Tag Archives: Cedric Hunter

Cedric Hunter Scores in MLB Debut

After a hot spring, Cedric Hunter made the Padres Opening Day roster. Then, Cameron Maybin made Hunter’s debut possible. After hitting a game-tying two-out home run in the bottom of the ninth, the game went into extra innings in St. Louis. 

In the top half of the 11th, Maybin left after singling in the go-ahead run. Hunter replaced him as a pinch runner and later scored. He stayed in the game and played center as the Padres pulled out a 5-3 victory.

Hunter becomes the 94th former Fort Wayne Wizards or TinCaps player to make his Major League debut.

Hunter was selected by San Diego Padres in 3rd round (93rd overall) of 2006 draft. He played in 129 games with the Wizards in Fort Wayne during the 2007 season, hitting .282 with 7 home runs and 58 RBI.

Related Cedric Hunter Posts

2009 Spring Training Update from Fort Wayne II

Guess I will make this into a series of sorts. Anywho, here’s some more updates:

Wade LeBlanc has been optioned to Triple-A Portland. So has Mike Ekstrom.

Pete Ciofrone, Mitch Canham and Cedric Hunter have been assigned to te Padres’ minor league camp. Two of 2008’s Wizards, Luis Durango and Jackson Quezada, have been assigned to Lake Elsinore.

Kyle Blanks is finally going to get some time in the outfield given that there is a roadblock at first base and Blanks is making his case to get the big man’s offense into the lineup.

The White Sox’s, Jon Link (Wizard in 2006) has been optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. Methinks we’ll see him in the big leagues before 2009 is up.

Spring Training Update from Fort Wayne

Here’s a look at early spring performances from some former Wizards who are in Padres camp this Spring:

  • Kyle Blanks: In 15 games (40 at-bats), he’s hitting .325 with a .429 OBP, 3 home runs and 9 RBIs
  • Will Venable: In 12 games (37 at-bats), he’s hitting .297 with a .333 OBP
  • Drew Macias: In 15 games (36 at-bats), he’s hitting .278 with a  .350 OBP and a home run
  • Chase Headley: In 10 games (30 at-bats), he’s hitting .267 with a .313 OBP, a home run and 8 RBIs
  • Matt Antonelli: In 14 games (25 at-bats), he’s hitting .320 with a .433 OBP
  • Cedric Hunter: In 15 games (22 at-bats), he’s hitting .227 with a .308 OBP
  • Chad Huffman: In 14 games (21 at-bats), he’s hitting .333 with a .517 OBP, 2 home runs and 6 RBIs
  • Nick Hundley: In 8 games (19 at-bats), he’s hitting .316 with a .350 OBP
  • Brett Dowdy:  In 10 games (13 at-bats), he’s hitting .462 with a .500 OBP
  • Mitch Canham: In 10 games (11 at-bats), he’s hitting .273 with a .500 OBP
  • Colt Morton: In 7 games (10 at-bats), he’s hitting .300 with a .417 OBP
  • Greg Burke: In 5 games (5.2 innings pitched), he has a 4.76 ERA with 6 K’s and a walk
  • Mike Ekstron: In 4 games (3.2 innings pitched), he has a 14.73 ERA with 1 K and a walk
  • Cesar Ramos:  In 4 games (5.2 innings pitched), he has a 9.53 ERA with 3 K’3 and 3 walks
  • Nick Schmidt: In 4 games (4 innings pitched), he has an 11.25 ERA with 1 K and 3 walks
  • Josh Geer:  In 3 games (7 innings pitched), he has a 6.43 ERA with 4 K’s and a walks
  • Wade LeBlanc:  In 3 games (6 innings pitched), he has a 10.53 ERA with 6 K’s and 5 walks

In related Wizards and Fort Wayne ties:

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Link, Blanks, Peavy, Hunter

I’ve got a lot to catch up on. Here’s some Fort fragments on the Wizards that might interest you:

Baseball America thinks former Wizard Jon Link will emerge as a one of those guys who was drafted late and then go on to become servicable big leaguers. In other words, he was a steal. Sadly for the Padres, Link is now within the White Sox organization.

