year, Faris has become a pitcher who is not afraid of contact and uses it to his advantage. Relying on his fielders, Faris mixes his pitches well and uses fastball command to get ahead. Faris became dependent on the use of his curveball and it showed a tighter two-plane spin than in the past. It was, however, at the expense of his changeup – a pitch that regressed in the last year.

\r\n\r\n58. Nathan Culp – LHP

\r\n\r\nWith four pitches he can throw for strikes and a pitch to contact mentality, Culp is a workhorse that goes deep into games and saves bullpens. Coupled with his groundball efficiency, the southpaw is a pitcher that should improve as the defense around him increases their range and ability. Culp is a backward pitcher, working off the effectiveness of his changeup and curveball to keep hitters guessing.

\r\n\r\n59. Mike DeMark – RHP

\r\n\r\nAn aggressive pitcher that isn't afraid to come inside and stake his claim to the plate, DeMark pitches with all the confidence in the world. His attitude on the mound is fearless and he uses a low-90s fastball to work ahead while sporting some deception that makes the ball seem even harder than it is. He has worked on his changeup to give hitters an alternative to the hard fastball and hard slider, increasing his effectiveness.

\r\n\r\n60. Stiven Osuna – RHP

\r\n\r\nA ground ball pitcher with room to mature, Osuna can hit 90 MPH on the radar gun today with room for projection. He uses the fastball – more of a sinker – to work ahead and commands it low in the zone. Osuna also sports a solid changeup that has hitters rolling over on his pitches. He needs to work on a third pitch, as both his curveball and slider have been inconsistent. With his ability to work ahead, the third pitch will enhance his prospect status.

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\r\n\r\nNo player that missed most, if not all, of 2008 or is projected to miss all of 2009 was eligible to be ranked, eliminating Nick Schmidt, Matt Bush, Euclides Viloria, John Hussey, Will Startup, John Hudgins, Neil Jamison, Danny Payne, and Allen Harrington from consideration.

\r\n\r\nWhat is your philosophy on the value of a prospect as it relates to MadFriars.com Prospects rankings?

\r\n\r\nLong-term success at the major league level. It has been said that the easiest thing to do is get to the majors but the hardest thing to do is stay there.

\r\n\r\nIt is easy to predict who will reach the major leagues. It is harder to predict who will not only reach their dream but also have long-term success. The word prospect is defined as \"the possibility of future success.\"

\r\n\r\nFuture success – not future mediocrity.

\r\n\r\nWhen determining the rankings below, there are a multitude of things to consider. Will they reach their potential? How much improvement has to happen? A position player may have all five-tools – but will he learn to use them at a major league level? How far have they come in the past year? How far can they go?

\r\n\r\nThose are just a few of the questions one needs to ask in determining a prospect's status. But – there is one trait that can't be measured – what the eye sees. It is an important quality and one that a scout lives by – his eyes. When talking about a prospect, there is a certain level of overzealousness. The eyes don't lie.

\r\n\r\nIf you have a firm understanding of the mechanics of pitching and hitting, how a slider should break, and everything in between the foul poles, you can be more confident in your assessment. Scouts don't look at stats. While production is certainly worth noting, gems can be found by watching the player, their mechanics, the break of the pitch, the swing plane – the list goes on and on.

\r\n\r\nThe top 60 San Diego Padres ranked below are a blend of more than just traits, tricks, assessments, theories, beliefs, and eyes. Not only do we see every player, we back it up by talking to players, coaches, and scouts. If we don't see a player, he is not ranked. If we see a player once, he is not ranked. It is the only way we can be honest with you – the reader. We look to backup our findings and one bad game can't tell the true measure of a prospect.

\r\n\r\n

MadFriars.com Top 60 Prospects

\r\n\r\n1. Kyle Blanks – 1B

\r\n\r\nThe massive man put together a phenomenal season in Double-A, hitting for power and proving to be clutch once again. His bat is special, as he hits all balls hard to all parts of the field. While he is relegated to first base right now, he has athleticism and might be a candidate to move to the outfield to make room for his potent bat – one that would have no trouble sending balls out of PETCO Park.

