Tag Archives: Prospects

Latos, Zawadzki and Luebke Honored by Baseball America

Three former Fort Wayne Wizards/TinCaps have been select as Mid-Season Minor League All-Stars by Baseball America.

Mat Latos: One of the minors’ most electric arms, Latos already has jumped to Double-A in his first year in full-season ball.

Lance Zawadzki: A switch-hitter with the fine plate discipline typical of a Padres prospect, Zawadzki has hit .371/.459/.543 since being promoted to San Antonio in late May.

Cory Luebke: The Padres tried to put Luebke on the fast track after drafting him in the supplemental first round in 2007 out of Ohio State. He wasn’t ready, and had to go back to the Midwest League last year, but he’s returned to form this year, earning his way to Double-A after going 8-2, 2.34 in the Cal League.

Spring Training Report: Estranged Friars

Several former Wizards are now playing in other organizations and many are in spring camps, either seeking a job or putting in their time as incumbants. Here’s a quick look at how some are doing:

Toronto Blue Jays: Dirk Hayhurst, Matt Bush

Hayhurst has started out strong, pitching six innings over five games and giving up no runs on four hits. He has nine strikeouts and have given up no walks. Bush is scheduled to begin pitching in minor league camp.

St. Louis Cardinals: David Freese

Freese was virtually given the third base job but observers (me included) prior to camp starting until word came out that Freese had been injured in an auto accident in January. He was in camp, but held out of action and sent to minor league camp. He recently returned to the big league camp, but displayed obvious favor to his injured Achilles tendon.

Chicago Cubs: Bobby Scales, Luis Rivas, Corey Koskie

Three former Wizards, one spot. And the kicker is that neither might get the gig in light of the Cubs signing of the recently released Esteban German. Scales is hitting .318 in 22 at-bats with seven runs, two hits, two doubles, three walks, and six runs batted in. Scales is also a substitute high school teacher in Georgia during the offseason. Rivas has seen a bit more action and is hitting .250 over 24 at-bats with six hits and two runs a walk and an RBI. Corey Koskie has not yet joined the Cubs in camp, opting to play with Canada in the WBC.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Leo Rosales, Luke Carlin

Carlin signed with the Diamondbacks during the offseason and participated in this year’s WBC. So far this spring, he’s been in five games, collecting five runs on three hits in nine at-bats. Rosales has pitched four total innings over four games. He has given up four hits and three runs while walking one and striking out two. He has a 6.75 earned run average.

 Los Angeles Dodgers: Travis Chick

Travis Chick appeared in 1.2 innings over three games and got pounded before being sent to minors camp. He gave up four hits – two of them home runs – and walked 3 while striking out none.

Cleveland Indians: Jack Cassel, Josh Barfield

Barfield’s story is well documented. He continues to struggle this spring after trying his craft at other positions to add to his chances of returning to the big leagues. In 12 games, he’s had 33 at-bats. In that span, he’s got six hits and one RBI, while drawing one walk and striking out six times. He’s hitting .182 with a .206 OBP. Cassel has struggled a bit as well. In 6.2 innings pitched, he has a 10.20 ERA. Interestingly, Barfield and Cassel were teammates as Wizards in 2002.

Blatimore Orioles: Chad Moeller, David Pauley

The veteran Moeller has had eight at-bats but no hits. He has drawn one walk and scored a run. Pauley, who was traded to the Orioles from the Red Sox during the off-season, has pitched 9.1 innings over four games. He has two wins and eihgt strikeouts, but also sports a gaudey 7.71 earned run average.

Philadelphia Phillies: JJ Furmaniak, Clay Condrey

Furmaniak returns after a year in Japan. On the spring, he’s appeared in six games. He has one hit and one strikeout on six at-bats for a .167 average. Condrey has made three appearances ont he spring and has given up virtually nothing while striking out a hitter or two.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Luis Cruz

Cruz, who made his MLB debut last year, declined an invitation to participate in the WBC so he could focus on battling for a job with the Pirates. On the spring, he has four hits and three RBIs on 19 at-bats in nine games. He has a .211 average and a .250 on-base percentage.

