Sizing up the Padres second base prospects

The second base position with the San Diego Padres was supposed to be an easy fix with Matt Antonelli. His struggles, coupled with the progress of several prospects, has made the position relatively deep within the system, even with the trade of Eric Sogard.

Highest ceiling:

Jonathan Galvez

An advanced batting eye with an innate ability to make solid contact has Galvez on the rise. He generates a lot of power out of a wiry frame but will suffer from bouts of inconsistency – mainly because he is very hard on himself and will take bad at-bats into the field and poor defensive choices into the next at-bat. Galvez can be smooth defensively but has a penchant for being too flashy, causing himself problems. His arm is average, making the move from shortstop over to second could be the future framework.

Closest to the majors:

Cole Figueroa

A well-rounded athlete with no tool that sticks out more than any other. He is sure-handed in the field and can swing between shortstop and second base, although his lateral quickness needs work. He is fundamentally sound at the plate and can perform all the necessary parts that define the National League game. He bunts well, moves hitters over, drives them in when required and does not give away at-bats. His value is in consistency.

Sleepers:

Vince Belnome

A late round pick this season, Belnome showed an advanced feel for hitting. He works the count and isn't afraid to bat with two strikes. He also has power out of a solid foundation and setup, putting his hands in a relaxed position before going through the baseball. Belnome's defense needs some help, specifically his footwork and balance, which will allow him to turn the double play and make more accurate throws.

Adan Velazquez

A talented prospect that has impressive pop in a lithe frame and contact ability, Velazquez must overcome some off-the-field issues. There are questions about his maturity and dedication. When he is between the lines, few doubt his potential. He hits the gaps with regularity and is a clutch performer that drives in runs. If he can gain consistency and a similar approach in all situations, Velazquez could go far.

Ryan Skube

Son of hitting coach Bob Skube, Ryan is maturing into his body and still figuring out how to hit. Because of his lineage, Skube has the advantage of being able to talk shop at any time and that could aid his development in a big way. He does, however, have quite a ways to go.

Need to make their move:

Matt Antonelli

For a little over two years, Antonelli has struggled mightily. Skyrocketing through the system, the Wake Forest alumnus was marked as the heir apparent at second. Since then, his hitting mechanics have taken a dive and his confidence shattered. He spent two weeks in September working one-on-one with hitting coordinator Tony Muser in an effort to regain a solid foundation that will promote healthy hitting. Plenty of prospects are nipping at his heels, even with the trade of Eric Sogard.

The jury is still out:

Jeudy Valdez

A lean frame that could stand to add more muscle, Valdez is a big game performer that performs better under pressure. He has a long way to go in learning the strike zone and lost a significant amount of time this year to injury. Experience is essential here. Defensively, Valdez continues to rush his footwork and hands but turns a great double play and has solid range.

Andy Parrino

The everyday man is a hard working ball player that pours his heart into every at-bat and every defensive play. Parrino still strikes out too much for someone without pop but has shown vast improvement in condensing his strike zone. He is also capable at multiple positions defensively.

Kevin Hansen

Talk to anyone who has had the pleasure of coaching Hansen and they will excitedly retell his contributions. While some of his work does not show up in the boxscore, Hansen is at the head of many wins and makes those around him play better because of his natural leadership and work ethic. He does not, however, have the upside of others and lacks a true plus tool.

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