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Weekly Prospect Review, June 19-25

Photo: Marcus Pond

While the Padres put together a rare week of .500 baseball, another week of minor league baseball is in the books.  The TinCaps and Storm had abbreviated weeks, as they had breaks for their All-Star games, while the Missions wrapped finished strong leading into their All-Star break (their All-Star game takes place tomorrow).

José Rondon – SS, El Paso Chihuahuas (Triple-A)

8 for 26 (.308), HR, 2B, 2 R, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 SB

The 23-year-old shortstop had his stock take a bit of a hit after a poor eight-game performance with the Padres last year, but he’s had a solid season so far, hitting .294/.343/.433 in San Antonio.  He was promoted to El Paso this week, and will look to inch closer to the major leagues again.  While he’s probably not the starting shortstop of the Padres future, he could be a utility-type player or a stop-gap until they find a long-term solution.

Brett Kennedy – SP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

13.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 13 K

Another consistent week from Kennedy, in which he had two outings that were equally effective: a six inning go in which he allowed a run on five hits and six K’s, and another in which he threw seven shutout innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out seven.  An unheralded 11th round pick from 2015, he’s become a big weapon in San Antonio’s rotation.  While he lacks the gaudy strikeout numbers of Michael Kelly and Kyle Lloyd (who are likely due for a promotion to Triple-A), it’s his control and ability to draw soft contact that helps make him successful.  I mean, he’s still striking out almost a batter an inning this year too, and that’s nothing to sniff at.

Brad Wieck – RP, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

2.1 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 5 K

He had a few rough outings early on in the season, but Wieck has currently put together eight consecutive scoreless outings, lowering his ERA to 2.70 on the season.  In those eight shutout performances, he has 13 strikeouts in 7.1 innings, which exactly what you’d want to see out of a 25-year-old in Double-A.  With a 15.2 K/9 rate, you’d think he’d be on his way to El Paso sooner or later, but the bugaboo this season has been walks, which he’s been allowing at a 4 BB/9 rate – far too high to be an effective reliever.  He’s allowed just two in his last ten appearances, and none this week, so that’s a step in the right direction for the 6’9″ lefty.

Luis Urías – 2B, San Antonio Missions (Double-A)

8 for 27 (.296), 2B, 7 R, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K

June has not been kind to one of the Padres top position player prospects.  After posting a .913 OPS in April and May, he had a .196 batting average for the month coming into this week.  While it’s maybe a little premature to say that he’s out of his slump, he had a solid week, notching his second extra base hit of the month, and raising his batting average to .312 on the year.  He’s still walking more than he strikes out, which is great, so here’s hoping a spike in his .269 BABIP leads to more success as he moves into the second half of the year.

Austin Allen – C, Lake Elsinore Storm (High-A)
5 for 16 (.313), 3 HR, 2 2B, 4 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K

It was a short week for the Storm, but the easy standout in the handful of games was catcher/DH Austin Allen.  He hit over .300, and every hit was for extra bases, including three dingers.  His walk rate (10.9%) and K rate (22.3%) are fairly average for the Padres system, and if he can continue to show his power, even in the Cal League, he could increase his prospect stock significantly.

Logan Allen – SP, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

6.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 10 K

I’m running out of things to say about Logan Allen at this point, so here’s the greatest hits:

  • He’s consistent and hasn’t allowed more than three runs or three walks in any of his starts this year.
  • He should get a call up to Lake Elsinore sooner or later.
  • He is racking up strikeouts, currently at 85 in 68.1 innings.  In his outing yesterday, he struck out a career high 10.

Brad Zunica – 1B/DH, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Single-A)

6 for 11 (.545), 2 HR, 1 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K

I’ve been really high on Zunica’s teammate Fernando Tatis Jr., who is a super promising shortstop with some power in his bat, but it’s Zunica that leads the TinCaps in homers with 11, two ahead of Tatis.  Even more impressive is that Zunica has done it in 99 fewer plate appearances than Tatis.  Splitting time with GK Young has cut into his playing time, and he’ll need to bring down his 37% K rate if he wants to continue to advance in the organization, but the power is undoubtedly there.

Tre Carter – OF, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

8 for 26 (.307), 1 3B, 1 2B, 6 R, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 12 K

Ooh, speaking of K rates.  Carter didn’t lead the organization in strikeouts this week (that honor would go to his teammate Justin Lopez, who is the youngest player in the league), but his 20 strikeouts in the first ten games of the season lead the team.  He’s still got some pop, and does damage on the basepaths when he gets on, which he will need to do a lot if he keeps whiffing at this pace.

Luis Almanzar – IF, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

(DH, SS, SS 3B, 3B, 3B)

7 for 21 (.333), 4 2B, 5 R, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K

Almost as interesting as Almanzar’s hitting line (a good chunk of strikeouts, walks, and extra base hits), is where he has played each game this week.  One of the Padres top international signees, he played two games at short, one at DH, and three at third.  They’re trying to juggle a surplus of shortstops, so between Justin Lopez and Kelvin Melean, it looks like they’re comfortable moving Almanzar around.  It will be interesting to see how he does in a full season at Low-A, but unless the aforementioned Tatis Jr. moves to Lake Elsinore (an unlikely scenario, in my opinion), there’s no spot for him in Fort Wayne.

Adrian Morejon – SP, Tri-City Dust Devils (Low-A)

5.0 IP, 3 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 6 K

While not an altogether impressive performance, it’s worth noting that Morejon is alive and well in the Northwest League.  His five inning start shows that they’re okay with giving him a little bit of a leash (most of the other starts have been of the 3-4 inning variety), and he was able to work effectively, throwing 68 pitches, 53 of which were strikes.  The velocity is reportedly in the low 90s, and the control is obviously there.

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