Top 60 San Diego Padres prospects

MadFriars.com annually ranks the top 60 San Diego Padres Prospects, and an influx of talent through trades has once again made it harder. That is a credit to the strengthening of the farm by the San Diego Padres' front office and development staff. Take advantage of our Buy One Month, Get One Month Free promotion - Extended Through Tuesday!

DO 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.

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No player that missed most, if not all, of 2010 or is projected to miss all of 2011 was eligible to be ranked. Also, Ernesto Frieri was left off the list because he has locked up a position with the Padres and won't retain prospect status for long. A future story will come out detailing where those would have ranked if healthy and had an average year.

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 easier to predict who will reach the major leagues. It is much 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? How have they regressed?

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, 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. It would not be fair to you or them if we took the liberty of ranking them without laying our eyes on their abilities.

Without further ado:

1. Casey Kelly - RHP

The former two-way player acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade has top of the rotation potential. He offers a mid-90s fastball with a plus changeup and developing breaking pitch. A year into his role as a full time pitcher after continuing to play on both sides of the field, Kelly could develop quickly with the focus turned to the mound. His numbers were elevated last year, as he was challenged in Double-A. Kelly should be better for it moving forward.

2. Simon Castro - RHP

The tall right-hander saw his innings curtailed this season and does have some mechanical flaws, but there is no debating the wicked effectiveness of his pitches. He has the best pure stuff in the system with a darting slider and mid-90s fastball with late life. His changeup has also progressed but needs a little more tweaking to become a consistently effective third pitch. He should reach San Diego late in 2011.

3. Jaff Decker - OF

A slow start after missing all spring and a revamped swing met him, but the outfielder overcame all obstacles by midseason. He has the best pure bat around, a power hitter that understands the strike zone and where his hitting zone lies. A broken hand came at a time when he was mashing the ball to all parts of the field. People have questioned Decker's future. The fact is this kid can hit at the major league level today.

4. Drew Cumberland - SS

A healthy Cumberland is the most dynamic player in the Padres system. He runs extremely well, has an uncanny ability to put the bat to ball with enough strength to drive it into the gaps. Cumberland's health, however, has curtailed his development. He has big league ability with four plus tools but will never reach that potential if he cannot stay on the field.

5. Cory Luebke - LHP

The left-hander has continued to improve since entering the system. With a low-90s fastball that he can spot to the corners and solid secondary pitches, Luebke is one of the surer bets to reach his potential. That is why he was called up to San Diego in September and is a frontrunner for a spot in the rotation this season.

6. James Darnell – 3B

The third baseman had a season that was largely forgettable. It wasn't until the end of the year that he showed what kind of hitter he can be. Darnell was too aggressive at times and created bad habits as a result, lunging at pitches that he would normally shy from. He has raw power and pure athleticism that bodes well for his future. Given his unrelenting work ethic, it won't be long before Darnell is back to being the player he can be.

7. Matt Lollis - RHP

Big Country is an overpowering presence on the hill. His ability to stay on top of his pitches and thrown downhill to hitters changes their eye level and makes it difficult to get good wood on the ball. His secondary pitches have improved and a quick ascension through the system may be in his future. He can be a strong number two pitcher on a contending team.

8. Reymond Fuentes – OF

The cousin of Carlos Beltran offers an enticing combination of tools that could make him a mainstay in center field and at the top of the order. He is a plus defender with plus speed that also boasts developing power. Received in the Gonzalez trade, Fuentes could be the wildcard that turns this into a win for San Diego.

9. Anthony Rizzo – 1B

Seen as the most likely to reach his potential in the Gonzalez trade, Rizzo also does not have the ceiling of the other two. He is more of a doubles hitter than true home run threat given Petco's expansive outfield. His patience and pitch selection must improve; if it does, he could be a true power threat in the middle of the lineup. Projections today have him at 20-25 homer power.

10. Jedd Gyorko – 3B

The consensus around the baseball world was Gyorko could hit, and he did not disappoint in his debut. What was questioned was his fielding ability. Gyorko surprised people with agile defense at third base. His bat, however, is his ticket. He has high average/power ability but must also learn to be more selective. With his strength, walks should be a regular outcome rather than a rare site.

11. Logan Forsythe – 2B

Forsythe's season had to be viewed as a disappointment. The second baseman was viewed as a player that had the potential to help the big league club in 2010 but failed to hit the ball with authority while losing some of his patience – a staple of previous seasons. He is more of a doubles hitter that will boast a high average and on-base percentage. The homers will also come as he matures but the focus must continue to be on his opposite field approach.

12. Adys Portillo - RHP

The right-hander has made strides in the past year but still has learning to do. His age and potential parallel each other, as he throws mid-90s and has developing secondary pitches. He still has work to do with his delivery, finding a consistent motion and tempo. When he is quicker to the plate and not so deliberate, his pitches are crisper. He could make a big leap in 2011, especially with a new slider in his repertoire to replace a below average curveball.

13. Edinson Rincon – 3B

The cold weather played havoc with Rincon early in the season, and he never seemed to truly get on track. The patience was still there and the power is evident. He still has one of the cleanest swings in system. Defensively, he simply lacks the fluid movements for a third baseman. He rushes throws and lacks the necessary footwork and consistency. There is no doubt he can hit and a corner outfield position will be in his future.

14. Zach Cates – RHP

One year removed from crouching behind the dish, Cates has a plus fastball and changeup – a combination that isn't often seen, especially in a player that has only been on the mound for a single season. Cates, the highest signed pitcher in the 2010 draft, can be a workhorse given his young arm and solid mechanics. Simply put, he does not have the wear and tear.

15. Rymer Liriano - OF

The outfielder oozes with talent and has the body to be a middle of the lineup power-hitting presence that does damage. Pitch selection continues to hamper the Dominican. Breaking balls outside of the zone are his nemesis. While few can hit fastballs as hard or as consistently, Liriano must improve the selection process. He has every tool, including speed and a cannon arm, but the bat could be the most special of them all.