Boston Red Sox: George Kottaras, Paul McAnulty

Both Kottaras and McAnulty have seen a lot of action with the Red Sox this spring. Kottaras is battling for the backup catcher’s gig, while McAnulty is seeking a forth outfielder spot. In eight games, Kottaras has has 11 at-bats where he has collected three hits – including a home run – and drawn a walk. McAnulty is getting a big look, having appeared in 11 games and getting 33 at-bats. He’s hitting .200 with six hits, a home run, 8 RBIs and a walk.

Detroit Tigers: Eddie Bonine

Bonine has looked good in five games with the Tigers. Over eight total innings, (including three scoreless last week) he has a 1.13 ERA and he’s given up just one earned run on four hits and 2 walks. He’s struck out three.

Seattle Mariners: Freddy Guzman

Guzman was in Mariners camp and competing for a job until he broke a bone in his hand. His recovery was first estimated at 4-6 weeks, which puts him a couple weeks away still.

Chicago White Sox: Jon Link

Jon Link has gotten three relief appearances with the White Sox this spring. He has a 3.86 ERA while giving up a run on ffive hits and a walk.

In Other News . . .

  • Former Wizard, Matt Stocco is continuing his baseball career in Italy.
  • BadWax has a bad pic on a bad card of the bad-ass A.J. Pierzynski. To my knowledge, he’s the only former Wizard to give pro wrestling a try.

Note: Stats in this post were pulled at various times between 3/14 and 3/15. Some may be outdated.

Baseball America’s Top Padres Prospects

I’m not even going to pretend I did anything other than cut and paste this from The Watson Files. Baseball America provided the list, Watson followed it with the research. I’ll publish my opinions and thoughts on a second post sometime later. Enjoy:

Padres’ Top 10 prospects according to Baseball America.

Top 10 Prospects

  1. Kyle Blanks, 1B (Fort Wayne 2006)
  2. Mat Latos, RHP (Fort Wayne 2008)
  3. Jaff Decker, OF
  4. Kellen Kulbacki, OF (Fort Wayne 2008)
  5. Adys Portillo, RHP
  6. Cedric Hunter, OF (Fort Wayne 2007)
  7. Will Venable, OF (Fort Wayne 2006) [Believe Geoff! Believe!!!]
  8. Allan Dykstra, 1B
  9. Matt Antonelli, 2B (Fort Wayne 2006)
  10. James Darnell, 3B

Best Tools

  • Best Hitter for Average: Cedric Hunter
  • Best Power Hitter: Kyle Blanks
  • Best Strike-Zone Discipline: Matt Antonelli
  • Fastest Baserunner: Everth Cabrera
  • Best Athlete: James Darnell
  • Best Fastball: Mat Latos
  • Best Curveball: Ernesto Frieri (Fort Wayne 2007)
  • Best Slider: Wynn Pelzer (Fort Wayne 2008)
  • Best Changeup: Wade LeBlanc (Fort Wayne 2006)
  • Best Control: Nate Culp (Fort Wayne 2006-07)
  • Best Defensive Catcher: Jose Lobaton (Fort Wayne 2005-06)
  • Best Defensive Infielder: Jesus Lopez (Fort Wayne 2006-07)
  • Best Infield Arm: Lance Zawadzki (Fort Wayne 2008)
  • Best Defensive Outfielder: Brad Chalk (Fort Wayne 2008)
  • Best Outfield Arm: Yefri Carvajal (Fort Wayne 2008)


Projected 2012 Lineup

  • Catcher: Nick Hundley (Fort Wayne 2005-06)
  • First Base: Adrian Gonzalez
  • Second Base: Matt Antonelli
  • Third Base: Chase Headley (Fort Wayne 2005)
  • Shortstop: Drew Cumberland (Fort Wayne 2008)
  • Left Field: Kyle Blanks
  • Center Field: Cedric Hunter
  • Right Field: Jaff Decker
  • No. 1 Starter: Jake Peavy (Fort Wayne 2000)
  • No. 2 Starter: Chris Young
  • No. 3 Starter: Mat Latos
  • No. 4 Starter: Adys Portillo
  • No. 5 Starter: Wade LeBlanc
  • Closer: Heath Bell  

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.

