Sizing the Padres outfield prospects part II

In part I of our look at the San Diego Padres outfield prospects, MadFriars.com looked at those with the highest ceilings and where the jury was still out. Today, we eye those closest to the majors, the sleepers, and those that need to make their move.

Closest to the majors:

Luis Durango

People have doubted his skills for years, but Durango finds a way to come through. With blazing speed as an ally, the outfielder knows how to make the most of his assets. He still needs more strength so he can keep the outfielders honest but also knows his game – balls on the ground and bunting. His defense has improved each year, making him adequate in center. Those skills also need to be continually honed.

Chad Huffman

Huffman was supposed to have a colossal year in 2009 after a down 2008. It wasn't a terrible year by any stretch but left some questions. He didn't hit for much power till August and gave the Pacific Coast League too much credit. Still, he is a hitter with a plan that looks for his pitch and rarely deviates. If he can take that approach and learn to expand his zone with two strikes, Huffman has the ability to be a contributor with power.

Sawyer Carroll

Perhaps the quietest 96-RBI season in the history of a Padres prospect. Carroll performed at three levels in 2009 and didn't disappoint at any stop along the way. Making it to Double-A in his first full professional season, the outfielder has a mix of patience and gap power. He also has the potential to hit more balls out of the park but has a few mechanical changes that need to happen. Given his on-base skills and quality defensive play, Carroll isn't far away.

Mike Baxter

A versatile player who played first in college and has spent a large majority of his time in the outfield within the Padres system, Baxter made adjustments during the 2008 Arizona Fall League and carried those through to this year. He doesn't have much power but can hit the gaps regularly. His value is in his pitch selection, which has improved tremendously, and his ability to make solid contact.

Sleepers:

Dan Robertson

Once might be a fluke but twice is a pattern. Robertson has the unique ability of making those around him better. A diligent worker, Robertson is mechanically and fundamentally sound as a hitter. With little movement or deviance out of his swing, Robertson makes hard contact and hits it where the fielders are not. He also has a quality batting eye and the patience to wait for his pitch.

Blake Tekotte

While there are flaws in his swing that need correction, Tekotte can be a catalyst for a team when he is in the zone. The center fielder has the legs to do damage on the base paths and enough stick to hit the gaps regularly and take quite a few deep. A plus defender, Tekotte has a ton of innate talent that just needs refinement before it is consistently in the forefront.

Yoan Alcatara

The speedy center fielder has a live body with a very quick bat. He has a line drive stroke and the ball has jumped off his stick in the Dominican. He is a bit pull-happy and needs to improve his pitch selection and plate discipline to meet his potential.

Bo Davis

Other players feed off the electricity in Davis' game. A leadoff hitter that steals at any opportunity, Davis has a great batting eye and coordination to put the bat on the ball with solid contact. Once he works out some balance issues with his stance, the center fielder could be a bigger power threat that routinely logs doubles and triples.

Yair Lopez

No one improved as much as Lopez did through the 2009 season – but all of the improvements came in the DSL. Bringing that success into the US will be a challenge. Lopez has a lot of room to grow into a healthy frame and must add muscle to keep up with the professional ranks. He has surprising pop already and that could blossom with more weight. Lopez is also adept at working the counts and enough speed to be a threat on the bases. If he continues to grow and listen to his coaches, Lopez could be quite a sleeper.

Need to make their move:

Danny Payne

There has been a lot of talk about the abundance of tools, including pitch selection. While he has shown a patient approach, he has not been very consistent with the bat. Payne has struggled to figure out what kind of hitter he wants to be. He has shown power, at times, but will turn into a pull happy performer. Finding that balance has been a constant issue.

Cedric Hunter

There is no doubting his ability to make contact and his overall bat control. Hunter can hit pitches that many others can't. That is the problem. He has not developed enough physichally to hit poorly thrown pitches into the outfield. The fact of the matter is he must improve his pitch selection and began laying off balls outside of the zone while getting stronger.

Brad Chalk

The speedy outfielder has made strides but hasn't taken that next step. While he can hit for average, he does not pull balls on the inner half effectively and is not yet strong enough to regularly hit the gaps. If he can add strength and weight, coupled with his outstanding speed, Chalk could be a game changer at the top of a lineup. He has some plate awareness but needs to shore up that area as well. It would help if he could incorporate his whole body into his swing.

Yefri Carvajal

A world of talent but little proof that it exists. Carvajal has shown flashes of pitch selection, flashes of immense power, and flashes of contact ability but has never put that into play during a season. It is hard to believe he is still only 20 – giving him a chance to make a mark. He has to improve on his pitch selection and ability to drive balls. Carvajal's success and failure will come down to his bat. If he hits .300 with no power, it is not enough.

Wande Olabisi

Innately powerful, Olabisi is a novice when it comes to baseball. He has tremendous strength and above-average speed but doesn't know how to effectively use either tool. The coaches thought he could have come further in his understanding during his professional debut, but the tools are evident and could come to fruition with more experience. Learning which pitches he can hit and which ones he needs to stay away from will go a long way in determining his fate.

Ty Wright

One of the strongest players in the system, Wright is a batting practice hitter that is learning how to carry that kind of talent into games. He literally leaves his feet during his swing and needs a lot of work mechanically to harness the power filtered through his frame. If he can make the changes and improve his contact ability, Wright could be something. He has a lot of work to do before that is a reality and a short time to do it in.

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