\r\n\r\n2. Jaff Decker – OF

\r\n\r\nHunter was great in the AZL but Decker was superb. The outfielder came in from the high school ranks and dominated – showing an incredible batting eye, power, a strong arm and the ability to steal some bags. With his toolset, Decker has the potential to be an All-Star at the major league level and is really just scratching the surface of his talent. He rarely swings at bad pitches and can put barrel to ball with the best of them.

\r\n\r\n3. Cedric Hunter – OF

\r\n\r\nHunter has the rare ability to put the ball in play on any pitch, and that had been a trouble spot in the past. He spent this season honing on his pitch and driving the ball with authority. As his eye continues to improve and centers on pitches he can handle, Hunter should continue to see his power numbers go up. With a high average a yearly thing, his ability to handle centerfield will dictate where he sits in years to come.

\r\n\r\n4. Mat Latos – RHP

\r\n\r\nWhile an oblique injury claimed a large part of the season, Latos remains a power arm with tremendous stuff across the board. If he can concede to throwing the changeup more often, his stuff will be deadly at any level. With a mid-90s fastball and solid command, Latos has the ability to be a front-line pitcher at the major league level. Concern about his maturity continue to creep up – dropping him in the rankings from a season ago.

\r\n\r\n5. Matt Antonelli – 2B

\r\n\r\nA down season took away some of the luster, but Antonelli remains a talented prospect with excellent plate discipline and burgeoning power. He has an array of skills that is enhanced by excellent makeup and will find his way back to being a top prospect in the next year. Bad habits early cascaded, but the real Antonelli showed up in the final month of the year.

\r\n\r\n6. Kellen Kulbacki – OF

\r\n\r\nAfter a terrible start, Kulbacki got into a rhythm and never slowed down. A corner outfielder with considerable power, Kulbacki was able to shorten up his swing and really connected on good fastballs that he missed a season ago. He doesn't strike out a ton and hits the gap with regularity but does seem to need at-bats to get the flow of his swing mechanics working in concert. Kulbacki also has room to grow and should become stronger as he matures.

\r\n\r\n7. Wynn Pelzer – RHP

\r\n\r\nAfter suffering a fractured kneecap last year, Pelzer came in and blew away the Midwest League with his plus sinking fastball and solid secondary pitches. Moving away from a splitter to the more traditional changeup, the right-hander wasn't shy in its use, and it enabled him to keep hitters guessing. Despite plus stuff, he is adept at working to contact and inducing the ground ball. Once he comes inside without fear, Pelzer will be a truly dominant force.

\r\n\r\n8. Chad Huffman – OF

\r\n\r\nDespite the sub par numbers he posted in San Antonio, Huffman is a big league hitter. He handles good pitching. A line drive hitter with solid power, Huffman's swing got a little loopy at times as he tried to put a charge into the ball at his home park where the wind blew in at 15 MPH nightly. The frustration was evident as a result. Huffman is a batter who goes up to the plate with a plan and sticks to it even with two strikes. That will lead to some called third strikes but he believes in his ability and doesn't waver in the approach.

\r\n\r\n9. Drew Cumberland – SS

\r\n\r\nAn incredible athlete, injuries have limited Cumberland's ability to showcase his talent over a full season. He has game-changing speed that can pile on the stolen bases. The shortstop will also begin loading up on triples as the maturation process continues. He began this season slow but had turned it around before his season ended. He has made mechanical changes to his swing that should pay dividends with his ability to recognize pitches and drive them into the gaps where he can use his speed to his advantage.

\r\n\r\n10. Allan Dykstra – 1B

\r\n\r\nA late signing took away at-bats in his first professional season, but the hulking first baseman has as much power as anyone within the system. He has a few mechanical flaws in his swing that will produce a high strikeout total at this level but also has the patience required to hit his pitch and hit it far. Dykstra is a little stiff in his stance and is working on creating better separation to handle pitches on both sides of the plate.

\r\n\r\n11. Yefri Carvajal – OF

\r\n\r\nWhile he did not hit for as much power as the Padres' brass hoped, Carvajal was able to put bat to ball more consistently this year. The concern remains that he is swinging at too many breaking balls and making soft contact, but at-bats should begin to rectify that in the coming year, as his eye has steadily improved. He must make a concerted effort to lay off the ball tailing away to do damage with his potentially potent bat. Some players take longer to reach their immense talent and Carvajal fits that mold.

