Tag Archives: Matt Antonelli

Eric Sogard, Kouzmanoff Traded to Oakland

Here’s an interesting one. The Oakland A’s acquired Kevin Kousmanoff and former Fort Wayne Wizard Eric Sogard for former Padre Scott Hairston and Aaron Cunningham.

Sogard is seen as a Todd Walker type hitter that lacks range defensively but is gap-hitter with great contact rates.

Sogard, a former second round pick out of Arizona State, hit .253 with two home runs and 15 RBI in 22 games with the Wizards in 2007. He should fit in well with Oakland becuase he does not strike out a lot. In 2008, with Lake Elsinore, Sogard struck out just 62 times in 536 at-bats.  Last season, Sogard hit .293 with Double-A San Antonio and wiffed just 47 times in 457 at–bats.

Sogard, a second baseman, was idling on the Padres’ depth chart behind another former Wizard, Matt Antonelli, who held the position at Triple-A Portland. Somewhat ironically, Kevin Kousmanoff was originally acquired by San Diego in a 2006 trade for former Padres second baseman Josh Barfield.

The trade should also see former Wizard Chase Headley return to third base. As Friar Forecast points out:

With Chase Headley on the roster, the Padres had two third baseman, but were forcing one (Headley) to masquerade as a left-fielder.  Not surprisingly, Headley’s fielding was a major liability and zapped much of his value.  In the minors, Headley was considered an average fielding third baseman, and in the majors Headley has shown to be no worse than an average hitter.  In replacing Kouz with Headley at third, the Padres essentially break even.

Hot Prospects: Cedric Hunter,

HotProspects.net has features some former Wizards recently. Here’s a brief recap:

Cedric Hunter (full post here):

There was some conjecture in the past about a dip in Hunter’s work ethic prior to his 2007 season.  Some within the organization felt that his fine ’06 pro debut may have went to his head a little bit, contributing to his performance dip at Low-A Fort Wayne.  It seems that he has moved beyond these concerns, though, and his future as a #2 or #6 hitter in San Diego seems to be quite bright.

Eric Soggard (full post here):

The former 2nd round pick out of Arizona State did all that he could to evoke comparisons to fellow Sun Devil alum Dustin Pedroia.  In his first full professional season, Sogard batted .308 with 10 HR 87 RBI 16 SB and 97 runs scored. 

Mat Latos (full post here):

Health is the biggest thing keeping Mat from having a major breakout season.  The Padres will likely start him back at Low-A Fort Wayne and, if all looks well, he should move to High-A Lake Elsinore at some point.  Latos has the stuff to be a frontline starter who can punch out 200+ hitters per season, but the big question mark with him will be his health. 

Matt Antonelli (full post here):

Antonelli is a joy to watch as he plays each game with maximum effort and a compelling desire to win.  He is a highly intelligent hitter who has earned 159 walks in the last two seasons.  Antonelli has good pull power but tends to slap balls to the opposite field, which should limit his HR totals. 

Kellen Kulbacki (full post here):

and powerfully builty, Kulbacki has a quick left-handed swing that mashes the ball with 20-25 HR power to all fields.  After early season struggles at Low-A, Kulbacki was promoted to High-A Lake Elsinore where he terrorized California League pitching to the tune of a .332 BA with 20 HR 66 RBI and 68 runs scored in just 84 games. 

Kyle Blanks (full post here):

Unlike many young power-hitting prospects, he doesn’t strike out too often and consistently makes hard contact.  As a 1st baseman, Blanks has demonstrated soft hands and surprising agility which should play well in the future. 

Padres’ Moves Will Dictate Future of Former Wizards

If this headline doesn’t read as a big fat red “DUH!” I don’t know what does. The statement is true no matter the day or time. However, it’s worth stating right now because the Padres are in the midst of utter turmoil adn an uncertain future. With that being the case, it is obvious that the San Diego Padres will be making moves and those moves might change and alter the potential futures of some former Fort Wayne Wizards.

