by Ben Davey
Well so much for that fantastic start, it looks like the team might be headed for the toilet yet again. As we watch the year slowly and painfully unwind we begin to use the term “rebuilding.” Rebuilding generally implies that we would call up people from AAA (and possibly AA) to get their feet wet in the majors. But that then begs the question who exactly would we call up? The answer is rather troubling.
Top prospect Kyle Blanks is off to a great start .300/.411/.500/.911, second on the team in HR (4), RS (12), and is tied for the club lead in RBI (14). He also leads the team in walks with 13 (1 ahead of Macias). As we all know the problem is that the one “lock” on the Padres in Adrian Gonzalez. They are slowly transitioning Blanks to the OF (and LF), but in order for him to get playing time in the majors, LF would have to be open (which would mean Kouz or Headley would get traded). That might be a problem.
The leader in HR, RBI, and RS on that Portland team is Will Venable who has come a long way in his power dovelopment. The biggest problem is that in 85 AB he has struck out 24 times. Over a 600 AB season that would equate to nearly 170 strikeouts (169.41 to be exacty). In addition, the “speedy” CF has yet to steal a bag. One of the biggest flaws on the Padres is thier inability to steal a base. An OF who strikes out 170 times and doesnt steal a base (despite his actual speed) will find it hard to be a mainstay in the majors.
But thats okay because #1 Padre prospect (according to Madfriars) Cedric Hunter is also a CF. He is in AA but could still be called up to make an immediate impact. Well after leading ALL OF MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL in hits last year, Hunter has managed 16 hits, good for 6th on the club. His .186/.239/.233/.472 line with 0 HR and only 1 SB is really starting to scare some prognosticators. Yes, its early in the season, but he has been completely unimpressive.
And pitching….OMG don’t get me started on pitching! They have looked bad, REAL bad. Of the three AAA starters Ramos, Leblanc, and Buschmann; Ramos has the best ERA (4.30) but has more BB (15) then K (13). Leblanc is sporting a 6.05 ERA although has a near 3:1 K:BB ratio and a 9.78 K/9. Buschmann is just bad: 9.13 ERA, 11 BB, 14 K, OUCH. Go down to AA and former 1st rounder Cesar Carrillo is showing off a 5.86 ERA and 12 BB to only 7 K. Inman has been good recently but needs to be more consistant before he can be thought of as a real contender to be a Padre. Culp and Farishave both pitched well, but no offense to them, I dont see them as much more than another Josh Geer, Germano, Ramos, etc… pitcher
Anyway for my “rebuilding predictions.” I would love to say “Padres trade Giles, move Headley to RF and play Blanks in LF” but I know that wont happen mainly because right now no one wants Giles. Here is what I do see happening…
1) Padres trade Eckstein and LRod for prospects. Bothhave shown value to a contending club by putting the ball in play and playing fairly good defense. The Padres should be able to get a fairly decent prospect (or a reliever) for both of them (obviously separate trades). As a result Cabrerra takes over at short, and despite not playing in a game (yet), I think by the all-star break Antonelli will be pushing for playing time in San Diego. He is promoted and becomes the starter with Burke has the backup and Edgar to take up space.
2) Padres trade Kouz for a starter. Padres desperately need a #3 starter behind Peavy and CY. Gaudin might be able to stick, but they need help in the department, and in case you couldn’t tell, there is no immediate help coming from the minors. This allows the Padres to move Headley back to 3rd and promote Blanks. It will still be a work in progress in LF but Hairston/Gerut will be able to help as well as late inning D
3) Padres play with the waiver wire some more trying to mix and match a good bullpen.
As for 2010, I (still) see the lineup looking like this:
*Although Anton and Gerut might be switched*