\r\n\r\n12. Wade LeBlanc – LHP

\r\n\r\nThe southpaw had a learning year in Triple-A, working his two-seamer into the equation and making adjustments away from his changeup to keep hitters off-balance. A few bad starts sent the ERA skyrocketing, but LeBlanc still has the outstanding changeup and ability to make good hitters look foolish. Once he learns to adapt on a game-by-game basis, LeBlanc has the potential to man the back half of a rotation for years to come.

\r\n\r\n13. Will Inman – RHP

\r\n\r\nAfter he was acquired from Milwaukee, Inman's velocity was down tremendously, but he came into the year hitting the low-90s and maintained consistency with that number through the year. Inman has a lot of deception in his delivery and a great curveball to baffle hitters. He sometimes will focus on the putting hitters away with a strikeout rather than inducing contact for the easy out and walked far too many this season due to a change in arm slot.

\r\n\r\n14. James Darnell – 3B

\r\n\r\nA late signing, Darnell is a terrific athlete who combines power with average and the ability to play multiple positions defensively. He has a lanky frame that has a lot of room to fill out. It is conceivable that he goes the path of Chase Headley with his off-season program to add weight to further buoy his prospect status. He can already hit the gaps with authority and added strength will ensure the homers follow.

\r\n\r\n15. Drew Miller – RHP

\r\n\r\nIf stuff is the barometer, Miller has a great combination of tools to work with. Taking into account the 2008 season, it had to be a bit of a disappointment. Simply put, Miller's stuff spent too much time over the center of the plate. He has not learned how to be effective working inside to combat hitters leaning out over the plate. His changeup remains a work in progress while his breaking ball shows above average tendencies.

\r\n\r\n16. Steve Garrison – LHP

\r\n\r\nThere are few who have the pinpoint control that this southpaw offers. Shoulder surgery aside, Garrison has a full compliment of four pitches he throws – each for strikes and to all four qudrants of the zone. The left-hander works effectively inside and is very mature for his age. He had some trouble holding runners but improved significantly in that area this season.

\r\n\r\n17. Sawyer Carroll – OF

\r\n\r\nCarroll still has a few aluminum bat kinks to work out from his swing but his willingness to work and readiness to play each day was a testament to his ability to learn a professional approach. He feasted on pitches on the inner half of the plate, sending them into the gaps and over the wall. Carroll did have some trouble staying away from the breaking pitches away and saw a steady diet of junk once promoted. He will have need to learn his comfort zone with those pitches, staying away from the ones he can't do damage with.

\r\n\r\n18. Anthony Bass – RHP

\r\n\r\nSpending the year in the pen after being overused in college, Bass has four quality pitches that he can throw for strikes from a Tim Lincecum style delivery. He has good extension towards the plate and the differential in the speed of his pitches is enough to keep hitters off-balance. Bass is a player that could move quickly, as he has an advanced feel for pitch sequencing and his confidence is off the charts.

\r\n\r\n19. Cesar Carrillo – RHP

\r\n\r\nHe has top-five talent but is working his way back into shape after Tommy John surgery and his location has not been what it was. The velocity has crept back up to the mid-90s but not with consistency. The Padres expect Carrillo to be back to where he was prior to surgery in Spring Training. If his changeup comes back to where it was with his plus fastball that has late movement down in the zone, Carrillo could quickly rise into the top 10 again.

\r\n\r\n20. Will Venable – OF

\r\n\r\nDoing everything well but nothing extraordinary has made Venable a staple of consistency. He is not prone to the draughts that others may succumb to and keeps everything at en even keel. He is very athletic and has power that should continue to blossom, using his intellect and work ethic to get the job done and done well. Venable could be a tad more patient at the plate, as he does strikeout too much without the homer totals. He is at his best when he uses the whole field and drives balls into the gaps.

\r\n\r\n21. Blake Tekotte – OF

\r\n\r\nThe Padres have been looking for a quintessential leadoff hitter for some time and may have found a true candidate this season in Tekotte. The centerfielder is a solid defender with excellent range, and at the plate shows patience, an ability to hit the ball to different parts of the field and surprising power. He has some work to do on his route running and taking a rather large rap out of his swing.