Wiht the Winter Meetings kicking into gear this week, here’s what we know so far:

  • Trevor Hoffman will not be the closer in 2009. This is probalby 99.9% certain. He has not signed with another team yet, so I guess there is a glimmer of a chance he’ll be back, but don’t bet on it. That means there will be an opening for a closer. I’ve speculated on this previously, and I probably didn’t give Heath Bell a fair look, but my money is still on former Wizard, Greg Burke.
  • The rest of the bullpen needs a little shoring up too. Reliable setup man, Mike Adams is likely out until the All-Star Break, so there are some spots up for grabs there too.
  • Kahlil Green will be the starting shortstop . . . for St. Louis (where he may be playing next to former Wizard, David Freese who went to the Cardinals as part of the failed Jim Edmonds experiment. Freese has a very good shot at playing with the Cards in 2009. Back in San Diego, they will need a new starting shortstop. Unless there is a trade, The heir apparent is Luiz Rodriguez, but don’t count out former Wizard, Sean Kazmar.
  • Former Wizards Pitcher, Jake Peavy still has a good chance of being traded (most likely to the Cubs). But, even if he remains with the club, the team still needs pitchers to fill the number three and four slots (Chris Young at number 2 and Cha Seung Baek as the number five guy). If he is traded, that leaves three openings. Maybe one or two of those slots will get filled from the ranks of the minors, but I expect trades and/or Rule 5 Draft picks to be used here. Former Wizard, Wade LeBlanc is likely to earn one of the spots up for grabs IMHO. Former Wizar, Josh Geer also would be likely, but there’s a chance he may be heading for Tommy John surgery, which will kill his 2009 season (if anyone has any updates on this, please comment below). Former Wizard Mike Ekstrom may also be a dark horse contender.
  • Former Wizard Jon Ellis are unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft and could potentially be snagged by other clubs. The sidearmer is an interesting gamble for a club who is willing to take a chance and I suspect he’s as good as gone.
  • The catching corps is owned by former Wizards. Right now, it looks like the starting gig will go to Nick Hundley, with Luke Carlin serving as backup unless a veteran presence is added. Wonder why Colt Morton never gets much consideration. Jose Lobaton probably has a pretty solid chance and playing with the big club in 2009 too.
  • Ironically, the Padres seem to have an excess of outfielders. This time last year, they were converting former Wizard, Chase Headley from third base to outfield. Now, they have Headley, and fellow former Wizard Will Venable to slot into the outfield with Scott Hairston, Brian Giles and Jody Gerut. Couple that with an emerging former Wizard outfielders Drew Macias and Chad Huffman, and you have a couple odd men out (yes, that’s seven guys for three slots). It’s still likely that Giles will get traded (proably during the 2009 season). Moving Headley back to third and trading incumbant third baseman Kevin Kousmanoff is an option, but not one that the club seems to endorse.
  • Second basse and first base seem to be in good hands with Edgar Gonzales and Adrian Gonzales respectively. Former Wizard Matt Antonelli might serve as a backup or utility player at second. If San Diego doesn’t move Adrian and he stays healthy, first base remains blocked for uber-prospect Kyle Blanks, so you may see him traded. But I suspect Blanks will play a full season at triple-A in Portland and then the club with consider their options at first for 2010.

So there you have it. The Padres season outlook remains dim, but the bright side is that they don’t have a lot of bad contracts and they are in a highly winable division if the Dodgers don’t run away with it early. Methinks, barring any huge trades to fill holes in the field, suspect we’ll see a roster witha lot of former Wizards.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Cuddyer, Ready, Antonelli, LeBlanc, Coundrey, Hayhurst

There are many Wizards-related headlines that I need to catch up on. I’ve been passively collecting them as the final week of the season took place, so some may seem a bit old to you. Enjoy..

