Sitting in fourth place in the National League West with a .400 record, the San Diego Padres will be sellers at the trade deadline. They have major trade pieces (Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley, Huston Street), who if traded will open up roster spots for deserving prospects in the Padres' farm system, ranked No. 1 in 2012 by ESPN.
This list ranks the players who have most earned a promotion in 2012 to the majors from the Padres' minor-league system. Blue-chip prospects, fan favorites, feel-good stories and 'quad-A' players populate this list. A notable exclusion is Jaff Decker due to injury. Think that I missed someone? Post him in the comments so we can get a discussion going.
One thing is for certain: Watching baseball is about to get very fun again in San Diego.
(Photo courtesy of wvillustrated.com)
The new contract should have provided the Padres with a team leader at an under-market price. Instead, the club has had to option Hundley to AAA this season to fix his troubled approach at the plate, but he has continued to fail, even in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Hopefully, Hundley can turn things around and get back to San Diego, but he may not have a job when he does if catcher prospect Yasmani Grandal continues to hit like an All-Star. It will be a good problem for the Padres to have.
Erik Hamren is turning in a terrific season as a Triple-A pitcher in the Pacific Coast League (PCL), averaging over a strikeout per nine innings (10.8 K/9) and a 3.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the notoriously pitching-unfriendly PCL.
Even though he had limited success in his cup of tea with the Padres last season, Hamren deserves another chance with the club.
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After turning out a triple slash line of .292/.363/.498 in 2011 in his first season in AAA, Matt Clark is putting up an even more impressive .302/.375/.509 this season. At 25, Clark should be called up this season so the Padres can see once and for all if he is more than merely a "quad-A" player.
(Photo courtesy of MLB.com)
Jeremy McBryde is probably on his last legs as a "prospect." At 26, he's just in Double-A but is having the best season of his career. The Padres might as well bring him up to The Show to capitalize on his upward-pointing arrow and evaluate him more closely.
(Photo courtesy of Madfriars.com)
Cory Burns seems destined to be called up by San Diego this season. Acquired by the Padres last season via trade with the Cleveland Indians for Aaron Cunningham, Burns has dominated the PCL for the Tucson Padres this season.
(Photo Courtesy DAVID SANDERS / ARIZONA DAILY STAR)
Andrew Werner is relishing his opportunity to pitch in an MLB farm system. Signed in 2010 as an undrafted free agent after spending 2010 in the Independent League, the 25-year-old Werner has accumulated very impressive peripherals in Double-A this season.
He could be given a chance to sit in the Padres' bullpen later this summer when rosters expand on September 1.
(Photo courtesy of MiLB.com)
Granted that Cody Decker plays the same position as Matt Clark, he brings much more power to the dish than Clark and is the more prominent prospect. Struggling in Triple-A after his promotion earlier this season, Decker could see time in San Diego in September regardless based on his massive power potential (.366 ISO in AA in 2012).
(Photo courtesy of MiLB.com)
Vince Belnome plays a premium position and one of need for the Padres. He has risen quickly through the Padres' system, successfully dominating the pitching in every minor-league level in which he's played.
Padres fans can look forward to years of Belnome manning second base for the club. The years of washed-up veterans like Orlando Hudson playing second base will soon be over. Hop on the bandwagon now.
(Photo courtesy of mysanantonio.com)
The future middle infield of the Padres could appear this summer in San Diego. Vince Belnome and Jonathan Galvez will provide much-needed stability for years for the big club. Galvez is young (21 years old) but he's already played in the Padres' Spring Training and is currently having great success in the pitching-friendly Texas League.
(Photo courtesy of chickenfriars.com)
Though he is currently on the minor-league disabled list, top Padres pitching prospect Robbie Erlin is close to resuming pitching off the mound.
As we've reviewed before, Erlin has proven without a doubt that he is the future for the San Diego Padres. If his rehab goes well, then he will find himself in Petco later this summer.
(Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)
Jedd Gyorko will soon be the best player on the San Diego Padres.
Named a top 10 prospect at his position by MLB.com prior to 2012, Gyorko is not disappointing—he is sporting a 154 wRC+ in the PCL as a 23-year-old playing quality defense at the hot corner. While no Chase Headley with the glove, Gyorko is a big reason why the organization will listen to offers for the best defensive third baseman in the National League.
(Photo courtesy of ESPN.com)