16. Jason Hagerty - C

A switch-hitting catcher with power that is improving defensively – what's not to like. Hagerty has worked hard to maintain a consistent swing from both sides and showed uncanny patience along the way. He can be too hard on himself at times, but if he keeps it simple, Hagerty is a threat that can hit the gaps frequently and take the ball out of the yard. As mentioned, his defense has improved and will continue to as he gains experience behind the dish. Remember, he was moved to first base in college.

17. Keyvius Sampson - RHP

Injury really clouds Sampson's progress thus far. His shoulder has been a pressing point since shortly after the draft. When healthy, Sampson has electric stuff. He works down in the zone with a moving low-90s fastball and backs it up with a plus curveball. The changeup is also a quality offering, giving him a perfect mix to be a workhorse near the top of a rotation.

18. Donavan Tate - OF

The outfielder was voted the MVP at the Padres Instructional League for his improved play in every facet. Someone that needs experience to reach his considerable projections, the game is beginning to slow down for Tate. He will swing outside of the zone and can look terrible at times. Other times, the natural athleticism takes over and his swing is smooth, as the body stays in perfect alignment. Finding consistency is the key for another potential five-tool talent.

19. Jonathan Galvez – 2B

The infielder has an abundance of tools but lacks the maturity to bring his best on a daily basis. His defense has improved, but there are times when he still rushes. The same can be said for his hitting. He became too aggressive last season and was chasing outside the zone – something that doesn't do his batting eye service. Galvez should be an on-base machine that pounds out doubles. His body language today, however, tells you he is trying to hit homers too often.

20. Juan Oramas - LHP

The left-hander came from leading the Mexican Pacific League in ERA in one of the toughest parks in the circuit to within two outs of a perfect game in the California League as a 20-year-old. He has a plus fastball that can reach 94 mph and steady secondary pitches. Oramas can be a thrower rather than a pitcher but makes adjustments quickly. If someone tells him his changeup is too hard on one pitch it will come in slower on the next two. His curveball is big and needs to be more consistent.

21. Jose DePaula - LHP

Few pitchers have the stuff of DePaula. What he lacks is an overall maturity level. There are times when his demeanor does not portray the gravity of a situation. That can be good and bad. He needs to have some emotion and known when to hit the adrenaline button to get more out of his stuff. DePaula has a plus curveball and low-90s fastball but needs to command the inside of the plate and improve his changeup's consistency.

22. Anthony Bass - RHP

The right-hander is one of the surer bets to make the major leagues. He has four quality pitches, tossing the rock in the low-90s out of a deceptive delivery. Bass also has a plus changeup and can locate his pitches with precision. He also understands pitch sequencing and how to approach hitters better than a year ago. It won't be long before Bass is competing at the highest level.

23. Jerry Sullivan - RHP

Armed with a plus fastball that hits the mid-90s and a slider that can be dirty, Sullivan can be his own worst enemy. There are times when he overthrows and tries to get more out of what is quality stuff. He has a bulldog mentality that wants the ball all the time – great qualities. There are some who question whether he is open to advice, however, and that will hold him back. Being open to advice will go a long way towards his development, especially in his changeup.

24. Nick Schmidt - LHP

The southpaw showed glimpses of his ability this season with the Storm. There were other times that he got frustrated by his stuff – or the lack of precision he is used to. By the end of the year, Schmidt was spent and his stuff suffered. He has three quality pitches, including a plus changeup. As he moves further away from surgery, Schmidt should continue to return to form.

25. Jose Dore - OF

An athletic outfielder with a big-time left-handed bat. Dore has easy power and will only get stronger with age. Blessed with a plus arm from right field, the 18-year-old has to work on punching the ball the other way and hitting the ball where it is pitched. He has a tendency to be pull happy, which can force him into weaker contact. When he squares a ball up, few can crack it as hard as Dore thanks to incredibly strong, quick wrists.

26. John Barbato – RHP

A deadline signing, Barbato was a bit raw but has some dynamic projection. He is a low-90s pitcher that the Padres believe will throw mid-90s with more consistency as he matures. He has flashed a plus 12-to-6 curveball already but was a little nervous during instructs before settling in. With a very loose body and clean mechanics, he will be able to develop good habits in the refinement of his pitches. His changeup needs work and is his primary focus.

27. Vince Belnome – 3B

Another professional hitter with one of the best eye's in the system. Belnome is a doubles machine that can drive the ball the opposite way with authority. There are times when he needs to pull the ball but his approach and swing foundation are very precise. Belnome's biggest question mark is his defense. He isn't fleet of foot and will look slow at times around the bag.

28. Jeremy Hefner - RHP

The right-hander out of Oral Roberts has come into his own as a horse that wins games. The rise in velocity over the last year puts him back to where he was during his collegiate days – low-90s that can touch 94 mph. He has a very good curveball and plus changeup – both pitches that can be located with precision on the outer skirts of the strike zone. Hefner also has a bulldog mentality and impeccable character.

29. Blake Tekotte - OF

The left-handed hitting Tekotte has a bevy of tools at his disposal. Putting it together consistently has been the challenge. With enough power to take a ball over the wall, he can get homer jumpy, putting him out of ryhtym. He has worked hard to cut down the wrap in his swing but needs to strike out less to be an effective leadoff man. Tekotte has the speed and defensive ability but must prove he can put the ball into play with regularity.

30. Dan Robertson – 2B

The best defensive outfielder in the system is migrating to second base. This is actually a win for Robertson. His clean approach and smooth swing give him plus hitting ability – a .300 threat annually that puts the ball in play. Add in his charismatic and infectious winning attitude and there is a lot to like. He may have gotten lost in the outfield because he is not a power hitter and does not have the prototypical speed but is a number two hitter that can move runners, execute a hit-and-run and show aggression.

