30 Teams in 30 Days: San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects


1. Donovan Tate, OF – Tate was a much hyped High Schooler coming into last years draft; the result was the highest bonus signed by a HSer ($6.15MM). Tate was drafted with 3 plus tools (power, speed, arm); some say he could be a 30/30 player right off the bat. The problem is his approach to hitting; he’s got a long swing that makes it hard to catch up to fast balls. He hasn’t seen a professional pitch yet, but there should be little to worry about here.

2. Jaff Decker, OF – Decker’s strong season has caught a lot of attention, as has his body. He draws comparisons to Matt Stairs and John Kruk for body and potential. He’s got a lot of power, he’s patient, but he also strikes out a quarter of the time. We’ll see how he progresses, since he’s only 19. If he can keep from getting too big, he’ll have a nice career.

3. Simon Castro, P – Castro had a great season in Lo-A ball this past year; he put up great strike out numbers (10.07 K/9) and walk numbers (2.37 BB/9). He’s got a big frame (6’5″ 200 lbs) and there are concerns that he’ll get too big. There are also concerns that he has a low groundball rate, which will only make a difference if he pitches away from San Diego.

4. James Darnell, 3B – Darnell split time between Lo-A and Hi-A and improved with the promotion. He won’t be a guy that has a high average, but his power will be his calling card. He’s also very patient and doesn’t strike out much. He’s very athletic, so he could move to second base if needed to.

5. Aaron Poreda, P – This lefty has come back to earth after being the key player in the Jake Peavy deal with the White Sox. He’s got a good, mid-90s fastball, but does struggle with location of it occasionally. This had led him to taking a little off the pitch to control it better. He doesn’t have secondary pitches, which means he could move to the bullpen. If that happens, he’s got the chance to be a closer if he can find 1 pitch to complement the fastball.

6. Wynn Pelzer, P – Pelzer had good season that saw him post respectable numbers. He gets a lot of groundballs and keeps his home run numbers down, which will be good on the road if he pitches for the Padres. He’s working on a change-up to be his third pitch, which is promising since he’s got pretty good control. The main concern is the struggles against lefties, which could reduce him to a bullpen arm.

7. Cesar Carrillo, P – Carrillo was once a top prospect in the system, but injuries have really derailed his career. He was able to stay healthy in 2009 and saw a little time with the major league club. He has a high-90s fastball, a low-90s sinking fastball, a change-up, and a curve. He could see some major league time this year as well, but the Padres are hoping for better results.

8. Logan Forsythe, 3B – Forsythe split 2009 between Hi-A and Double A; he started great at the lower level, and then struggled with the promotion. He saw his power drop and his strikeouts go up with the move, which is the most worrisome part. He’ll hit for high average and can take a walk. He could also become a platoon player since he hit lefties better than righties. His glove is solid enough to handle the position.

9. Kellen Kulbacki, OF – Kulbacki draws a lot of comparisons to former-Padre Brian Giles. He has a compact lefty swing that generates some power. He’s projected to have 20-25 homers and hits to all parts of the field. He’s not very speed and will probably be a left fielder in the long run. The main question is whether he can stay healthy after missing pretty much all of last year.

10. Adys Portillo, P – This 18 year old projects to be a front of the rotation starter, even with poor numbers in his debut at Rookie ball. He’s got a fast ball that currently tops out a 94, but the Padres expect that he’ll get a few extra MPHs as he matures. His struggles were tied to his lack of a secondary pitch. He has a lot of time to develop and could jump up with a strong season.

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