Tool Time: Best Athlete

An athlete sets up so many things for a ball club – the versatility, the potential, the excitement, all rolled into one. These San Diego Padres prospects are the best of the bunch and represent a legit chance at the rare five-tool prospect.

Lance Zawadzki

A blend of speed, game awareness and power has Zawadzki's stock soaring within the system. Sluggish out of the gate in 2008, the infielder came on strong in the second half, flashing the traits that make him so well liked.

Zawadzki boasts the potential to be strong in all five tools. He already runs well, has a great arm, is becoming a solid defender, has power that is developing and will likely hit for average.

Blake Tekotte

Not only is Tekotte a plus runner, he has excellent defensive skills and has shown pop with the bat – making him a complete player in the true mold of an athlete.

Tekotte does so many things well already yet maintains an incredibly high ceiling. He will become a strong base runner after learning the nuances, has room to grow defensively – despite being a strong center fielder already – and his bat is yet another plus tool.

Drew Cumberland

An exciting blend of speed and talent, Cumberland has the potential to be an offensive force because of the havoc he can create as a plus-plus runner. Defensively, there is versatility with what he can eventually accomplish. Power may be the lone tool to elude him.

Cumberland is just learning to utilize his tremendous skills, including bunting, running the bases, and shoring up his defensive skills. There has been talk of moving him to center field – a testament to his athletic prowess.

Dan Robertson

An advanced player in his first professional season, Robertson has already showed plus skills as a defender, outfield arm, and hitting for average. He also has some pop and is an instinctual runner that is a tick above average in the speed department.

Considering how many things he does well today, Robertson has shown he has a skill set that is transferrable to all facets of the game. He is a true gamer that will give up his body to make a play and grinds out every game situation.

Will Venable

Venable's progression from when he was drafted until now has been evident in each season. Whenever he learns a new lesson, the outfielder has little trouble applying it on the field.

Already a high average hitter with solid defensive skills, his power is just beginning to come to the forefront. Because of his innate knowledge, Venable is a plus base runner, despite average speed. A gritty baseball player, he squeezes every inch of ability out of an athletic body.

Honorable Mention:

Yefri Carvajal

Carvajal has all the tools – except speed. A powerfully built athlete, the outfielder is a novice in many categories. He is still learning the game defensively but has a cannon arm. Carvajal also has a ton of power potential but needs better pitch selection.

Matt Antonelli

Showing speed, high on-base skills, and pop, Antonelli has been a quick riser through the system, despite his struggles in ‘08. He has a plethora of skills to choose from and the work ethic to bring all of his tools together.

Brad Chalk

A plus defender with nearly impeccable base running skills, Chalk has struggled to find his gap power. He has the ability to hit for average and should begin finding the gaps with regularity as he becomes comfortable with the changes he has endured.

Jaff Decker

Nicked for his body type, Decker has proven to be above the naysayers, fielding his position well, flashing a plus arm, proving he can be successful stealing bases, and maturing pop. His high average ability is a plus tool and power will become a bigger part of his game. He may have to continue to work on his quickness but does well with the knowledge he is given.

Brett Dowdy

A versatile defender that can man multiple positions and act as a catalyst, Dowdy won't hit for much power but his plus speed may evolve into a bigger threat on the bases. He simply needs to learn to use it.

Eric Sogard

Athleticism is nothing without execution. Sogard puts all the pieces together and routinely executes. He bunts well, is great at situational hitting, is improving defensively and has some juice in his bat.

Jonathan Galvez

While his defense may come into question, Galvez is a terrific athlete that has the potential to hit for power, steal bases, and hit for a high average. As young as he is, Galvez has a long way to go.

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