\r\n\r\n22. Simon Castro – RHP

\r\n\r\nThe lanky right-hander has improved tenfold upon his command in his short time stateside and has all the makings of a special talent. He has an outstanding fastball and a slider that has much sharper break than in the past. If his changeup can become a go-to pitch with solid differential in the velocity from his slider, Castro could vault himself into the top 10. Not to go unnoticed, Castro's command of the English language has made tremendous strides in the last year – a great sign for an emerging Latin prospect.

\r\n\r\n23. Logan Forsythe – 3B

\r\n\r\nThree games into his career, Forsythe suffered a hand injury sliding into first base. He came back near the end of the season but his timing was off. In the Instructional League, Forsythe looked like the ferocious hitter that got him drafted so high. He has a clean, compact stroke and drives through the ball. Forsythe does not have a lot of wasted effort in his swing and his quick hands generate natural power that can play at any level.

\r\n\r\n24. Mitch Canham – C

\r\n\r\nThere is no questioning his ability to hit. Canham has a fantastic batting eye and generates tremendous speed in the bat head, hitting most balls hard to all parts of the field. His power numbers should continue to rise as a result of his solid foundation. The question is whether he can remain at catcher. He has improved upon his blocking skills and calling a game but is still short in the arm department. A change of positions would, incidentally, hurt his prospect status.

\r\n\r\n25. Jeremy McBryde – RHP

\r\n\r\nAlmost lost in the conversation about quality pitchers, McBryde made tremendous strides in his second season. A strike thrower that has a plus fastball, he developed as a pitcher this season rather than a thrower. While he still needs to use his changeup more, the spin on his slider became tighter and he wasn't as concerned with the strikeout as in the past. As his pitch sequencing improves, McBryde should make a big leap forward.

\r\n\r\n26. Cory Luebke – LHP

\r\n\r\nIt was a disappointing year for the left-hander as his confidence waned from getting hit around in the California League. Simply put, he was catching too much of the plate with his fastball and could not get to his secondary pitches. Couple that with a delivery that was too compact – losing the effectiveness of a downward plane to the plate – his ball lacked the necessary movement to keep hitters from making solid contact. He made strides at standing up taller effectively when he was demoted.

\r\n\r\n27. Cole Figueroa – SS

\r\n\r\nA sophomore eligible draftee, Figueroa has one of the best batting eyes in the system already. On top of that, the infielder does not give at-bats away and claws until the end. The Florida native has terrific bloodlines, as his father played in the majors and is a coach in the Giants system. Figueroa gets more out of his talent because of his dedication to the game and has solid gap power with skills to steal a few bases, despite not being above average in the speed department.

\r\n\r\n28. Matt Buschmann – RHP

\r\n\r\nThere are concerns about Buschmann's arm angle and cross-body motion but no such problems with the results he posts. After a sluggish start, no pitcher performed more consistently down the stretch than Buschmann. The same thing that gives the coaches pause allows him to be deceptive to the plate. A student of the game that studies hitters' tendencies, Buschmann's success is tied to keeping his two-seamer low in the zone and mixing in his off-speed.

\r\n\r\n29. Wilton Lopez – RHP

\r\n\r\nEarly on, Lopez was challenged with facing more experienced Double-A hitters and was a tad overwhelmed. Sent back down to Lake Elsinore, Lopez was dominant in a closer's role. He used his power sinker to get a ton of ground ball outs and was always around the plate after trying to be too perfect with his control at the higher levels. Having pitched just one year of affiliated baseball since '04 entering 2008, Lopez came away with a positive season.

\r\n\r\n30. Dan Robertson – OF

\r\n\r\nAn unheralded pick out of college, Robertson showed he has very few flaws in his game. He hits, hits for some power, runs well, and is an exceptional defensive player with a solid arm. He may not have the ideal size, but Robertson is a gamer that does all of the little things right. He bunts well, uses his smarts to take extra bases, works the count into his favor and has a great feel for the strike zone.

\r\n\r\n31. Lance Zawadzki – SS

\r\n\r\nAfter a slow start to the season, the infielder turned around his season, showing considerable pop that ballooned as he began listening to his coaches and applying their input on the field. A bit headstrong, Zawadzki has enough power to do damage but was focused more on hitting the ball out then making solid contact. With some refined mechanics to his swing and swing plane, Zawadzki was able to use his natural strength to drive balls into the gaps and over the wall. Very athletic, he also will steal bases and has plenty of arm to play shortstop.

