by Ben Davey
So I am not sure why the Fort Wayne logo is an apple with a tin cap on its head, but whatever (I liked Wizards better). Anyway, with the season set to start I will (finally) finish off the tour of the minors with the lowest full season club, the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. Fort Wayne is a place where young Dominican kids first get to experience what we in the states call “weather.” The icy conditions in the early months of the season make the MidWest league one of the toughest places to play, especially considering most of these kids are between the ages of 18-21 and experiencing their first full year in the majors.
So anyway my projected starting lineup will be as follows:
Leading off DAN ROBERTSON (CF)- What didn’t Robertson do last year? He was the NWL MVP, and in doing so set a new record for hits in a year. In 73 games he hit .377/.443/.497/.940 34/34 BB/K, and 20 SB. The kid (although he is older then me, haha) is only 5’8″. If you want a comparison to him, look no further than Eric Owens. This kid goes all out, all the time. Great player to coach, loves to get dirty, and with his attitude and speed plays an above average defense.
2) Cole Figureoa (SS)- Drafted in the 6th round out of U. of Florida, Cole is another above average athlete, who fits in the mold of the Sandy Alderson philosophy. Last year in 32 games he hit .289/.410/.474/.894 with 24 BB to 16 K, 7 SB, and 5 HR. He plays good defense, and can both steal a bag and hit a HR.
*There are some rumors that Cumberland will be back in Fort Wayne, but unless they move Cole to L.E. I don’t see Cumberland anywhere other than up the 15.
3) Jaff Decker (RF)- Supplemental 1st rd pick. Won the AZL MVP, named Baseball America’s Rookie all star. He “only” hit .352/.523/.541/1.064. Yes, that’s right, he had an OBP over .500. 55 BB to 36 K with 9 SB in 49 Games. He was unstoppable. Just turned 19 a month ago, was probably the most advanced HS prospect in last years draft. He could probably be starting in Lake Elsinore except for people like Tekotte, Carroll, Chalk , etc… plus he is only 19 and there is no need to rush him. Fuson and co. are in love with him and is a top 5 prospect. The Padres are putting him on a strict diet because they feel the only reason why the rest of baseball doesn’t love him is he looks like PMac. Anyway, look for him to put up big numbers in FtWayne.
4) Logan Forsythe (3B)- Forsythe was actually drafted ahead of Darnell (who I think will start in LE) as he was in the supplemental portion of the 1st rd, right behind Jaff Decker. As many of you know Forsythe was injured just 3 games into the Eugene season. He is viewed as a guy who will hit for a high average, has great control of the strike zone (another Sandy guy) and can steal a few bases. He has hit a lot of 2B in college but not many HR. However, management thinks that as he gets older this will translate to HR. On Depo’s blog he captured a minor league video from March 24th. In the video it shows Forsythe teeing off of #1 pick (2007) for the Rangers Blake Beaven. (nice video).
5) Matthew Clark (1B)- Clark led the college ranks last year in HR. Guy has tremendous power (top 5 in the Padres system). In Ft. Wayne he hit .286/.384/.443/.827 5 HR. After an offseason of rest this 12th season draft pick will face a tough challenge in Fort Wayne.
*LProbable that he will split time with last years MWL HR derby champ Felix Carrasco, who will more than likely repeat Fort Wayne.
6) Yefri Carvajal (LF)- From my sources, Carvajal will be repeating Fort Wayne. Former top 5 prospect, Carvajal still has all the tools to be an MLB all star. Just turned 20 in January, drastically needs to improve on his 25 BB to 100 K last year. Also only a .357 SLG and 4 SB, he looked more like a flop…but the potential is still there. So good luck my friend.
7) Adam Zornes/Robert Lara (C)- Lara tore up the AZL last year to a tune .344/.490/.484/.974 more BB than K, and showed tremendous hitting abilities. Zornes was a 7th rd draft pick out of Rice. In limited action he only hit .261/.320/.304/.624. However, Zornes has tremendous power and is above average defensively. They will probably split time so it will be fun to see Power vs average.
8 – Andrew Parrino/Beemer Weems/Kevin Acosta/Kelsey Marte….(2B/SS)- I will be honest, I really have no idea on 2B. The first Padre draft pick whose “position” was 2B was not till rd 21 (Joeseph Railey). Parrino is the incumbent, but many others will challenge him for the position, and of course can play short and Figueroa can move over the 2nd.
*Of course there is a DH in Fort Wayne, but my guess is it will mainly be either Clark/Carrasco (whoever is not starting) or someone like Aaron Murphee who led the AZL in HR last year.
1) Mat Latos- Everyone already knows about him, so I don’t think I need to say much more
2) Anthony Bass- 6th rd last year, 2.10 ERA, 41 K in 34 IP, has above average stuff will be fun to watch
3) Chris Wilkes- Passed up a scholarship to be an SEC quarterback to play for the Padres. Did great in AZL last year, and has a heavy sinker that he can use to induce ground balls
4) Stiven Osuna- Above average fastball, a latin american signee, one of the top 30 Padre prospects. 7-3, 2.18 ERA, a WHIP just above 1.
5) Any number of guys: Jose De Paula, Anthony Albers, Tyson Bagley, or many others.
*There was some talk of top prospect Aldys Portillo being in Fort Wayne, however he will stay in America but will be in AZL, if things go well you might see him end up in the NWL and in Fort Wayne in 2010.
It is too much of a crap shoot to name bench and relievers. So hopefully this was semi informative for you guys. Less then 2 weeks till the season begins!!!!