31. Brad Brach - RHP

Breaking the California League record in saves this past season, there is little room for improvement for the right-hander. He has a low-90s fastball that can reach 96 mph and a terrific splitter that has great bottom. Brach attacks hitters and works the lower half of the zone with few mistake pitches. He also works fast and has outstanding makeup. Many believe he could pitch effectively in the big leagues today.

32. Jorge Reyes - RHP

He may have been a bit overwhelmed at times in the California League after skipping Fort Wayne and came down with injury during the season that stalled his progress. Reyes has a sinking fastball in the low-90s and a plus slider. He is working on the changeup and needs to use it more frequently to throw off the timing of hitters who began to lay off the slider and time the fastball. Reyes' mental state will also bear watching, as this is a time he experienced some failure.

33. Nate Freiman – 1B

Freiman has as much raw power as anyone in the system. He has, at times, sacrificed that power for contact ability. He has a line drive stroke with some length but finds a way to get a quick bat through the zone to lace liners all over the field. He does need to pull the inside pitch more often but can go the opposite way with authority. His glove at first base has improved, particulary at digging throws out of the dirt, but he lacks lateral movement.

34. Jeudy Valdez – 2B

The infielder started to see his confidence level increase this year and was dynamic at times. He has athletic ability and a maturing body that should become a more consistent power threat. A hard worker that wants to get better, Valdez has maturing to do. He will take a bad at-bat into the field or poor defensive showing to the dish. Valdez also will swing outside the zone and must shore up his pitch selection.

35. Everett Williams - OF

The rumors persist about Williams' work ethic. He is seen as someone that has had too much handed to him and doesn't have the humility to improve. He has tons of athletic ability and incredibly fast hands, producing a sound not often heard off the bat. He does have an uppercut in his swing that must be flattened out to allow his bat more time in the hitting zone, thus cutting down on the strikeouts.

36. B.J. Guinn

The shortstop claimed Top Defensive Player honors at the Padres Instructional League and really improved during the course of the year after some initial struggles. Guinn proved to be a player that could put the ball in play with line drives and grounders in order to use his plus speed. Guinn profiles as Petco Park style player with his aggressiveness and ability to put the ball in play.

37. Duanel Jones – 3B

A powerful specimen that missed time due to suspension, Jones profiles as a plus power hitting monster that could also hit for average. He was fed a steady diet of breaking balls in 2010 and should benefit from that. The time off also affected his timing, as the club expects big things from him this year and beyond.

38. Rico Noel - OF

The speedster has made the transition to switch-hitting in instructs, getting reps from the left side. Noel has to keep the ball out of the air more consistently to take advantage of his legs – a plus tool. He struggled at times with hitting too many fly balls during his first pro season. Noel is a plus defender that gets excellent reads with quick feet. He also has plus makeup – a tool that should take him far.

39. Matt Clark – 1B

A true power threat every time he enters the box, Clark impressed with his showing in San Antonio. He is an aggressive hitter that can pound the ball out of any park, including Petco. He does, however, need to cut down on the strikeouts. The lengthy swing suggests the average will never be that high but the power numbers and his ability to drive in runs will be a constant. Clark is a falldown defender at first that lacks range.

40. Cedric Hunter - OF

Hunter worked on an interesting weakness this past year with some success. His impeccable hand-eye coordination led to swinging at balls outside of the zone and making weak contact. He was able to parlay that into more walks this year while narrowing down his strike zone. His contact ability is off the charts, but the outfielder must continue to hone his zone to avoid the weak outs. His work in the outfield this past year was impressive, earning him rave reviews.

41. Eugenio Reyes - RHP

The right-handed fireballer can reach 98 mph with his fastball and has shown a plus curveball at times that can be thrown for a first-pitch strike. Location and command have been his biggest obstacles thus far, and there are times when his fastball velocity comes in mid-80s, as he tries to paint the corners. If there is someone in the system that profiles as a future closer, Reyes could be that guy. If he develops a third pitch, the changeup, Reyes could stay in the rotation.

42. Corey Adamson

Maturity hit quick for the talented outfielder, as he added significant muscle to his frame and learned how to use it in 2010. Adamson, who turns 19 in February, made his biggest strides by using the whole field. Once pull heavy, Adamson learned how to go with a pitch to maximize his ability to reach base. He exceeded all expectations last season and will look to build on it in the coming campaign. Adamson still needs to shore up the strike zone judgment but could be a force in years to come with power and speed.

43. James Needy - RHP

A sinking low-90s two-seamer is coupled with great makeup. Needy has battled through some knee injuries that have slowed his development. He is a mature young man that understands the game and pitch sequencing. Needy needs a better finish on his pitches, as he will cut his arm short, throwing off his command. He was taught a new changeup grip but needs to work on improving that pitch so he can go to his strikeout slider.

44. Craig Italiano

On and off the 40-man roster, Italiano suffered an injury last year and wasn't the same pitcher when he returned. His long limbs and near sidearm action give right-handed hitters fits, as the ball comes out from behind them with great downward action. He throws mid-90s and has a sharp slider. After injury, he lacked command and hit too much of the plate when he was in the zone. Getting back to where he was will be key.

45. Luis Martinez - C

A hard nosed player that puts defense first, Martinez has proven he is capable of putting the ball in play over the last two years. He will cheat, at times, to get his bat head out on fastballs but has good balance to make adjustments. Built like a brick wall, Martinez can shut down a running game with his arm and calls quality games.

46. Alvaro Aristy - SS

A defensive whiz that is very fluid in the field with a plus arm, Aristy came off suspension and struggled. He has terrific hand-eye coordination and will put the ball in play. What he lacks is strength – his body must mature to turn weak hits or grounders into sharper contact. He can surprise with the occasional homer, but his asset will be hitting line drives. A full year of experience should provide more insight.

47. Evan Scribner - RHP

One of the few relievers with a true plus curveball, Scribner has a powerful two-pitch repertoire. His 12-to-6 hammer is dirty in the late innings, and he has pinpoint control of a low-90s fastball that has good sink. Scribner also has significant deception in his delivery. Coupled with strong command, hitters have a tough time picking up the ball and are often too late when they realize it will be a strike. He could play a role in the big leagues this season after being added to the 40-man roster.