Link, 24, was excellent last season for Double-A Birmingham, finishing with a 3.02 ERA in 56 2/3 innings as the Barons’ closer. Link struck out 66 batters, averaging 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Link throws three pitches for strikes: a 90-92 mph fastball with some sink, a slider and a changeup. Link goes to his above-average slider for strikeouts, but his changeup is more than a show-me pitch and is an effective third weapon. There was some talk of moving Link to the starting rotation because of his three-pitch mix, but the White Sox will leave him in the bullpen. He still has to learn to harness his control, as he walked 27 batters (4.3 per nine) last year, though he was better in 2007 in high Class A when he walked just 15 batters in 58 2/3 innings (2.3 per nine).

Speaking of Baseball America, Justin Cassel the brother of former Wizards pitcher, Jack Cassel, and New England Patriots Quarterback, Matt Cassel, didn’t make it into the prospect handbook, but he did make the 32nd team.

Keeper League GM disagrees with Baseball America’s selection of Kyle Blanks as the Padres top prospect. I think I  disagree with Keeper League GM, but I’ve been a fan of Blanks since he played in Fort Wayne so I am a little biased. Porter’s Prospects calls Blanks the sixth best MLB first base prospect of 2009. There’s a lot of talk that Blanks is blocked because of Adrian Gonzalez’s presence at first base, but Blanks will get an extended audition this spring while Gonzalez is plaing in the WBC. There’s also the possibility that Blanks could play outfield. I doubt it IMHO.

Former Wizard, Freddy Guzman will be in Mariner’s camp as a non roster invitee.

Speaking of Spring Taining, the Padres will have several positions up for grabs. Some former Wizards who are likely candidates for winning spots include; Matt Antonelli, Mike Ekstrom, Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc, Drew Macias and Will Venable. Other former Wizards who will be in camp include; Kyle Blanks, Greg Burke, Matt Bush, Mitch Canham, Peter Ciofrone, Luis Durango, Ernesto Frieri, Chad Huffman, Mat Latos, Jose Lobaton, Jackson Quezada and Nick Schmidt.

Burke and Quezada are profiled with other Padres relievers over at Friar Forecast. Bryan Oland is also in that list.

SignOnSanDiego is projecting Cedric Hunter to been roaming Petco’s center field as a 22-year-old next season. Mabye, but the competition is fierce. They’re also counting on Nick Hundley to continue his progress this season and shore up a weak catching crop.

MadFriars recently gathered 2008 reflections from Wizards radio guy, Mike Maahs.

The Start Kyle Orton blog has a profile of two former Wizards, Luis Rivas and Bobby Scales, who are non-roster invtees of the Cubs.

The Fort Wayne Wizards came to Fort Wayne from Kenosha, Wisconsin. Looks like they’ll have baseball again in a couple years. According to ESPN, “Kevin Costner says he’s chosen the northeastern Illinois town of Zion as the location for a new team, which will be part of the Northern League in 2010.” Looks like it’s just a 20 minute drive. But heck, for all I know, they may have plenty of baseball in that area already.

Jake Peavy won the Clyde McCullough Award as the team’s top pitcher on Thursday at the Padres-UCP of San Diego County Awards Dinner.  First baseman Kyle Blanks won Minor League Player of the Year. Jeremy Hefner won Pitcher of the Year. BaseballinFortWayne.com was honered with . . . nothing. It wasn’t even mentioned.

Taking a Look at the Prospects

Former Wizards Cedric Hunter and Mat Latos will join the big league club during Spring Training which begins next month. That’s right – next month (it’s coming!). Even though neither prospect has played above single-A, but both are highly touted and rank highly on the organization’s top prospects list.

Paul DePodesta talks about non-roster signings, including Pete Ciofrone:

Pete has played the last four and a half seasons in the Padres organization, but was due to become a minor league free agent after the 2008 season. After a .314/.389/.519 season in Portland, we wanted to keep the versatile left-handed hitter. Pete has always done a good job of putting the ball in play, and his power has emerged over the past two seasons. His ability to play all four corner positions also provides options for any manager.