Luis Cruz Continues to Make Case for Lineup Spot

Seems odd to be admitting this, but I have been following a lot of Pittsburgh Pirates blogs and sites lately. A lot of it is becuase of the emergence (or expected emergence) of Luis Cruz. As you may recall, he descretely made his MLB debut last year; becoming the 73rd former Wizard and 11th during the 2008 campaign to do so.

After getting off to a torrid start in Winter League play this offseason, Cruz hasn’t appeared an many games. However, he’s back at it. Afte r aslow start in his return, he’s picking up momentum again:

SS Luis Cruz doubled to lead off the 7th inning for Obregon, then moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and scored on an RBI single, giving Obregon the tying run.  Another run, on a fielding error and a single, gave Obregon the lead.  In the 8th, Cruz hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, bringing in another run.  Obregon scored two more insurance runs on a walk, a hit batter, and two wild pitches [Sandlot Swashbucklers].

Apparently, Cruz favors playing competitively all year long too, as he remains a possibility to play with the Mexican squad in the World Baseball Classic. He appeared in 5 games during the 2006 edition, but had no hits in one at-bat.

Cruz played with the Wizards in 2003 after he came to the Padres via a trade with the Boston Red Sox for 2B Cesar Crespo. He appeared in 129 games and posted a .231 average with 8 home runs, 53 RBI’s and 2 stolen bases while walking just 30 times over 481 at-bats. On the bright side, he struck out just 55 times. His lackluster offense and propensity to ground into double-plays (he led the team with 15) left much to be desired. Since that time, he’s played in a handful of other organizations, but is finally emerging as a viable ML utility middle infielder. 2009 may in fact be his year.

With Varitek, Ross and Cash Out, is Kottaras In?

With the Boston Red Sox seemingly parting ways with Jason Varitek, David Ross joining the Braves and having the Yankees snagging the now former Red Sox catcher, Kevin Cash, today, former Wizards catcher Goerge Kottaras is seemingly the incumbant Red Sox catcher. For now anyway.

Kottaras sports a hefty .200 batting average in 3 games and 5 at-bats at the major league level after having made his MLB debut last season. He was once a highly regarded prospect. In 2004, Kottaras played in the Olympics as first baseman and backup catcher for the Greece team. He collected three hits to help the team come from behind and defeat Italy 11-7. It was the team’s first and only win.

George Kottaras Might be a Starter in 2009The following year, he did well at High-A, batting .303 before his promotion to Double-A Mobile. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox in September of 2006 to complete an Aug 31 trade for David Wells. That year, Kottaras was a Futures Game selection. During the game, he slugged a two run homer off Phillip Hughes and also collected an RBI off of Homer Bailey.

Yet, since that time, his average has been pretty much on the decline. Having spent two seasons at Triple-A Pawtucket, he got his chance very late in the 2008 season as a September callup, but the bench was pretty much full of backup catchers at that point and there was no sure thing he’d see any MLB action. Fortunately he did, and perhaps he was able to make a good impression on Francona and others.

But one has to suspect that the Red Sox will sign a catcher before (or two) before Spring Training. I’ve speculated in the past that they might try to pry away one of Texas’s young catchers, and latest word I have heard says that they were recently scouting Jarrod Saltalamacchia. There are a few catchers on the free agent market still, including two former Wizards, Jarvier Valentin and Chad Moeller (whom I thought was on his way to Baltimore). Might they take a chance on Ivan Rodriguez?

See Also: Wizards Where R They? George Kottaras

Photo by Chad Gramling

Topps Honors Include Former Wizards

Earlier in November, Topps announced their Minor League Players of the year, which included former Wizards first baseman and designated hitter, Kyle Blanks. Topps has since gone on to name the top topps players throughout each of the Minor League Baseball levels. The Single-A and Double-A levels include former Wizards players. Here’s the rundown:

Single-A Topps Players of the Year

  • Eric Sogard (2007) excelled both at bat and in the field for Lake Elsinore. Sogard led the California League with 42 doubles and ranked second with 165 hits and 79 walks. He also led all league second baseman with a .973 fielding percentage. The San Diego Padres took Sogard in the second round in 2007 out of Arizona State University.
  • Cedric Hunter (2007) led all Class A players with 186 hits while playing for the Storm. Hunter also crossed the plate 98 times, which ranked fourth in the classification. His .318 batting average was third-best
  • Kellen Kulbacki (2008) played the first month of the season with the Fort Wayne Wizards before moving up to the California League. He hit a combined .304 with 22 homers and 75 RBIs with Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore. Kulbacki’s .540 slugging percentage was 10th-best in Class A. The Padres selected him in the supplemental round (40th overall) out of James Madison (Va.) University in 2007.