48. Chris Bisson

An advanced feel for the game, similar to the departed Cole Figueroa, gives Bisson a solid base. He worked on keeping the ball on the ground, as the infielder had a penchant for elevating the rock. A student of the game, Bisson is always looking to improve and learned to stay back on the ball better in his freshman season. He is not afraid to work the count but was too aggressive at times last year.

49. Matt Branham - RHP

An athletic frame with control, Branham came in firing strikes with a pair of pitches – a low-90s heater and solid breaking ball both thrown in the lower half of the zone. He will also use his changeup to keep hitters off-balance and really began to understand the importance of pitch sequencing. Branham can be a workhorse on the mound with the ability to log a bunch of innings while keeping his team in the game.

50. Luis Domoromo - OF

One of the big concerns with Domoromo thus far is his lack of pop – a trait many thought would show by now. He also fell into some bad habits in terms of his pitch selection, going after pitches he would have shied away from the previous season. The left-handed hitter has matured into his body more but could use a touch of elevation in his swing to take advantage of his power potential.

51. Wes Cunningham – 1B

A solid all-around hitter with strong plate discipline and gap power, Cunningham's biggest asset is his astute knowledge of the game. He understands situations and executes all the little things that make him a complete player. Given his position, Cunningham could stand to sacrifice on-base for more power. If he can take a few more chances and get his swing mechanics better aligned, as he has a tendency to hook the ball, we could see the homer totals rise.

52. Bryan Oland - RHP

The right-hander tossed a lwo-to-mid-90s fastball with great sinking action, often inducing ground outs or missing contact altogether. Oland also has a dirty splitter that gets batters swinging over the top of the pitch, as he has significant late drop. He saw his velocity move around during the year and eventually landed on the disabled list. He has a bright future, though, as a late inning pitcher.

53. Tayron Guerrero - RHP

At 6-foot-7, Guerrero is an imposing figure on the mound. He gets terrific downhill action to change the hitter's eye level and is the top pitching prospect that spent the 2010 season in the DSL. Guerroro has a chance to have three plus pitches, with a mid-90s fastball that was seen after a mechanical tweak. He needs to work on his secondary pitches but came a long way in the second half of 2011.

54. Yoan Alcantara - OF

A multi-tooled athlete with a maturing body, Alcantara already possesses wiry strong power that could develop into significant raw power as he continues to add muscle to his frame. He has solid plate discipline, above average speed and is a stout defender. Alcantara could be a a big riser in the coming season with another solid campaign.

55. Adam Schrader - RHP

The right-hander has plus command of three pitches and proved to be a workhorse that always wanted the ball. Schrader did not allow a run during the Padres fall Instructional League. He has a live arm with a low-90s fastball that has late darting action. Schrader also works with a cutter and a changeup. He has claimed the inside portion of the plate as his own and routinely jams hitters or induces weak contact on the ground. Add in his plus makeup – he could move quickly.

56. Fabel Filpo - OF

While the average may not say much, Filpo was considered to be the highest ceiling batter for the DSL Padres in 2010. The outfielder has a level swing with easy power from both sides of the plate and few question his ability to hit for both average and power. He is learning how to use the entire field and when to turn up the aggressiveness. That will come with experience and should improve his walk totals as he continues to grow into the game.

57. Pedro Martinez - LHP

The big left-hander has a low-90s fasbtall and threw both a curveball and slider before dropping the slider to focus on the curveball. The hook has good tilt to it and has a chance to be a plus pitch. His changeup needs improvement, as he will tip the pitch by slowing his arm action while still throwing it too hard. There is reason to believe he can add velocity to his fastball, given his frame, but that will come with clean mechanics – a factor that will also improve his location.

58. Juan Herrera - RHP

Herrera has one of the better raw arms in the system but lacks maturity. There have been questions about his desire to improve, as his command has continually suffered since entering the system. Herrera tends to overthrow when he is in the game, leading to faulty mechanics. With a mid-90s fastball and good movement on his secondary pitches, Herrera needs to simplify the game and work on maintaining the same delivery on each pitch.

59. Yair Lopez - OF

Lopez has all the tools to be successful, especially with the stick. He has raw power that should continue to improve as he adds weight to his frame. Lopez has not adjusted well to the off-speed stuff and expands his zone unnecessarily. It led to increased strikeout and decreased walks this season. He also needs to improve defensively, as he lacks fluid movements to attack balls. With his hitting tools, however, there is a lot of potential here.

60. Miles Mikolas - RHP

The right-hander came leaps and bounds from year one to year two, showcasing a plus 12-to-6 curveball and low-90s fastball with movement. There were times when he relied too much on the curveball and was hurt. Mikolas has a future as a middle innings reliever, as long as he continues to utilize his changeup – an average pitch that he has a feel for but must continue to improve.

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Future Rangers Top Stories

\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 forum.

\r\n\r\nNo player that missed most, if not all, of 2010 or is projected to miss all of 2011 was eligible to be ranked. Also, Ernesto Frieri was left off the list because he has locked up a position with the Padres and won't retain prospect status for long. A future story will come out detailing where those would have ranked if healthy and had an average year.

\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 easier to predict who will reach the major leagues. It is much 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? How have they regressed?

\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, 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. It would not be fair to you or them if we took the liberty of ranking them without laying our eyes on their abilities.

\r\n\r\nWithout further ado:

\r\n\r\n1. Casey Kelly - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe former two-way player acquired in the Adrian Gonzalez trade has top of the rotation potential. He offers a mid-90s fastball with a plus changeup and developing breaking pitch. A year into his role as a full time pitcher after continuing to play on both sides of the field, Kelly could develop quickly with the focus turned to the mound. His numbers were elevated last year, as he was challenged in Double-A. Kelly should be better for it moving forward.