  • Michael Cuddyer still hopes to return to the Twins this season. He has had an injry plagued 2008 season.
  • Former Wizards Skipper, Randy Ready in enjoying being around familiar company with the Padres after September callups (himself included). Meanwhile, Wade LeBlanc and Matt Antonelli are hoping to make a splash during their opportunities this season.
  • Clay Coundrey is happy to be nearing a personal milestone of staying with a Major League squad (the Phillies) for a full season.
  • Dirk Hayhurst is hopefull that he’ll write the perfect ending (but not for a while) to the new era of his professional career.
  • The Casper Ghosts recently won the Baseball America’s logos contest for “Coolest Redesign” and the Trenton Thunder took “Best Redesign” honrs. Wonder where this set’s the bar for the Fort Wayne team’s chances next year? Do you think they can do it? Let’s put out thinking hats and see what we can come up with!
  • MadFriars has posted four segments of a Paul DePodterview. In part 1, he talks about prospects, Dominican players, trades and the draft. In part 2 DePodesta answers whether the Padres think Will Venable can be an everyday centerfielder in the big leagues, Matt Antonelli’s tough and if San Diego will ever move Kyle Blanks to the outfield. In part 3, DePodesta gives his assessment of Cedric Hunter, how Cesar Carrillo is progressing from his Tommy John surgery and sleepers in Fort Wayne. Finally, part 4 offers a posible glimpse into the Fort Wayne future; he let us know who may be the best player to come out of Eugene, the goods on Jeff Decker and breaks down some prospects from the Dominican League.
  • Speaking of Paul DePodesta, he blogs about his thoughts on Antonelli and LeBlanc’s callups and chances.
  • In what might have been Paul McAnulty’s last month in the Padres’ system, he earn’s one of the player of the month awards from MadFriars. Kyle Blanks, Eric Sogard, and Andy Parrino round out the other levels over Low-A ball. All of them are former Wizards. Methinks we’re going to see Blanks as a big leaguer sooner than later. Wade LeBlanc, Mike Ekstrom, Rolando Valdez and Jeremy McBryde take the pitchers of the month honors. Again, all of them are former Wizards. MadFriar’s also posted an interview with former Wizard, Manny Ayala.
  • SignOnSanDiego has two good articles about former Wizards. In the first, they suggest that Matt Antonelli could finally be the answer to “who is going to play second base” – let’s just hope they don’t trade him to Cleveland. In the second, the article discusses how a move to a relief role for starting pitcher Mike Ekstrom may have saved his career.

Matt Antonelli’s MLB Debut

Matt Antonelli became the 71st former Fort Wayne Wizard to make his MLB debut on September 1, 2008. In the top of the second inning, he hit a one-out line drive off the Los Angeles Dodges’ Matt Kemp. He grounded out to short in the fifth and popped out to short in the seventh for his second and third at-bats. Then, he grounded out to short in thetop of the ninth to end the game.

The lineup’s five through eight spots featured former Wizards (Headley, Venable, Hundley and Antonelli). Get Kazmar in there on a day that Peavy or Hayhurst are pitching and you’d see a lineup that features 6 of the nine spots as former Wizards.

Antonelli was a first round pick (17th overall) in the 2006 draft.  He saw a total of five games with the Wizards in 2006, hitting .125 in 16 at-bats. He hit .314 the following year at Lake Elsinore before being promoted to Double-A San Antonio, where he hit .294. On the 2008 campaign, he’s hitting just .215 with 7 home runs and 39 RBIs in 128 games.

He is the tenth former Wizard to debut in MLB this year. One more ties a record set in 2002. That will probably happen when Wade LeBlanc, who was also recently called up, takes the mound later this week (I’m hearing Wednesday).

Padres to Slash Payroll? What it Means for Former Wizards.

With the news that the Padres will release second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and pitcher Brett Tomko to make room for Wade LeBlanc and Matt Antonelli, anyone can see that the Padres are already making plans for next year. This is the latest in a series of moves that have involved bringing minor league talent to the Padres, and many of them have included former Wizards.

I gotta think there will be many more moves in the remaining days of the 2008 season that could spell opportunities for other former Wizards, which should also make for an interesting Spring Training as the prevailing speculation is that the Padres will continue to slash payroll.

As part of a pitch to get Brian Giles to accept a trade to the Red Sox this past week, a Padres executive painted a stark fiscal picture for 2009, saying club owner John Moores might shrink the payroll to $40 million. [SignonSanDiego -August 9, 2008]

GM Kevin Towers denies this claim, but then again, he also hasn’t seen the budget for 2009 yet. Yet, the Padres already field one of the lowest salaried teams in Major League Baseball.

