Fort Wayne TinCaps 2010 Season Preview

Synopsis: The 2010 TinCaps, the Low-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, will be a very experienced team on the mound, a blend of minor league veterans and college pitchers. In the field and at the plate, Fort Wayne will have a very young and very Latin American team. How young? Four of their projected eight everyday players are teenagers.

Three Strikes with Randy Smith, Director of Player Development and International Scouting:

Do you expect to see Donavan Tate in Fort Wayne at some time this year and when?

Randy Smith: Right now, the biggest thing is for us to get him healthy. He jammed his shoulder making a diving catch in center field a few days ago so we are trying to get that taken care off. Before we think of sending him anywhere, he really has to get caught up for all the time he missed last year, in Instructs and in spring training.

Edinson Rincon has a big bat but has really struggled with the glove. What type of improvement do you expect to see from him in the field?

Randy Smith: He improved last year but needs to work on his backhand side. He's just 19, and right now, we are much more concerned about improvement than actual numbers. He has tremendous work ethic and these are the types of kids that we really like to work with. You combine that with his age and I don't think its the time to move him off of third.

Dexter Carter put up some good numbers last year in Low-A Kannapolis with the White Sox but struggled in Fort Wayne. What do you think has changed with him this year?

Randy Smith: First, I think Dex is just more comfortable in the organization that he was last year. He has improved his changeup and his curveball has been much more consistent.

Projected Lineup:

1B Nate Freiman SP Jerry Sullivan
2B Jeudy Valdez SP Nick Greenwood
SS Jonathan Galvez SP Dexter Carter
3B Edinson Rincon SP Michael Watt
C Jason Hagerty SP John Hussey
LF Bo Davis Closer Rafeal Arias
CF Everett Williams Relief Miles Mikolas
RF Rymer Liriano Relief Rob Musgrave
DH Wande Olabisi-- Top 20 Prospects in Fort Wayne (5): Edinson Rincon #6, Rymer Liriano #11, Everett Williams #12, Jerry Sullivan #17, Jonathan Galvez #20

Catch a Rising Star: Everett Williams – With Tate in extended spring training and probably tagged Eugene for 2010, Williams will get an opportunity to show the full extent of his offensive and defensive capabilities. A very advanced player for his age, so far has seemed very comfortable with the professional game.

Pitching: Sullivan was the Padres' top pitcher selected in the 2009 draft, although lefty Nick Greenwood, a late draft pick out of the University of Rhode Island, had the best year in Eugene. Sullivan has the bigger upside with his power fastball and slider, the key for him is commanding it and developing an effective changeup. Also he needs to become more efficient with his pitches. Greenwood is the quintessential crafty lefty, a winning player, a former soccer star, who posted a a 50-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio while giving up only 52 hits in 63.1 innings in Eugene. Carter, 23, and Watt, 21, both of whom had the unique honor of being acquired for two pretty good pitchers in Jake Peavy and Greg Maddux, were here last year and both looked very good in spring training. Carter is a little old for the league and will be a prime candidate to move up after putting together good numbers with the White Sox Low-A affiliate before faltering with the TinCaps last year. John Hussey, a native of Australia, is entering into his fourth year in the organization and at 23 its time for him to put up some numbers early or risk losing his spot to the talent the organization is keeping in extended spring training.

Position Players: A very young and potentially very talented team. Edinson Rincon is the rare young Latin player with patience and power. He put up solid numbers in Eugene at the plate but the big question is can he handle third base defensively. Nate Frieman showed that he had fewer holes in his swing than many scouts believed, leading the Northwest League with 68 RBI and 33 extra-base hits while placing second with 11 home runs. Galvez was one of the better players in the Arizona League last year and showed some pop with the bat hitting 295/.399/.503, although he didn't have a great year defensively with 20 errors in 52 games. The Padres believe in switch-hitting catcher James Hagerty's bat. Although he struggled coming out of the University of Miami, they were happy with what he did behind the plate. Williams and Liriano will split time in center field this year, the other going to one of the corners. Both are very young and have immense talent. How well they adjust to the cold weather and advanced pitching will be interesting. Olabisi is very raw baseball wise, he didn't play much at Stanford, but the team is in love with his potential. He may be faster than Luis Durango and has the raw power of a Matt Clark. He doesn't know how to consistently tap either.

On the Spot: Donavan TateWhen and if he gets to Fort Wayne this year, anyone that was the #3 overall pick in the draft is going to face quite a bit of pressure to perform.

Under the Radar: Jonathan Galvez – Tall, rangy with some pop in his bat. Galvez has a good eye at the plate and the actions to stay at short. The key for him, as with all young shortstops, is to be as interested in making the routine plays as he is the spectacular.

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