\r\n\r\n2. Simon Castro - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe tall right-hander saw his innings curtailed this season and does have some mechanical flaws, but there is no debating the wicked effectiveness of his pitches. He has the best pure stuff in the system with a darting slider and mid-90s fastball with late life. His changeup has also progressed but needs a little more tweaking to become a consistently effective third pitch. He should reach San Diego late in 2011.

\r\n\r\n3. Jaff Decker - OF

\r\n\r\nA slow start after missing all spring and a revamped swing met him, but the outfielder overcame all obstacles by midseason. He has the best pure bat around, a power hitter that understands the strike zone and where his hitting zone lies. A broken hand came at a time when he was mashing the ball to all parts of the field. People have questioned Decker's future. The fact is this kid can hit at the major league level today.

\r\n\r\n4. Drew Cumberland - SS

\r\n\r\nA healthy Cumberland is the most dynamic player in the Padres system. He runs extremely well, has an uncanny ability to put the bat to ball with enough strength to drive it into the gaps. Cumberland's health, however, has curtailed his development. He has big league ability with four plus tools but will never reach that potential if he cannot stay on the field.

\r\n\r\n5. Cory Luebke - LHP

\r\n\r\nThe left-hander has continued to improve since entering the system. With a low-90s fastball that he can spot to the corners and solid secondary pitches, Luebke is one of the surer bets to reach his potential. That is why he was called up to San Diego in September and is a frontrunner for a spot in the rotation this season.

\r\n\r\n6. James Darnell – 3B

\r\n\r\nThe third baseman had a season that was largely forgettable. It wasn't until the end of the year that he showed what kind of hitter he can be. Darnell was too aggressive at times and created bad habits as a result, lunging at pitches that he would normally shy from. He has raw power and pure athleticism that bodes well for his future. Given his unrelenting work ethic, it won't be long before Darnell is back to being the player he can be.

\r\n\r\n7. Matt Lollis - RHP

\r\n\r\nBig Country is an overpowering presence on the hill. His ability to stay on top of his pitches and thrown downhill to hitters changes their eye level and makes it difficult to get good wood on the ball. His secondary pitches have improved and a quick ascension through the system may be in his future. He can be a strong number two pitcher on a contending team.

\r\n\r\n8. Reymond Fuentes – OF

\r\n\r\nThe cousin of Carlos Beltran offers an enticing combination of tools that could make him a mainstay in center field and at the top of the order. He is a plus defender with plus speed that also boasts developing power. Received in the Gonzalez trade, Fuentes could be the wildcard that turns this into a win for San Diego.

\r\n\r\n9. Anthony Rizzo – 1B

\r\n\r\nSeen as the most likely to reach his potential in the Gonzalez trade, Rizzo also does not have the ceiling of the other two. He is more of a doubles hitter than true home run threat given Petco's expansive outfield. His patience and pitch selection must improve; if it does, he could be a true power threat in the middle of the lineup. Projections today have him at 20-25 homer power.

\r\n\r\n10. Jedd Gyorko – 3B

\r\n\r\nThe consensus around the baseball world was Gyorko could hit, and he did not disappoint in his debut. What was questioned was his fielding ability. Gyorko surprised people with agile defense at third base. His bat, however, is his ticket. He has high average/power ability but must also learn to be more selective. With his strength, walks should be a regular outcome rather than a rare site.

\r\n\r\n11. Logan Forsythe – 2B

\r\n\r\nForsythe's season had to be viewed as a disappointment. The second baseman was viewed as a player that had the potential to help the big league club in 2010 but failed to hit the ball with authority while losing some of his patience – a staple of previous seasons. He is more of a doubles hitter that will boast a high average and on-base percentage. The homers will also come as he matures but the focus must continue to be on his opposite field approach.

\r\n\r\n12. Adys Portillo - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe right-hander has made strides in the past year but still has learning to do. His age and potential parallel each other, as he throws mid-90s and has developing secondary pitches. He still has work to do with his delivery, finding a consistent motion and tempo. When he is quicker to the plate and not so deliberate, his pitches are crisper. He could make a big leap in 2011, especially with a new slider in his repertoire to replace a below average curveball.

\r\n\r\n13. Edinson Rincon – 3B

\r\n\r\nThe cold weather played havoc with Rincon early in the season, and he never seemed to truly get on track. The patience was still there and the power is evident. He still has one of the cleanest swings in system. Defensively, he simply lacks the fluid movements for a third baseman. He rushes throws and lacks the necessary footwork and consistency. There is no doubt he can hit and a corner outfield position will be in his future.

\r\n\r\n14. Zach Cates – RHP

\r\n\r\nOne year removed from crouching behind the dish, Cates has a plus fastball and changeup – a combination that isn't often seen, especially in a player that has only been on the mound for a single season. Cates, the highest signed pitcher in the 2010 draft, can be a workhorse given his young arm and solid mechanics. Simply put, he does not have the wear and tear.

\r\n\r\n15. Rymer Liriano - OF

\r\n\r\nThe outfielder oozes with talent and has the body to be a middle of the lineup power-hitting presence that does damage. Pitch selection continues to hamper the Dominican. Breaking balls outside of the zone are his nemesis. While few can hit fastballs as hard or as consistently, Liriano must improve the selection process. He has every tool, including speed and a cannon arm, but the bat could be the most special of them all.

\r\n\r\n16. Jason Hagerty - C

\r\n\r\nA switch-hitting catcher with power that is improving defensively – what's not to like. Hagerty has worked hard to maintain a consistent swing from both sides and showed uncanny patience along the way. He can be too hard on himself at times, but if he keeps it simple, Hagerty is a threat that can hit the gaps frequently and take the ball out of the yard. As mentioned, his defense has improved and will continue to as he gains experience behind the dish. Remember, he was moved to first base in college.

