It's really hard to pick a Padres farmhand who's had the most impressive start to the 2011 campaign, and it's not because of a lack of candidates. Jaff Decker, Jedd Gyorko, James Darnell and Keyvius Sampson are all having exceptional seasons so far, but the one who's stood out the most has to be Anthony Rizzo, formerly of the Boston Red Sox.
Rizzo was one of the major pieces in the Adrian Gonzalez trade, and he's done nothing but hit since joining the Padres. His average stands at a ridiculous .389 right now, pacing the team—and the organization—with seven homers and 32 RBI in only 23 games. Always a patient hitter, Rizzo has an 11-to-19 BB-to-K ratio and has actually shown some sneaky speed, stealing three bases. He also leads the team with 23 runs, eight doubles and 68 total bases.
The Padres couldn't have hoped for a better start for Rizzo, who could reach the big leagues as early as the All-Star break if he keeps hitting like he is now. With Gonzalez's departure, the Padres have had to use a makeshift combo of Jorge Cantu and Brad Hawpe at first base, and both players are currently hitting below .200.
As mentioned above, no pitcher has gotten off to as good a start as Keyvius Sampson, the team's fourth-round pick from 2009. After a solid debut in 2009, Sampson had a very good year in 2010, showing dominating stuff and impressive command.
He's back at it again this year, allowing a ridiculous 11 hits in 26 innings, good for an opponents' batting average of .129, one of the lowest averages in the minors. He's recorded 33 strikeouts and is about on pace with his career K/9 average. He's come out victorious in four of his five starts and has a 2.77 ERA, one of the best in the system. He's also continued to be incredibly stingy with the long-ball, giving up only one so far after surrendering only four last year in 43 innings. Finally pitching in full-season ball, Sampson could move quickly for a team desperately in need of starting pitching at the upper levels of the minors.