The Padres don’t have any large contracts on the books for ’09; Giles would be their most expensive player at $9MM unless they choose his $3MM buyout.  After that it’s Jake Peavy at $8MM, Khalil Greene at $6.5MM, Chris Young at $4.5MM, and Adrian Gonzalez at $3MM.  By my count they have six arbitration-eligible players, including Josh Bard, Heath Bell, Scott Hairston, and Jody Gerut [MLBTradeRumors.com].

There is also speculation that John Moores’ divorce is a factor that may adversely impact the team.

California is a community property state, which means Becky Moores — the soon-to-be-ex-Mrs.-John — is in play and there already are indications that player payroll will be cut significantly in 2009 (it’s just over $70 million this year). That’s why the Padres already have worked hard to trade Giles and pitcher Greg Maddux this season, positioning themselves for an early start on the payroll-shedding process [CBSSports.com].

Sean Kazmar with the WizardsSo what does this mean for former Wizards who are trying to crack a big league roster? Certainly, the Padres are trying to add by subtracting. There’s the possibility that the Padres may try to move Khalil Greene and his $6.5MM salary, shich might provide a spot for Sean Kazmar, who made his debut just a couple weeks ago. But the rookie is now learning how to play outfield (a la Chase Headley) during this season’s Arizona Fall League. The move could merely be an attempt to get him more at-bats, or it could mean there is nowhere to play Kazmar in the infield.

Kazmar will join the Peoria Saguaros in the AFL with pitchers Greg Burke, Cesar Carillo, Mike Ekstrom, Wilton Lopez, first baseman Kyle Blanks and outfielders Mike Baxter and Chad Huffman. All of them except for Carillo are former Wizards. If Blanks keeps playing the way he has lately, San Diego may have to move him or Adrian Gonzalez or find a place elsewhere on the diamond for one of the two.

Like Kazmar, Brian Joynt, who played third this season with the Wizards before his promotion to Lake Elsinore will see time in the outfield.

Colt Morton with the WizardsBaxter will also get time at an unfamiliar position. The outfielder hit .270 with seven home runs and 47 RBIs at Double-A San Antonio and will get some looks at catcher. This season has seen three different former Wizards serve the backstop role. Luke Carlin and Nick Hundley have seen the most time between the three, which might suggest Colt Morton could be moved to another team during the offseason. the starting catcher, Josh Bard may not be around for 2009 either if the Friars think Carlin and Hundley can do the job.

Longtime closer, Trevor Hoffman has had some troubles while attempting to nail down games this year. There is divided opinion about whether it is time for a change or not. The Portland pitcher who produced the most saves this year, Jared Wells, is now in the Seattle organization (traded earlier this season). That may bring about an opportunity for Greg Burke, who will see action in the AFL and has collected 23 saves at Double-A San Antonio. Lake Elsinore doesn’t have anyone who is ready to fill that void. And while Jackson Quezada collected 27 saves on minimal opportunities in Fort Wayne, that is probably too big of a jump from Low-A to the MLB (but then again, it worked out well for the Royals and Joakim Soria).

Jackson QuezadaAll this should make for an interesting winter and 2009 Spring Training. There should be some names that are familiar to Fort Wayne fans on the San Diego Roster come opening day. The best part is that we have the whole month of September to see some of these great former Wizards make the most of their opportunities. Chase Headley, Will Venable, Wade LeBlanc, Sean Kazmar, Josh Geer, Dirk Hayhurst, Matt Antonelli, Nick Hundley have joined Jake Peavy on the parent club roster and maybe some others will soon follow.

When you factor in the former Wizards who are with other organizations, there have been nine former Wizards to debut at the MLB level. This ranks second only to 2002, which saw 11 prospects (including Jake Peavy and Oliver Perez) hit the big leagues. With about a month to go, I am sure we’ll see at least 3-4 more.

I’m predicting we’ll see Dale Thayer (P-Rays), Brett Dowdy (SS-Padres), David Freese (3B-Cardinals) this season.

It wouldn’t be too surprising to also see Jon Link who had 35 saves with the White Sox’s Double-A Birmingham Barons and was named the Southern League’s Top Reliever of 2009. He was one of 15 players, and the only reliever, named to the league’s post-season All-Star team and was the lone Baron selected. He was one save shy of the league saves record. But given the Sox’s playoff race, he’s probably a 2009 debut.