\r\n\r\n17. Keyvius Sampson - RHP

\r\n\r\nInjury really clouds Sampson's progress thus far. His shoulder has been a pressing point since shortly after the draft. When healthy, Sampson has electric stuff. He works down in the zone with a moving low-90s fastball and backs it up with a plus curveball. The changeup is also a quality offering, giving him a perfect mix to be a workhorse near the top of a rotation.

\r\n\r\n18. Donavan Tate - OF

\r\n\r\nThe outfielder was voted the MVP at the Padres Instructional League for his improved play in every facet. Someone that needs experience to reach his considerable projections, the game is beginning to slow down for Tate. He will swing outside of the zone and can look terrible at times. Other times, the natural athleticism takes over and his swing is smooth, as the body stays in perfect alignment. Finding consistency is the key for another potential five-tool talent.

\r\n\r\n19. Jonathan Galvez – 2B

\r\n\r\nThe infielder has an abundance of tools but lacks the maturity to bring his best on a daily basis. His defense has improved, but there are times when he still rushes. The same can be said for his hitting. He became too aggressive last season and was chasing outside the zone – something that doesn't do his batting eye service. Galvez should be an on-base machine that pounds out doubles. His body language today, however, tells you he is trying to hit homers too often.

\r\n\r\n20. Juan Oramas - LHP

\r\n\r\nThe left-hander came from leading the Mexican Pacific League in ERA in one of the toughest parks in the circuit to within two outs of a perfect game in the California League as a 20-year-old. He has a plus fastball that can reach 94 mph and steady secondary pitches. Oramas can be a thrower rather than a pitcher but makes adjustments quickly. If someone tells him his changeup is too hard on one pitch it will come in slower on the next two. His curveball is big and needs to be more consistent.

\r\n\r\n21. Jose DePaula - LHP

\r\n\r\nFew pitchers have the stuff of DePaula. What he lacks is an overall maturity level. There are times when his demeanor does not portray the gravity of a situation. That can be good and bad. He needs to have some emotion and known when to hit the adrenaline button to get more out of his stuff. DePaula has a plus curveball and low-90s fastball but needs to command the inside of the plate and improve his changeup's consistency.

\r\n\r\n22. Anthony Bass - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe right-hander is one of the surer bets to make the major leagues. He has four quality pitches, tossing the rock in the low-90s out of a deceptive delivery. Bass also has a plus changeup and can locate his pitches with precision. He also understands pitch sequencing and how to approach hitters better than a year ago. It won't be long before Bass is competing at the highest level.

\r\n\r\n23. Jerry Sullivan - RHP

\r\n\r\nArmed with a plus fastball that hits the mid-90s and a slider that can be dirty, Sullivan can be his own worst enemy. There are times when he overthrows and tries to get more out of what is quality stuff. He has a bulldog mentality that wants the ball all the time – great qualities. There are some who question whether he is open to advice, however, and that will hold him back. Being open to advice will go a long way towards his development, especially in his changeup.

\r\n\r\n24. Nick Schmidt - LHP

\r\n\r\nThe southpaw showed glimpses of his ability this season with the Storm. There were other times that he got frustrated by his stuff – or the lack of precision he is used to. By the end of the year, Schmidt was spent and his stuff suffered. He has three quality pitches, including a plus changeup. As he moves further away from surgery, Schmidt should continue to return to form.

\r\n\r\n25. Jose Dore - OF

\r\n\r\nAn athletic outfielder with a big-time left-handed bat. Dore has easy power and will only get stronger with age. Blessed with a plus arm from right field, the 18-year-old has to work on punching the ball the other way and hitting the ball where it is pitched. He has a tendency to be pull happy, which can force him into weaker contact. When he squares a ball up, few can crack it as hard as Dore thanks to incredibly strong, quick wrists.

\r\n\r\n26. John Barbato – RHP

\r\n\r\nA deadline signing, Barbato was a bit raw but has some dynamic projection. He is a low-90s pitcher that the Padres believe will throw mid-90s with more consistency as he matures. He has flashed a plus 12-to-6 curveball already but was a little nervous during instructs before settling in. With a very loose body and clean mechanics, he will be able to develop good habits in the refinement of his pitches. His changeup needs work and is his primary focus.

\r\n\r\n27. Vince Belnome – 3B

\r\n\r\nAnother professional hitter with one of the best eye's in the system. Belnome is a doubles machine that can drive the ball the opposite way with authority. There are times when he needs to pull the ball but his approach and swing foundation are very precise. Belnome's biggest question mark is his defense. He isn't fleet of foot and will look slow at times around the bag.

\r\n\r\n28. Jeremy Hefner - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe right-hander out of Oral Roberts has come into his own as a horse that wins games. The rise in velocity over the last year puts him back to where he was during his collegiate days – low-90s that can touch 94 mph. He has a very good curveball and plus changeup – both pitches that can be located with precision on the outer skirts of the strike zone. Hefner also has a bulldog mentality and impeccable character.

\r\n\r\n29. Blake Tekotte - OF

\r\n\r\nThe left-handed hitting Tekotte has a bevy of tools at his disposal. Putting it together consistently has been the challenge. With enough power to take a ball over the wall, he can get homer jumpy, putting him out of ryhtym. He has worked hard to cut down the wrap in his swing but needs to strike out less to be an effective leadoff man. Tekotte has the speed and defensive ability but must prove he can put the ball into play with regularity.

\r\n\r\n30. Dan Robertson – 2B

\r\n\r\nThe best defensive outfielder in the system is migrating to second base. This is actually a win for Robertson. His clean approach and smooth swing give him plus hitting ability – a .300 threat annually that puts the ball in play. Add in his charismatic and infectious winning attitude and there is a lot to like. He may have gotten lost in the outfield because he is not a power hitter and does not have the prototypical speed but is a number two hitter that can move runners, execute a hit-and-run and show aggression.

\r\n\r\n31. Brad Brach - RHP

\r\n\r\nBreaking the California League record in saves this past season, there is little room for improvement for the right-hander. He has a low-90s fastball that can reach 96 mph and a terrific splitter that has great bottom. Brach attacks hitters and works the lower half of the zone with few mistake pitches. He also works fast and has outstanding makeup. Many believe he could pitch effectively in the big leagues today.