 (link to article)

Double-A Topps Players of the Year

  • Kyle Blanks (2006) recorded 160 hits and drove in 107 runs for the San Antonio Missions, both second best in the Texas League. His .325 average ranked third. Blanks was also stellar in the field, with a league-best .993 fielding percentage among first basemen. The San Diego Padres took Blanks in the 42nd round in 2004 as a draft and follow. He signed with the Padres in May 2005 after attending Yavapai (Ariz.) Junior College.

 (link to article)

Possibly Related BBIFW Posts:

Instructional League Update

A few days ago, I reported on some of the performances of former Wizards in the Arizona Fall League. MiLB did the same today.

Padres’ vice president of scouting and player development, Grady Fuson had encouraging words for many of the recent Wizards. Selected, relevant portions of the article are below:

[Jeremy] Hefner was in Arizona to work on converting his slider to a curveball, a pitch the Padres think will prove a more than capable complement to his fastball.

Outfielder Brad Chalk, 22, was in Arizona to refine his swing. Chalk hit .275 in 104 games at Class A Fort Wayne last season with a .354 on-base percentage.

The most improved position players were outfielder Danny Payne

The Padres also handed out a new award that recognized the player who exemplified leadership among his peers. The recipient was outfielder Brian Joynt, who hit .304 as a third baseman with Lake Elsinore but will likely end up in the outfield.

Pitcher Nick Schmidt, the Padres’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2007 who missed the 2008 season after having elbow surgery, is pitching in the Dominican instructional league.

Pitcher Matt Bush, the former No. 1 Draft pick who made the conversion from shortstop to pitcher in 2007, had a sore triceps and was shut down before the end of instructional league. He’ll be ready for Spring Training.

Some other players mentioned – such as Outfielder Blake Tekotte, infielder Edinson Rincon and pitcher Gary Pointer – are young talents who have not yet played above Low-A ball and may be on their way to Fort Wayne as part of the innagural TinCaps sqaud that begins play in April 2009.

Josh Geer Has Frayed Ligament

Former Wizards pitcher, Josh Geer, made his major league debut this season, garnering a win in his first MLB start. Overall, he wnet 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts with the Padres after being promoted from Triple-A Portland. He’s expected to go into Spring Training and complete for one of the starting gigs in the 2009 rotation. However, the concern now is a frayed ligament in his elbow, which could mean simple rest, or it might mean he’s heading to Tommy John Surgery.

Geer had an MRI in San Diego on Wednesday that revealed fraying to his UCL, said general manager Kevin Towers. Towers said it’s too soon to know if surgery will be needed.

The right-hander was selected by the San Diego Padres in round three (98th overall) of the 2005 draft. He joined the Wizards for 5 games that year and collected a 1-1 record with a 4.25 ERA. He struck out 23 and walked nine in 29.2 innings pitched.

He spent about half of 2006 with the Wizards too. In 12 games, he went 6-2 with a 3.10 ERA while striking out 46 and walking 13 over 72.2 innings pitched. He also had one complete game.

Hoepfully, it will just take a couple weeks of rest and not an appointment for Tommy John surgery. The latter would sideline the young pitcher for at least 12 months, meaning we wouldn’t see him throwing again until Spring Training of 2010 or perhaps in instructional league play similar to Matt Bush and Nick Schmidt’s recoveries this year.

John Conniff Interviews Wizards

As some of you may have noticed, MadFriars.com’s John Conniff has been posting interviews he conducted with Wizards players while he was in Fort Wayne a few weeks ago. His latest include; Jeremy Hefner, Luis Durago, and Robert Perry. (Note: these are links to subscriber-only content).

Also, Ryne Sandberg has some good things to say about Wynn Pelzer.