\r\n\r\n32. Luis Durango – OF

\r\n\r\nThe outfielder has struggled to make believers out of everyone but people are beginning to take notice of his ability to hit. He struggled out of the gate and thoughts of him being exposed crept up. Once the weather warmed, however, so did his bat. He has excellent hand-eye coordination and despite a solid batting eye will swing himself into outs by going after bad pitches. He must make more strides with his base running skills but has come a long way defensively – even if centerfield will be a stretch for him.

\r\n\r\n33. Eric Sogard – 2B

\r\n\r\nA breakout year put Sogard firmly on the map at the second base position. A pioneer in the Padres patiently aggressive approach at the plate, he is an incredibly tough out that maximizes each at-bat. Armed with tremendous baseball acumen, he is able to maximize his abilities at the plate, on the bases, and in the field. Sogard has surprising pop and is disciplined in the field, making all plays within his range.

\r\n\r\n34. Jose DePaula – LHP

\r\n\r\nArmed with a solid fastball that he commands and a solid curveball, De Paula is polished for his age with a clean delivery and understanding of the working ahead in the count. His main problem this year was putting hitters away. He struggled when he reached a 0-2 count and allowed more hits ahead in the count than he should. As his changeup improves and his confidence level rises, DePaula is one to watch.

\r\n\r\n35. Ernesto Frieri – RHP

\r\n\r\nFrieri burst onto the scene last year with a fastball that hovered at 90-91 MPH jumping up to 94-95 MPH. This season, the Padres moved him into the starting rotation so he could continue to work on refining his secondary pitches. The right-hander had a very good slider a few years back and is working on recovering that pitch as well as adding an effective changeup. The one plus was he wasn't afraid to use either pitch and each improved as the season went on.

\r\n\r\n36. Edinson Rincon – 3B

\r\n\r\nCo-winner of the Most Improved Player in the Padres Instructional League, Rincon is impressively built but still figuring out what he can do with his frame. Not biting off more than he can chew, Rincon puts the bat to ball well and has a sound feel for the strike zone. He has a great temperament that doesn't get overwhelmed and at-bats should bring his considerable power potential to the forefront.

\r\n\r\n37. Josh Geer – RHP

\r\n\r\nA savvy pitcher without an above average pitch, Geer mixes his pitches effectively, keeps hitters off-balance and isn't afraid to work inside. His two-seam fastball has solid downward movement and induces ground ball outs and his pitch sequencing is among the best in the organization. He has to be fine with his pitches, as it is a matter of inches between a good pitch and a poor one. A strike thrower, he will get hit around at times but can be baffling at other times.

\r\n\r\n38. Jackson Quezada – RHP

\r\n\r\nQuezada has always had the talent but has had trouble harnessing it on a consistent basis. There were some who thought he has a fragile psyche, but he proved otherwise this season. He proved to be adept at closing out ball games and was consistent throughout the year, utilizing movement on his fastball and a slider that had right-handers fishing. Quezada does not give up a lot of hard contact and knows how to put hitters away.

\r\n\r\n39. Jeudy Valdez – SS

\r\n\r\nThe raw ability is there but harnessing that talent on a consistent basis has eluded the infielder. He is a max-effort hitter that chases too many balls out of the strike zone and does not stay controlled at the plate. When he is feeling confident, he has the ability to hit the ball out of the park and create havoc with the bat. In the field, Valdez is similar to his work at the dish – rushing his footwork and throws. He has improved in that area over the last year and the hope is his bat follows.

\r\n\r\n40. Jonathan Galvez – SS

\r\n\r\nA patient hitter that uses the whole field as his playground, Galvez has some power in a frame that has considerable room for growth. He got into a rut in the middle of the year when he was trying to hit homers rather than letting his natural athleticism and bat control do the work. An intellectual player, Galvez benefitted from seeing a diet of breaking balls this season and will be better served because of it in the future.

\r\n\r\n41. Greg Burke – RHP

\r\n\r\nA season ago, Burke was an afterthought. This year, he is a bona fide prospect. Credit goes to his work ethic last off-season, where he gained 10 pounds of muscle and it equated into 3-4 MPH added onto his fastball. He also developed a slider/cutter that became his go-to pitch this season, getting hitters to either swing over top of the pitch or hit it weakly on the ground. He went back to using his two-seamer as the year progressed and needs a third pitch to consistently handle left-handers.