\r\n\r\n32. Jorge Reyes - RHP

\r\n\r\nHe may have been a bit overwhelmed at times in the California League after skipping Fort Wayne and came down with injury during the season that stalled his progress. Reyes has a sinking fastball in the low-90s and a plus slider. He is working on the changeup and needs to use it more frequently to throw off the timing of hitters who began to lay off the slider and time the fastball. Reyes' mental state will also bear watching, as this is a time he experienced some failure.

\r\n\r\n33. Nate Freiman – 1B

\r\n\r\nFreiman has as much raw power as anyone in the system. He has, at times, sacrificed that power for contact ability. He has a line drive stroke with some length but finds a way to get a quick bat through the zone to lace liners all over the field. He does need to pull the inside pitch more often but can go the opposite way with authority. His glove at first base has improved, particulary at digging throws out of the dirt, but he lacks lateral movement.

\r\n\r\n34. Jeudy Valdez – 2B

\r\n\r\nThe infielder started to see his confidence level increase this year and was dynamic at times. He has athletic ability and a maturing body that should become a more consistent power threat. A hard worker that wants to get better, Valdez has maturing to do. He will take a bad at-bat into the field or poor defensive showing to the dish. Valdez also will swing outside the zone and must shore up his pitch selection.

\r\n\r\n35. Everett Williams - OF

\r\n\r\nThe rumors persist about Williams' work ethic. He is seen as someone that has had too much handed to him and doesn't have the humility to improve. He has tons of athletic ability and incredibly fast hands, producing a sound not often heard off the bat. He does have an uppercut in his swing that must be flattened out to allow his bat more time in the hitting zone, thus cutting down on the strikeouts.

\r\n\r\n36. B.J. Guinn

\r\n\r\nThe shortstop claimed Top Defensive Player honors at the Padres Instructional League and really improved during the course of the year after some initial struggles. Guinn proved to be a player that could put the ball in play with line drives and grounders in order to use his plus speed. Guinn profiles as Petco Park style player with his aggressiveness and ability to put the ball in play.

\r\n\r\n37. Duanel Jones – 3B

\r\n\r\nA powerful specimen that missed time due to suspension, Jones profiles as a plus power hitting monster that could also hit for average. He was fed a steady diet of breaking balls in 2010 and should benefit from that. The time off also affected his timing, as the club expects big things from him this year and beyond.

\r\n\r\n38. Rico Noel - OF

\r\n\r\nThe speedster has made the transition to switch-hitting in instructs, getting reps from the left side. Noel has to keep the ball out of the air more consistently to take advantage of his legs – a plus tool. He struggled at times with hitting too many fly balls during his first pro season. Noel is a plus defender that gets excellent reads with quick feet. He also has plus makeup – a tool that should take him far.

\r\n\r\n39. Matt Clark – 1B

\r\n\r\nA true power threat every time he enters the box, Clark impressed with his showing in San Antonio. He is an aggressive hitter that can pound the ball out of any park, including Petco. He does, however, need to cut down on the strikeouts. The lengthy swing suggests the average will never be that high but the power numbers and his ability to drive in runs will be a constant. Clark is a falldown defender at first that lacks range.

\r\n\r\n40. Cedric Hunter - OF

\r\n\r\nHunter worked on an interesting weakness this past year with some success. His impeccable hand-eye coordination led to swinging at balls outside of the zone and making weak contact. He was able to parlay that into more walks this year while narrowing down his strike zone. His contact ability is off the charts, but the outfielder must continue to hone his zone to avoid the weak outs. His work in the outfield this past year was impressive, earning him rave reviews.

\r\n\r\n41. Eugenio Reyes - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe right-handed fireballer can reach 98 mph with his fastball and has shown a plus curveball at times that can be thrown for a first-pitch strike. Location and command have been his biggest obstacles thus far, and there are times when his fastball velocity comes in mid-80s, as he tries to paint the corners. If there is someone in the system that profiles as a future closer, Reyes could be that guy. If he develops a third pitch, the changeup, Reyes could stay in the rotation.

\r\n\r\n42. Corey Adamson

\r\n\r\nMaturity hit quick for the talented outfielder, as he added significant muscle to his frame and learned how to use it in 2010. Adamson, who turns 19 in February, made his biggest strides by using the whole field. Once pull heavy, Adamson learned how to go with a pitch to maximize his ability to reach base. He exceeded all expectations last season and will look to build on it in the coming campaign. Adamson still needs to shore up the strike zone judgment but could be a force in years to come with power and speed.

\r\n\r\n43. James Needy - RHP

\r\n\r\nA sinking low-90s two-seamer is coupled with great makeup. Needy has battled through some knee injuries that have slowed his development. He is a mature young man that understands the game and pitch sequencing. Needy needs a better finish on his pitches, as he will cut his arm short, throwing off his command. He was taught a new changeup grip but needs to work on improving that pitch so he can go to his strikeout slider.

\r\n\r\n44. Craig Italiano

\r\n\r\nOn and off the 40-man roster, Italiano suffered an injury last year and wasn't the same pitcher when he returned. His long limbs and near sidearm action give right-handed hitters fits, as the ball comes out from behind them with great downward action. He throws mid-90s and has a sharp slider. After injury, he lacked command and hit too much of the plate when he was in the zone. Getting back to where he was will be key.

\r\n\r\n45. Luis Martinez - C

\r\n\r\nA hard nosed player that puts defense first, Martinez has proven he is capable of putting the ball in play over the last two years. He will cheat, at times, to get his bat head out on fastballs but has good balance to make adjustments. Built like a brick wall, Martinez can shut down a running game with his arm and calls quality games.