Former Wizards skipper, Randy Ready, dishes on San Diego prospects via MadFriars (Subscription required). The list includes many former Wizards, like Luke Carlin, Matt Antonelli, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Brett Dowdy.

Last year’s hitting coach at San Antonio, Terry Kennedy, takes on the San Diego prospects who played at Double-A. Former Wizards include Josh Alley, Mike Baxter, Kyle Blanks, Craig Cooper and Chad Huffman. Pitching Coach, Bill Masse talks about the Double-A pitchers, such as Manny Ayala, Greg Burke, Mike Ekstrom, Jon Ellis, and Stephen Faris.

Former Wizards pitching coach, Wally Whitehurst (who is now in the Pittsburgh Pirates system) talks about the pitchers from Lake Elsinore last season. Among the former Wizards are Nathan Culp, Ernesto Freiri, Corey Kluber, Cory Luebke, Brandon Gomes and John Madden.

The Rays Party Chairman of the Rays Party of America blog wants the Rays to consider former Wizards infielder, Bobby Scales, as a potential minor league free agent signing:

Scales primary position is second base but has played in the outfield in as many games as second. Scales is a switch hitter and hits about the same on both sides, slightly better as a right handed hitter. He has started to hit for more power recently but has increased his strikeout rate in addition. Not too good but adequate filler at Durham.

Local native, Jarrod Parker, tops the list of Diamondbacks prospects over at FutureBacks.com.

Kyle Blanks the Hottest Prospect in Baseball

Former Fort Wayne Wizards first baseman and designated hitter, Kyle Blanks has taken the top spot in Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet:

Why He’s Here: .480/.536/.960 (12-for-25), 3 2B, 3 HR, 11 RBIs, 5 R, 3 BB, 4 SO
The Scoop: It may be a lost season in San Diego, where the Padres have long been out of contention and unloaded Greg Maddux up the street to the Dodgers. But in the Padres system there are some encouraging storylines and they begin with Blanks, the 6-foot-6, 281-pound hoss who was a 2004 draft-and-follow from Yavapai (Ariz.) JC.

Blanks’ big week was highlighted by his 6-RBI, 5-for-7 showing Wednesday against Frisco. In that game, he ripped a double and two home runs, including the walk-off winner in the 12th inning.

Just 21, Blanks owns the eighth-best average (.313) in the Texas League as he has shown he is not a think-homer-first kind of basher. And look at his 91 RBIs. They are second, behind 25-year-old Tommy Everidge’s 108 and ahead of three others who are in their mid-20s. His 140 hits also are third-best in the league and, cementing his status has to be his home average. It’s .328, in a ballpark hardly known to be kind to hitters. Blanks’ defense also has not been lost on Texas League managers, who like his nifty foot work at first base (he’s committed five errors).

Former Wizards center fielder, Cedric Hunter also made the list at number 13 while possible future Wizard (or Fort Wayne player anyway), Jeff Decker landed number 11 for his performance in the Rookie-Level Arizona League.

This list is not a re-ranking of BA’s Top 100 Prospects. It’s a snapshot of who are the hottest prospects in baseball at a given time.

Cedric Hunter Making Good on Promise

Cedric Hunter on DeckComing into the 2007 season, the hot name on the Wizards roster was prospect, Cedric Hunter. He arrived with a glint of excitement that many thought was sure to signal a second coming of Wizard from more than a decade-and-a-half ago with the same last name. The comparison was to that of none other than Torii Hunter, who ranks right up at the top of any list of most successful careers that have been posted by former Wizards.

In 1994, Torii Hunter hit .293 with 10 home runs and 50 RBI’s while scoring 57 runs and stealing 8 bases. In 2007, the Hunter Cedric posted a .282 average with 7 home runs and 58 RBI’s while scoring 53 runs and stealing . . . you guessed it, 8 bases. That looks like a pretty good comparison to me. But we also have to consider the playing time. What Torii did in 91 games, it took Cedric 129 – which also is 161 more at-bats (seems pretty high for just 38 more games, but that’s what the stats say, Torii must have come out more often too).

