I hope all of you readers are having a Happy Holiday season and are readying yourselves for Spring Training. That being said, I just read a short article on the Padres website on the subject of the 17 non-roster invitees which will be coming to Peoria in February 2012. I figured it would be nice if I did a short analysis of the article and discussed which prospects that I was the most intrigued by and why. So hit that “Continue Reading” button and let’s get started:
Pitchers Provide the Most Excitement/Hope:
The prospects that I am most excited to get a look at are the “Young Guns” which helped San Antonio to the 2011 Texas League Championship: Pitchers Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, and Joe Wieland.
With Latos, Harang, and LeBlanc gone from the Padres’ 2011 Starting Pitching staff, the Padres may need these guys sooner rather than later. And in March, these youngsters will get a chance to show their stuff against some big league competition. All 22 years of age and below, Padres fans could get a glimpse of what the team’s starting pitching staff could look like over the next decade if they perform as well as advertised.
I for one am excited to finally see what the Padres received in exchange for Gonzalez and Adams up close. If two or three of these guys pan-out, by 2014 the Padres could have a solid young staff consisting of Kelly, Erlin, Wieland, Cory Luebke or a combination along those lines.
I could go on for days about the starters, but two Relief Pitchers the Padres acquired this off-season could find themselves playing for San Diego before Kelly, Erlin, and Wieland. Cory Burns (Cunningham trade) and Brad Boxberger (Latos trade) could be asked to upgrade a bullpen that has lost Mike Adams and All-Star Heath Bell over the last couple of months. Both of these players should receive strong looks from the coaching staff. And in the event that one or both perform well, they could find themselves on the big league roster sooner rather than later to compliment Luke Gregerson, new Closer Huston Street, and the rest of the Padres’ bullpen.
Jedd Gyorko Factor:
If you haven’t heard of Jedd Gyorko, Spring Training could be your chance to get a view of one of the Padres’ best positional players in the minors. Gyorko, a 2nd Round pick in 2010, has been crushing the ball during his minor league apprenticeship and had a fantastic season playing at both Single-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio in 2011.
The issue with Gyorko making the team however is that he is a 3rd Baseman. With Chase Headley in front of him, Jedd could run into some trouble with regards to playing every day with the Padres in the future. But the Headley and Gyorko situation could pay big dividends for the Padres if the Padres can get Gyorko to change positions.
While he has been a 3rd Baseman during his minor league career, Gyorko has spent time playing other positions as well. In an interview with Corey Brock, Gyorko talks about his experience playing Shortstop and Second Base at the college level.
In fact, Gyorko won the Brooks Wallace Award at the University of West Virginia. The Wallace Award for those of you that don’t know is given to the country’s best Shortstop in Division I baseball.
In the event San Diego moves Headley to make room for Gyorko the issue will be solved. Yet if the Padres decide to keep Headley, sign him to a long term deal, and Gyorko ends up working out at Second Base and/or Shortstop when he comes up to the majors, the Padres coiuld not only upgrade their lineup offensively, but they will also fill a void at a position of enormous on the diamond.
Wishful thinking I know, but these non-roster invitee can at least give us Padres fans some hope down the line. It is nice to see that the Front Office has made the attempt to develop players and improve the minor league system over the last couple of years. This Spring should be the first time that many of us will get to see these youngsters up close and see how they stack up. While most of them will likely start their seasons back in the minors, we could very well be watching some future-2012 September call-ups. 2012 could be another “rebuilding” and losing season, but getting a look at some of these recently acquired youngsters could give us Friar Fans a preview of success to come.
Now I would like to hear from you the readers. Tell me who you intrigues you most of these non-roster invitees and why. Moreover, let me know what you think these guys can bring to the table in the future.
Hope all of you have a Happy Holiday season and Go Padres!
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