\r\n\r\n46. Alvaro Aristy - SS

\r\n\r\nA defensive whiz that is very fluid in the field with a plus arm, Aristy came off suspension and struggled. He has terrific hand-eye coordination and will put the ball in play. What he lacks is strength – his body must mature to turn weak hits or grounders into sharper contact. He can surprise with the occasional homer, but his asset will be hitting line drives. A full year of experience should provide more insight.

\r\n\r\n47. Evan Scribner - RHP

\r\n\r\nOne of the few relievers with a true plus curveball, Scribner has a powerful two-pitch repertoire. His 12-to-6 hammer is dirty in the late innings, and he has pinpoint control of a low-90s fastball that has good sink. Scribner also has significant deception in his delivery. Coupled with strong command, hitters have a tough time picking up the ball and are often too late when they realize it will be a strike. He could play a role in the big leagues this season after being added to the 40-man roster.

\r\n\r\n48. Chris Bisson

\r\n\r\nAn advanced feel for the game, similar to the departed Cole Figueroa, gives Bisson a solid base. He worked on keeping the ball on the ground, as the infielder had a penchant for elevating the rock. A student of the game, Bisson is always looking to improve and learned to stay back on the ball better in his freshman season. He is not afraid to work the count but was too aggressive at times last year.

\r\n\r\n49. Matt Branham - RHP

\r\n\r\nAn athletic frame with control, Branham came in firing strikes with a pair of pitches – a low-90s heater and solid breaking ball both thrown in the lower half of the zone. He will also use his changeup to keep hitters off-balance and really began to understand the importance of pitch sequencing. Branham can be a workhorse on the mound with the ability to log a bunch of innings while keeping his team in the game.

\r\n\r\n50. Luis Domoromo - OF

\r\n\r\nOne of the big concerns with Domoromo thus far is his lack of pop – a trait many thought would show by now. He also fell into some bad habits in terms of his pitch selection, going after pitches he would have shied away from the previous season. The left-handed hitter has matured into his body more but could use a touch of elevation in his swing to take advantage of his power potential.

\r\n\r\n51. Wes Cunningham – 1B

\r\n\r\nA solid all-around hitter with strong plate discipline and gap power, Cunningham's biggest asset is his astute knowledge of the game. He understands situations and executes all the little things that make him a complete player. Given his position, Cunningham could stand to sacrifice on-base for more power. If he can take a few more chances and get his swing mechanics better aligned, as he has a tendency to hook the ball, we could see the homer totals rise.

\r\n\r\n52. Bryan Oland - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe right-hander tossed a lwo-to-mid-90s fastball with great sinking action, often inducing ground outs or missing contact altogether. Oland also has a dirty splitter that gets batters swinging over the top of the pitch, as he has significant late drop. He saw his velocity move around during the year and eventually landed on the disabled list. He has a bright future, though, as a late inning pitcher.

\r\n\r\n53. Tayron Guerrero - RHP

\r\n\r\nAt 6-foot-7, Guerrero is an imposing figure on the mound. He gets terrific downhill action to change the hitter's eye level and is the top pitching prospect that spent the 2010 season in the DSL. Guerroro has a chance to have three plus pitches, with a mid-90s fastball that was seen after a mechanical tweak. He needs to work on his secondary pitches but came a long way in the second half of 2011.

\r\n\r\n54. Yoan Alcantara - OF

\r\n\r\nA multi-tooled athlete with a maturing body, Alcantara already possesses wiry strong power that could develop into significant raw power as he continues to add muscle to his frame. He has solid plate discipline, above average speed and is a stout defender. Alcantara could be a a big riser in the coming season with another solid campaign.

\r\n\r\n55. Adam Schrader - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe right-hander has plus command of three pitches and proved to be a workhorse that always wanted the ball. Schrader did not allow a run during the Padres fall Instructional League. He has a live arm with a low-90s fastball that has late darting action. Schrader also works with a cutter and a changeup. He has claimed the inside portion of the plate as his own and routinely jams hitters or induces weak contact on the ground. Add in his plus makeup – he could move quickly.

\r\n\r\n56. Fabel Filpo - OF

\r\n\r\nWhile the average may not say much, Filpo was considered to be the highest ceiling batter for the DSL Padres in 2010. The outfielder has a level swing with easy power from both sides of the plate and few question his ability to hit for both average and power. He is learning how to use the entire field and when to turn up the aggressiveness. That will come with experience and should improve his walk totals as he continues to grow into the game.

\r\n\r\n57. Pedro Martinez - LHP

\r\n\r\nThe big left-hander has a low-90s fasbtall and threw both a curveball and slider before dropping the slider to focus on the curveball. The hook has good tilt to it and has a chance to be a plus pitch. His changeup needs improvement, as he will tip the pitch by slowing his arm action while still throwing it too hard. There is reason to believe he can add velocity to his fastball, given his frame, but that will come with clean mechanics – a factor that will also improve his location.

\r\n\r\n58. Juan Herrera - RHP

\r\n\r\nHerrera has one of the better raw arms in the system but lacks maturity. There have been questions about his desire to improve, as his command has continually suffered since entering the system. Herrera tends to overthrow when he is in the game, leading to faulty mechanics. With a mid-90s fastball and good movement on his secondary pitches, Herrera needs to simplify the game and work on maintaining the same delivery on each pitch.

\r\n\r\n59. Yair Lopez - OF

\r\n\r\nLopez has all the tools to be successful, especially with the stick. He has raw power that should continue to improve as he adds weight to his frame. Lopez has not adjusted well to the off-speed stuff and expands his zone unnecessarily. It led to increased strikeout and decreased walks this season. He also needs to improve defensively, as he lacks fluid movements to attack balls. With his hitting tools, however, there is a lot of potential here.

\r\n\r\n60. Miles Mikolas - RHP

\r\n\r\nThe right-hander came leaps and bounds from year one to year two, showcasing a plus 12-to-6 curveball and low-90s fastball with movement. There were times when he relied too much on the curveball and was hurt. Mikolas has a future as a middle innings reliever, as long as he continues to utilize his changeup – an average pitch that he has a feel for but must continue to improve.

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