Still, the modern era of the Midwest League is that of a tough hitter’s league, so don’t discount Cedric’s achievements simply because of a few more at-bats. Let’s also not forget, he was a mere 19-year-old last season.

Today, and now all of 20 years, he’s still among the youngest players in the California League, he’s having a solid season at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. In fact, Grady Fuson, San Diego’s vice president of scouting and player development, made it a point to go out and personally congratulate Hunter on his performance thus far.

“It was one of the best feelings in the world,” said Hunter, who had a hit in two at-bats during last week’s California/Carolina All-Star Game. “Grady came up to me personally right before the [All-Star] break and told me how happy he was with my defense. I was happy that he did that. It’s nice to be able to show them that you’re working hard. My main purpose in being here is to play every day, get known out there and be the best player I can be.”

As of July 4, Hunter was hitting .303 over 82 games with 105 hits, 64 runs scored 4 home runs, 42 RBI’s and drawing 33 walks to 29 strike-outs in 347 at-bats. He’s stolen 7 bases too.

Cedric HunterIn his Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual, Geoff Young comped Hunter to Sean Green, Kenny Lofton and Shane Victorino. After pointing out that Hunter may have lost a little luster with his MWL performance, he admitted that his status as a prospect didn’t falter for holding his own at a young age in a league that stiffles hitter’s performances. “The only questions with Hunter,” Geoff says, “are whether he’ll have to move to a corner spot at higher levels and how much power he’ll develop.”

While Hunter isn’t a prototypical center fielder, he continues to do what the position calls for with few miscues in the field, so he’ll probably remain there until he proves he doesn’t belong there or an opening at a higher level becomes available at one of the corner slots.

Some folks are suggesting that Cedric will hit the Padres’ lineup as early as 2010, but there are no plans to rush his climb up the ladder and Hunter isn’t too worried about his upward mobility right now either.

“I’m not going to think about what’s going on with that . . . if I stay here the whole year, I’m happy with that. I’m still young. I’m just thinking about playing every day and having a good year.”

I’m still pretty hopeful we’ll see him excelling at the Big League level in a few years. There’s a few too many players I have to continually answer the “Whatever happened to…” question. Methinks Cedric Hunter will someday give us the level of play that will make sure none of us forget or ever have to answer the “whatever happened to…” question.

Photographs by Chad Gramling.

Fort Fragments (Wizards):April 12, 2008

After being released by the Indians in Spring Training, former Wizards pitcher Aaron Fultz quickly caught on with the Detroit Tigers and was assigned to Triple-A Toledo. However things haven’t transpired exactly the way he had hoped (or thought they would). It’s no secret that th eTigers have pitching issues. Following the Tigers’ decision to promote Clay Rapada to the Major League level, Fultz requested his release from Detroit. It was granted.

On the other hand, the good news continues for Josh Barfield. At Triple-A Buffalo, Barfield is batting .344 through his first 32 at-bats. However, he does have eight strikeouts, an attribute that has plagued him in the past. However, the fact that he has drawn 4 walks is a step in the right direction. His on base percentage had been hovering a little over .400.

Cedric Hunter is off to a great start in Lake Elsinore. In 9 games, he’s hitting .378 with 14 hits, 5 walks and a stolen base. His on base percentage is .465. Wonder how long it will take those who wrote him off following his Wizards performance last season to hop back on the bandwagon.

Will Venable is putting up similar numbers at Triple-A Portland.

Finally, Tim Williams lists his Prospect Watch at AccuScore. He lists Chase Headley as one of the “Situations to Watch”:

There was talk that the Padres were going to keep Headley around in the majors as an outfielder, but that ended when Headley became one of the final cuts. The solid performance of Kevin Kouzmanoff and Scott Hairston right now is enough to keep Headley down, but don’t expect this to be a permanent situation. Headley hit for a .330 average with 20 homers in 121 games at AAA last year. Headley will be up at some point early in the season.