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Four Things For A Friday: Prospect Breakdown, Josh Naylor, Pedro Avila, and a Tank Update

“Presents are the best way to show someone how much you care.  It is like this tangible thing that you can point to and say, “Hey man, I love you this many dollars-worth.”” – Michael Scott

Photo: TinCaps

 

There are times when I want to write about something, but there’s not enough meat on the bone for a full-blown article.  Other times, there’s something that I think is worth mentioning, but don’t feel like getting too deep into it.  I’m going to try to save a few of those things for a Friday column.  This is that column.

 

Breakdown of the Top 50 Prospects

Alright, so we here at Padres Prospectus came out with our Top 50 Prospects list a while back (53 days ago to be precise).  Plenty of things have happened in that time: Fernando Tatis Jr. and  Michel Baez have been beasts, Pedro Avila became much harder to hit, Franchy Cordero got called up, etc. etc.  This is not an update of that list – that will probably take place in the offseason, and will be made my myself along with the rest of the other distinguished writers on the site.

Today though, I just wanted to take a look at who I would consider to be in the Top 50 right now, and without looking at order, see a) what level they were at, and b) how they were acquired.  While I’m sure that my list left off that one guy you love or included that one guy you hate (feel free to yell in the comments) I thought it’d be interesting to look at the breakdowns.

Gray = Triple-A, Blue = Double-A, Pink = High-A, Green = Single-A, Purple = Low-A, Orange = Rookie

Kinda fun, right?  And colorful!  Anyways, a few trends here.

  • An even 50% of the list is comprised of pitchers, mostly starters.
  • A little less than half of the International Signees are still in rookie league, though if we expanded the list, it’d include a bunch more.
  • Over a fifth of the list is comprised of players acquired by trades, which is pretty impressive, I think. I don’t think many teams would have this many in their Top 50.
  • There is only one player in the Top 50 in Triple-A right now, and only five active players at High-A (Espinoza and Paddack are both injured, but I put them there anyways).

Looking at this list, I think El Paso and Lake Elsinore will have some pretty fun teams to watch next year.

 

Josh Naylor Can’t Get No Respect

I mentioned it in this morning’s edition of The Scoop, but last night, with one out in the eighth, the game tied at five, and runners on second and third, the Springfield Cardinals opted to intentionally walk Javier Guerra, loading the bases for Josh Naylor.  I fell asleep pretty early last night, so I missed it live, and perhaps there was some nuanced reason to do this.  Obviously, with only one out and runners in scoring position, having a chance to get out of the inning on a double play is enticing.  I kind of get it.

Naylor, who was the youngest player in the Texas League at the time of his call up, was described by FanGraphs today as a player that “doesn’t hit for huge power in games due his ground-ball bat path and willingness to swing at pitches that aren’t really punishable.”

Sounds like a guy you’d want to have up in that situation, right?  Well, it didn’t work out for Springfield, as Naylor hit a bases clearing double, plating all three runners, and the Missions would win by an 8-5 score.

Like I said, I didn’t see it live, but I’d like to think that Naylor, who is hitting .294/.359/.447 between High-A and Double-A this season, felt pretty disrespected by that.  Especially since Guerra, they guy they didn’t want to pitch to, has a .226/.271/.354 line between the same levels this year.  I like to think that he was so salty about the disrespect, that he stole third base out of spite to the Cardinals (although in reality, it may have been, like, a ball that scooted away from the catcher and Naylor just took off – like I said, it was a rare Missions game that I missed).

Anyways, I know that Naylor doesn’t hit for the power that everyone (myself included) would like, but I still think he’s a good hitter, and I’m glad he stuck it to the Cardinals last night.

 

So, Yeah, That Pedro Avila Guy

If you had told me at the beginning of the season that a Padres minor leaguer was going to have 17 strikeouts in one game, Avila wouldn’t have been on my top 20 list.  Though he was striking out a lot of batters in High-A at the beginning of the season (53 K’s in 43.1 innings), he was still allowing too many base runners (1.57 WHIP) and too many runs (4.98 ERA) to be that effective.

Well, something seems to have clicked in Single-A, and I don’t think it’s just the lower level of competition.  Without digging too much into the numbers (this is my lazy piece, give me a break) he’s been walking fewer batters, allowing fewer hits, and going deeper into games.  Those are all good things.

What I wanted to look at was who he was facing.  Yes I know that regardless of the competition, striking out 17 batters in eight innings is pretty remarkable.  At first, I worried that looking deeper into this would discredit Avila, but I don’t think that it does.

Great Lakes Loons shortstop Gavin Lux is the Dodgers no.9 prospect, who struck out once against Avila.  Starling Heredia is LA’s no.11 prospect, an outfielder with a 50 hit tool.  He struck out three times against Avila.  The last of the ranked prospects are Starling Heredia and Connor Wong, ranked 24th and 26th, respectively.  They combined to strikeout against Avila five times.

So, out of the 17 strikeouts Avila had on Tuesday night, over half of them were against Top 30 prospects in the Dodgers organization.  That is pretty good.

EEEHHHH…. I almost debated ending it there, but in the interest of trying to not be TOO big of a homer, it’s worth pointing out that four of the players in the Loons lineup that night had batting averages below the Mendoza line, and the highest batting average in the lineup was Jared Walker‘s .237.

 

Tank Update

On the most recent Padres Prospectus Podcast, Chad and I wondered if maybe “the tank” was over.  The Padres were coming off a winning homestand (5-4) against the Mets, Pirates, and Twins, and had gone .500 since the All-Star break (11-11).  We mostly defended the position that they should still be tanking (and really, anybody who doesn’t think that they should needs to take a look at the numbers for the No.3 pick from the June draft, MacKenzie Gore – I can guarantee that the Phillies fanbase isn’t celebrating like we do when whoever their No.7 pick was has a good game, because the ceilings are so different), but it was one of those, “Well, if they keep on winning/not losing enough, I guess the tank is over,” kind of deals.

Well, since then, they dropped three of four to the woeful Reds, and are now heading to Los Angeles to face the hotter than hot Dodgers.  Their current record is 50-64, good for a .439 winning percentage, which is the seventh worst in the league.  Here’s who’s ahead of them, for now:

Current as of games played on August 10, 2017

Losing the series to the Reds helped get to within a few games of them and the A’s, and playing six games against the Giants (including the last series of the year) will decide a lot towards the final win/loss total.

The Padres have 48 games left in the season, and will run into the National League West 29 times, including ten games against the Dodgers.  While the recent run has been impressive, it will be tough to sustain, as they also play the Nationals four times and the Cardinals seven times.  The only teams they have left on the schedule with a losing record (besides San Francisco) are Philadelphia (three games) and Miami (three games).  That means 36 games against teams that are over .500.

I don’t think the tank has seen its last run.

 

Other things that didn’t just missed the cut:

  • Man, What Is The Deal With Dusty Coleman, That Guy Just Keeps Hitting and I’m Waiting For It To Stop But I Kind Of Like It Even If It Hurts The Tank (Okay, Maybe Not That Much).
  • Predicting late season call ups – i.e. Franchy Cordero, Jabari Blash, Ryan Schimpf, and a handful of pitchers from El Paso.
  • Breaking down all the players in the Padres minor leagues by country of origin.  Ugh, that’d be a really long list, but I’d like to see all the countries these guys are from.  If anybody else wants to do it, feel free to take this idea and run with it.