Fort Fragments: Blanks, Venable, Ready, Latos, Peavy, Pierzynski

Padres’ youth movement hits Triple-A Portland hard: Several former Fort Wayne players; including Kyle Blanks, Will Venable, Mat Latos and Greg Burke have seen big league action this year. It’s also spelt a drain on talent for Triple-A Portland. With the likelihood of others (such as Triple-A All-Star Home Run Derby winner, Chad Huffman) trickling onto the Padres’ roster in the coming weeks, the chances of Portland improving upon their league worst win-loss record doesn’t look good.

Speaking of Kyle Blanks, he’s starting to earn more widespread attention:

Speaking of Will Venable, the former Wizards outfielder has been fortunate enough to play under close tutilage of his father, Max Venable, a former big leaguer who used to be the hitting coach in Fort Wayne. But apparently it was his mother’s advice that kept her son in baseball rather than the pursuit of hooop dreams. See Also: Venable Has Been a Quick Study.

Former Wizards skipper, Randy Ready has been promoted to the Padre’s hitting coach. Probably a move that also is intended to help keep him in the organization rather than jumping ship to be a big league manager when teams start interviewing to fill soon-to-be vacancies.

Mat Latos is also drawing a lot of acclaim since rising from Fort Wayne to the big leauges earlier this season. He netted his first MLB win in his second start. He allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings in a 6-2 Padres’ win over the Washington Nationals. He went seven innings in his next start before allowing former Wizards, Michael Ekstrom and Burke to finish his win in a game that also saw a Blanks homer.

While it’s early to call Latos the next San Diego ace of the staff, it’s probably refreshing news following the trade of the former incumbant, Jake Peavy, to the White Sox. In fact, Friday night, Latos gave up seven runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, leading to a 9-2 loss to the Cardinals. The 21-year-old had won his last four starts and was the first Padres pitcher in history to win four of his first five career starts.

More Latos:

On another Jake Peavy note, the former Wizard and Padre has begun his rehab work with the White Sox. He struck out five in his first assignment.

TinCaps right hander, Simon Castro took the seventh Midwest League honor earlier in the month when he was selected as MWL Pitcher of the Week for the week ending Augst 2nd. At the time, he was leading the league in strikeouts with 125 and had just concluded two dominant startswhere he allowed just one run while struck out out 15 over ten innings.

Current White Sox catcher, A.J. Pierzynski hopes to remain in Chicago but realizes tha the might have to try the free agent waters if the up and coming (and cheaper) competition continue to press.

Off the DL: Nick Hundley, Torii Hunter

Taking a Look at the Padres Prospects (requires MadFriars subscription):

Speaking of MadFriars, FriarForecast recently caught up with John Conniff following his trip to Fort Wayne. He provides his take on the new erea of baseball in Fort Wayne

Wizards Where R They?

  • Paul McAnulty: After being released by Boston, McAnulty signed with the Colorado Rockies. He’s now playing with the Triple-A SkySox.
  • Jose Lobaton: The Tampa Bay Rays claimed the catcher off waivers from the Padres and assigned him to Double-A Montgomery.
  • Freddy Guzman: Now playing in Triple-A Norfolk with the Orioles organization.
  • Josh Barfield: After not getting claimed off waivers, Barfield was outrighted from Indian’s 40-Man Roster.

Finally, Paul DePodesta shares his thoughts on the current prospects in the Padres’ system. Many of them are former Wizards/TinCaps.

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