Anyone else have thoughts on the Padres prospective 2009 squad and/or which prospects we’ll see make their MLB debuts this season (whether they are in the Padres’ system any longer or not)?

Two More Wizards Going to San Diego; Antonelli, LeBlanc to Get Call-ups

The Fort Wayne Revolution in San Diego seems to be in full effect as two more former Wizards are likely to be on their way up to the big show, joining several others who have already made their debuts this year. It’s very clear that the remainder of the season will basically be early auditions for the 2009 squad.

The Padres are releasing second baseman Tadahito Iguchi and pitcher Brett Tomko to open roster spots for second baseman Matt Antonelli and pitcher Wade LeBlanc.

Both Antonelli and LeBlanc are being called up from Triple-A Portland where they will join the Padres in Dodger Stadium, where the Friars will begin a three-game series on Monday.

Matt Antonelli was a first round pick (17th overall) in the 2006 draft.  He saw a total of five games with the Wizards in 2006, hitting .125 in 16 at-bats. He hit .314 the following year at Lake Elsinore before being promoted to Double-A San Antonio, where he hit .294. On the 2008 campaign, he’s hitting just .215 with 7 home runs and 39 RBIs in 128 games. The North County Times recently did a great piece on Antonelli that discusses his season of struggles and hope for redemption. I encourage you to check it out.

Wade LeBlanc  was also a high round pick by the Padres in 2006. Drafted in the second round (36th overall), LeBlanc joined the Wizards that year and saw action in seven starts. He posted a 4-1 record with a 2.20 ERA. In 32.2 innings pitched, he struck out 27 and walked ten. This season with Triple-A Portland, LeBlanc has rebounded from early season struggles and now boasts an 11-9 record with a  5.32 ER, 139 strikeouts and 42 walks over 138.2 innings pitched. He was named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the week for the span inclusive of July 28-Aug. 3. He was 2-0 and allowed just four hits and no walks over 13.0 scoreless innings. He tallied 17 strikeouts over the combined two starts during that week.

Good luck guys. We’ll be watching!

Related Posts:

Fort Fragments (Wizards): Pierzynski, Cuddyer, Condry, Headley and Matt Bush News!?!?

  • White Sox walk off behind Pierzynski: Former Wizards catcher, A.J. Pierzynski hit his second home run of the night in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the White Sox to their second straight extra-inning win over the Indians, 6-5, at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night. Figures . . . I just traded him in my fantasy league.
  • Cuddyer’s MRI shows sprained knuckle: The last player in the Twins system from the Wizards’ days as a Minnesota affiliate, Michael Cuddyer has had a pretty banged up season. I think this is his third DL stint. BTW: he’s on my fantasy team.
  • Condrey has big off-day plans: The former Wizards and current Phillie pitcher, Clay Condrey and his wife welcomed their first son on Monday, Cashton “Cash” Lee. Interestingly, Fort Wayne native and current Indian’s skipper, Eric Wedge, and his wife named their son Dalton Cash after his arrival shortly before the season.
  • Headley continues to improve in left field: I still think he’ll ultimately end up at third in the long run, but Chase Headley‘s star continues to rise as he adapts in the outfield. For what’s it’s worth, there were some Oakland A’s scouts at the Castle on Sunday. Maybe its just a coincidence that Chavez went on the DL a couple days later. They’re just five games out of first and three-and-a-half out of the wild card.
  • Padres land bevy of international talent: A possible look at some future Wizards (or whatever the team is next year and beyond). They forked over 5 million dollars to secure four highly-touted players from Latin America and an Australian outfielder on the first day of the international signing period; Adis Portillo (Venezuela), shortstop Alvaro Aristy (Dominican Republic), outfielder Luis Domoromo (Venezuela), right-handed pitcher Elvin Tavarez (Dominican Republic) and outfielder, Corey Adamson (Australia). They’re all around 16 years old, so it will be a while before we see any of them in the Fort if we ever do.
  • Encouraging News on Matt Bush: “He isn’t on a mound yet but he’s long tossing from 130 feet and one third of the way through his throwing program. He could be back getting in serious work by Instructional League.” Matt Antonelli may be finally coming out of his funk and Eric Sogard is drawing some attention. Add him to your watch lists.
  • Peavy nominated for an ESPY: Not much I can add to that. The guy is a stud and deserves to be recognized.
  • McDaid promoted to Lake Elsinore: I haven’t cataloged any of my 2008 photos yet. Hope I got some good shots before Derek McDaid, an MWL All-Star, was promoted.