\r\n\r\n42. Brian Joynt – 3B/1B

\r\n\r\nLike Burke, Joynt wasn't on any list to begin the year – quite literally. He was in extended spring training before an opportunity to join High-A arose. He ended the season with 42 extra base hits and was among the league leaders in isolated power – a key ingredient to a consistent run producer. To get there, Joynt made significant changes to his hitting mechanics and broke through. His career has come full circle, as Joynt earned the Leadership Award at the Padres Instructional League.

\r\n\r\n43. Corey Kluber – RHP

\r\n\r\nThought to be able to handle High-A to begin the year, Kluber struggled with his command and his confidence wavered and fell apart. He was afraid to work inside and became predictable as a result. Moved down to Fort Wayne, Kluber was rejuvenated and showed better command of his arsenal and a willingness to use his pitches. He still left a few pitches up in the zone and keeping the ball down is crucial to his continued success.

\r\n\r\n44. Chris Wilkes – RHP

\r\n\r\nThere are few pitchers in the system that grasped the need for the changeup as quickly as Wilkes. The right-hander is a baseball player in a football player's body and has been quick to learn the nuances of pitching, working to contact, and getting ahead in the count. The ball is put in play with him on the mound and his changeup became a plus pitch that had hitters rolling over for weak ground balls.

\r\n\r\n45. Emmanuel Quiles – C

\r\n\r\nStill maturing as a catcher, Quiles has a tremendous toolset to work with. He has great footwork and an accurate laser for an arm. Where he needs work is on blocking balls and continuing on his work with handling a staff. Offensively, Quiles has a long ways to go. He can get impatient at the plate and does not lay off pitches outside his zone. As a result, he does not make consistent solid contact. Once he learns to swing at his pitches, he might be able to turn those singles into extra base hits.

\r\n\r\n46. Sean Kazmar – SS

\r\n\r\nBelief goes a long way, and Kazmar had the backing of the Padres entering the year. After a tough time in the first two months, the shortstop turned his season around by being more selective with what pitches he swung at – seeing the dividends with success at the plate that included a higher average and on-base percentage. Proving he can play shortstop and now getting some turns in the outfield, Kazmar has utility infielder capability that can step in and play for extended periods.

\r\n\r\n47. Jeremy Hefner – RHP

\r\n\r\nA right-hander with game awareness and moxie, Hefner has command of four pitches and uses his expertise in pitch sequencing to setup hitters. He can spot his fastball to both corners and has a quality changeup, coming to the Instructional League specifically to work on perfecting a slider. Hefner keeps hitters guessing and off his fastball by mixing any pitch in any count. He also has a knack for getting batters to hit themselves into outs.

\r\n\r\n48. Pablo Menchaca – RHP

\r\n\r\nWith an easy delivery and simple motion, Menchaca was poised for a breakout season. A lackluster performance all around, however, has pushed him back. His velocity was down out of the gate, and while it improved, the Padres hoped to see some emotion begin propelling him through starts. Armed with a solid two-seamer that floats down in the zone, he gets ground ball outs. But he has not crossed over the hump of hype, and one wonders if the fire will ever stay lit and propel him to greater heights.

\r\n\r\n49. Matt Clark – 1B

\r\n\r\nThere are few who have the raw power that Clark possesses but refining his pitch selection and approach at the dish is necessary to tap into the immense potential. While he can catch up with any fastball, off-speed pitches can give him fits and he will chase outside of the zone. Clark is also long to the ball, and he is working on shortening up to take advantage of his strength. On defense, Clark is a work in progress. He lacks lateral movement and needs to improve his footwork.

\r\n\r\n50. Brad Chalk – OF

\r\n\r\nA baseball player that has all the instincts – playing above average defensively in centerfield with solid range and above average on the base paths, Chalk will only be as good as his bat. He has struggled making the strides the Padres hope he can to pull the ball more effectively. Without hitting the gaps regularly, he is a singles hitter with some speed and solid defensive tools. That is not enough.

