The San Diego Padres, though currently playing a satisfactory season, are still very much in their rebuilding phase.
However, with the new O'Malley ownership giving GM Josh Byrnes the green light to re-sign veterans such as Huston Street, Mark Kotsay and Carlos Quentin, they seem to be ready to contend as soon as next year.
Through trading notable players such as Adrian Gonzalez, Mat Latos and Anthony Rizzo, the Padres have garnered a top-tier farm system, which MinorLeagueBall.com currently ranks as the second best in the MLB.
So which prospects should the Padres call up to give a taste of the major leagues?
Jedd Gyorko is arguably the most anticipated call-up who is still in the minor leagues.
Though his primary position is third base (currently inhabited by the Padres' best player, Chase Headley), the team has been experimenting with moving him around to shortstop and second base.
Drafted 59th overall by the Padres, Gyorko has been on an absolute tear in the AAA Pacific Coast League.
At just 23 years old, he has hit 30 home runs and 100 RBI this season, according to Baseball-Reference. More impressive still is his .311 batting average, .921 OPS and 28 doubles on the season.
These numbers would instantly put him in the same league as Headley and add to the Padres' anemic offense.
The Padres' offensive strategy is no secret: get runners on and use their speed to be aggressive on the basepath.
Petco Park—with its spacious outfield, marine layer and odd angles—is one of the biggest pitchers' parks in the MLB. Some have even argued the team should move the fences in to make the playing field more even. However, the Padres have built their team around the park, and as a result, they play "small ball."
Cory Spangenberg fits perfectly into this scheme. He has above-average speed—swiping 27 bags in Lake Elsinore this season—and his on-base percentage of .324 allows him to see pitchers and read their movements.
The best reason for his immediate call-up is his position. He plays middle infield—usually second base—which has been a weak area for the Padres the entire season.
After the promotion of top pitching prospect Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin should be the next to answer the call. Kelly's quick success, along with the news Andrew Cashner will be out the remainder of the season, should make this prediction fairly imminent.
Through 14 starts with AA San Antonio, Erlin has a 2.82 ERA, 1.25 WHIP and an impressive 11.9 K/9. With these numbers, Erlin could fit into either the bullpen or rotation, similar to notable stars Aroldis Chapman and Neftali Feliz.
Similar to Spangenberg, Rymer Liriano has elite speed and defense. Through this season with AA San Antonio, Liriano has stolen 32 bases while maintaining a .350 on-base percentage.
The most appealing part about Liriano's call-up is his ability to play right field, currently played by the much-criticized Will Venable. The Padres currently rank Liriano as their top prospect yet to be called up.
This past year he was selected to the prestigious 2012 Futures Game along with fellow Padres prospect Yasmani Grandal, and against notable top prospects that include Dylan Bundy, Wil Myers and Manny Machado.