Fort Fragments (Wizards): June 11, 2008

  • Jaun Rincon on His Way Out? – Kelsie Smith (St. Paul Pioneer Press) reports that former Wizards pitcher, Juan Rincon has a feeling he may soon be traded or released. Ricon tested positive for an illegal substance in 2005 and was suspended for 10 games. He pitched well the remainder of the season, but things have gone downhill since 2006. (Hat tip to MLBTradeRumors). According to MLB.com, a roster move in Minnesota will come soon and Rincon looks to be the likely odd man out.
  • Josh Barfield Gets Called Up, Gets Hurt – Former Wizards infielder Josh Barfield left Tuesday’s game after the fourth inning with a left middle finger sprain. He is listed as day-to-day. He was 0-for-2 in the game and is hitless on the season after going 0-for-4 in his season debut on Monday’s.
  • Torii Hunter Hits Number 200 – I guess if Griffey Junior’s 600th was under the radar and with little fanfare, we shouldn’t expect too much out of Hunter’s 200th. But regardless, he hit it on Monday during the Angels’ series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Jake Peavy Returns Tomorrow – The Padres’ ace will come off the disabled list and face the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. Peavy’s last start was on May 14 against the Cubs. But he was shut down when a lingering pain in his elbow persisted afterwards and hasn’t pitched in a live MLB game since.
  • Justin Baum Finds His Power Stroke – The 22-year-old third baseman went 4-for-5 with two homers, a career-high seven RBIs and three runs scored Friday (June 6th) as the Wizards rallied past the Lansing Lugnuts, 11-5, at Oldsmobile Park.  Luis Durango was the only other Fort Wayne player with more than one hit.
  • Chad Huffman is Padres Player of the Month – The 23-year-old former Wizard was recently selected as a starter for the 2008 Texas League All-Star Game. He hit .357 (35-for-98) with seven doubles, four home runs, 19 RBI, 21 walks and 18 runs scored over 28 games for Double-A San Antonio during May. He put together 10 multi-hit games, including three three-hit games and one four-hit effort. In addition, he tallied a 13-game hit streak from May 4-15, batting .396 (19-for-48) over that span.
  • Time to WorryAbout Antonelli – Tom Krasovic (SingonSanDiego) questions whether it’s time to worry about Antonelli who is producing an average below .200 and an equally tragic slugging percentage during his first season at Triple-A Portland; who was the Padres’ first round pick in 2006.

Wizards Watch: McAnulty, Carlin, Hundley, Venable, Antonelli

If you’re looking to keep up with some of your favorite former Wizards, here’s some links you’ll enjoy, courtesy of SignOnSanDiego.

  • Chase Headley: “The jewel of the Padres’ minor-league system, the player that every other major league team mentions first when San Diego’s looking to make a trade, Headley’s a big-time ballplayer in the making and likely not much longer for Triple-A.” [See Also: “Headley’s Portland apprenticeship is a matter of dollars and sense” by Tim Sullivan]
  • Will Venable: “Desperate for a center fielder who can handle the spaciousness of Petco Park, the Padres think that guy could very well be Venable, whose gait is built more for chasing down fly balls and legging out triples than stealing bases.”
  • Matt Antonelli: “Even with his batting average under .200, Antonelli is among the PCL leaders in walks (28). His patience at the plate belies the belief that Antonelli put way too much pressure on himself the first several weeks of the season.”
  • Luke Carlin: “I wanted to call my dad (to tell him about the call-up), but he’s a civilian contractor in Iraq. The funny thing was we were in Omaha when I was promoted. We were headed for Iowa and my wife and daughter were coming down from Wisconsin. I called Kim and when I said `There’s a change in plans,’ she was silent for a moment.”
  • Paul McAnulty: Fun short Q/A where McAnulty, an American retro car buff, reveals his five favorite machines.