\r\n\r\n51. Evan Scribner – RHP

\r\n\r\nAcquired from Arizona in a July trade for Tony Clark, Scribner has consistently gotten outs everywhere he has pitched. The right-hander is aggressive inside the strike zone and commands his breaking ball and changeup for strikes. With a low-90s fastball, he can also drop in a hook that will come in some 25 MPH slower. Scribner also has a deceptive motion and hides the ball well before exploding towards the plate.

\r\n\r\n52. Jesus Lopez – SS

\r\n\r\nAbove average defensively, despite his lack of range, Lopez' bat has yet to make a consistent appearance. Fluid in the field and smooth with his arm, Lopez is a contact hitters that never seems sure of which way to take a pitch, often resulting in him pulling outside pitches and fending off those offerings on the inner half. He made progress taking the ball where it was pitched in the latter half of the season. His bat, however, will be the deciding factor in his prospect status.

\r\n\r\n53. Aaron Breit – RHP

\r\n\r\nArriving late after missing two months to recover from surgery, Breit didn't have a true bounce back year but there were positive signs. His fastball velocity is creeping back up to what it was and his curveball has looked solid. His changeup remains a work in progress and the lack of success with the pitch has made his confidence wane at times. He couldn't seem to avoid the big inning but is a hard worker that is looking to shine in 2009.

\r\n\r\n54. Bryan Oland – RHP

\r\n\r\nPitching coaches were abuzz in extended spring training when Oland was still with them. They simply couldn't figure out why he was there. Making good on the hype, Oland dominated all season. He has a power arm with a mid-90s fastball and sets up hitters by regularly working ahead in the count. He stifles hitters with his breaking ball and keeps the ball low in the zone, getting grounders when hitters are able to make contact.

\r\n\r\n55. Rob Musgrave – LHP

\r\n\r\nArmed with a plus changeup, Musgrave was immediately at home in the Padres system and ahead of the curve. While he profiles as a starter, the left-hander worked out of the bullpen this past season, using his fastball to work ahead and the changeup as an out pitch. When he got two strikes, Musgrave knew how to finish off hitters. He has had some trouble getting the curveball over and that will be a crucial pitch in limiting left-handed hitters effectiveness off him.

\r\n\r\n56. Rolando Valdez – RHP

\r\n\r\nValdez has always preferred to work as a starter rather than coming out of the pen and got his wish late in the year – flashing his plus changeup and a fastball that hits the low-90s with command. He is an emotional pitcher that will show his frustrations, allowing the mental side to carry over to his work on the hill. Valdez needs a third offering he can rely on to continue his ascension to the higher levels.

\r\n\r\n57. Stephen Faris – RHP

\r\n\r\nEvolving over the last year, Faris has become a pitcher who is not afraid of contact and uses it to his advantage. Relying on his fielders, Faris mixes his pitches well and uses fastball command to get ahead. Faris became dependent on the use of his curveball and it showed a tighter two-plane spin than in the past. It was, however, at the expense of his changeup – a pitch that regressed in the last year.

\r\n\r\n58. Nathan Culp – LHP

\r\n\r\nWith four pitches he can throw for strikes and a pitch to contact mentality, Culp is a workhorse that goes deep into games and saves bullpens. Coupled with his groundball efficiency, the southpaw is a pitcher that should improve as the defense around him increases their range and ability. Culp is a backward pitcher, working off the effectiveness of his changeup and curveball to keep hitters guessing.

\r\n\r\n59. Mike DeMark – RHP

\r\n\r\nAn aggressive pitcher that isn't afraid to come inside and stake his claim to the plate, DeMark pitches with all the confidence in the world. His attitude on the mound is fearless and he uses a low-90s fastball to work ahead while sporting some deception that makes the ball seem even harder than it is. He has worked on his changeup to give hitters an alternative to the hard fastball and hard slider, increasing his effectiveness.

\r\n\r\n60. Stiven Osuna – RHP

\r\n\r\nA ground ball pitcher with room to mature, Osuna can hit 90 MPH on the radar gun today with room for projection. He uses the fastball – more of a sinker – to work ahead and commands it low in the zone. Osuna also sports a solid changeup that has hitters rolling over on his pitches. He needs to work on a third pitch, as both his curveball and slider have been inconsistent. With his ability to work ahead, the third pitch will enhance his prospect status.

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