2014 Minor League Keeper Thoughts: San Diego Padres

Denis Poroy

The prospect staff at Fake Teams continues their fantasy prospect rankings and system reviews with an in-depth look at the San Diego Padres.

The prospect staff here at Fake Teams will be taking an in-depth look at each major league organization, including our top 10 fantasy prospects, an overview of the organization's minor league system as a whole and potential opportunities for playing time in 2014. Our goal is to provide you with more information as you prepare for minor league drafts for dynasty and keeper leagues, as well as look at players that could potentially be worth watching during the spring, as they could be in line to potentially help your fantasy team. We will be reviewing two teams per week until we are through all 30 teams, and you can see the schedule of when your favorite team will be reviewed below.

System Schedule

AL East

AL Central

AL West

NL East

NL Central

NL West

Baltimore

Chicago

Houston

Atlanta

Chicago

Arizona

Boston

Cleveland

Los Angeles

Miami

Cincinnati

Colorado

New York

Detroit

Oakland

New York

Milwaukee

Los Angeles

Tampa Bay

Kansas City

Seattle

Philadelphia

Pittsburgh

San Diego

Toronto

Minnesota

Texas

Washington

St. Louis

San Francisco
(1/23)

Organizational Overview
By Jason Hunt(@jasonsbaseball)

It was a down season for the Padres, as they finished with a 76-86 record which was good for third place in the NL West. They were sitting at .500 as late as June 28th, just 2.5 games out of first place, when they went on their longest losing streak of the season (10 games), and never recovered. The team struggled to deal with injuries in the lineup (Yonder Alonso, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin) as well as the pitching staff (Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, Huston Street). Add to it major regression from their top hitter Chase Headley, general ineffectiveness in Edinson Volquez, and even a Biogenesis-related suspension (Everth Cabrera), and it's not hard to see what led to that win total. There were a few bright spots, with Jedd Gyorko having an excellent rookie season while also learning a new position at the major league level. Outfielder Will Venable set a career high in home runs, going for a 22 HR/22 SB season to help lead the offense.

The strength of the farm system is critical to the long-term success for the Padres, as they tend to be in the lower half of the payroll spectrum despite an $80 million payroll for 2014. Thankfully, they should be seeing some of their top prospects begin to make an impact at the major league level in the next couple seasons. The system's top prospect for baseball purposes remains Austin Hedges, but will not be the top one for our fantasy-based list. Hedges is considered an elite defender, and will likely supplant Nick Hundley and Yasmani Grandal within two seasons, but doesn't have the same upside for fantasy owners given his offensive profile. To go along with him, there are a number of high-ceiling pitchers, along with toolsy outfielders like Hunter Renfroe and Rymer Liriano.

At the major league level, the main question throughout the 2014 season will likely be surrounding Chase Headley. Headley recently agreed to a 1 year, $10.525 million salary in his final year before free agency, and it remains to be seen whether the team will look to sign him to a long-term extension, try to move him at the trade deadline, or let him walk at the end of the season. If the Padres fall out of contention, it would seem a lot more likely that they will try to trade him to a contender and help load up their system even further.

Overall, the farm system is set to deliver additional help over the next 2-3 years, which could help the Padres compete for a playoff spot in a division that is getting stronger every year. They can build around players like Gyorko, Andrew Cashner, and Ian Kennedy in the short term, while supplementing them with Hedges, Wisler, and some of the other names below as they become ready to contribute as well.

2013 Graduates

The following players have surpassed their rookie maximums of 130 AB, 50 IP, or 45 days of service time prior to September 1st of this year.

Nick Vincent (service time), Robbie Erlin (innings), Brad Boxberger (service time), Jedd Gyorko (at bats)

Major League Opportunities in 2014
By Jason Hunt(@jasonsbaseball)

Despite the poor record, there are actually not a lot of opportunities for a prospect to breakthrough on the offensive side. Last year's top prospect Jedd Gyorko solidified the second base position, and barring a trade of Chase Headley before the start of the season, has locked up the rest of the infield. In the outfield, we could see both Cameron Maybin and Seth Smith splitting time in the third outfield spot next to Will Venable and Carlos Quentin, or potentially both of them should the oft-injured Quentin get hurt again.

The team has acquired two of its' top starting pitchers in the past 12 months, trading for Ian Kennedy and signing free agent Josh Johnson to a 1 year contract. Beyond that, most of the opportunities for prospects will come in the back end of the rotation. Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are locked into the 3rd and 4th spots of the rotation, and some combination of Cory Luebke, Casey Kelly, Burch Smith, Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin will look to nail down the fifth spot. They also signed free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit to a three year contract, and will likely serve as insurance should closer Huston Street get hurt again this year. It's possible we see at least one of those starting pitcher candidates in the bullpen this year as well, but their fantasy value would be extremely low should that happen.

Top 10 Fantasy Prospects
By Brian Creagh(@briancreagh)

Our top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are based upon standard 5x5 fantasy baseball leagues, with a balancing of ceiling and present value. While we are having discussions regarding these lists as a collective group, the top 10 fantasy prospect rankings are finalized by the writer listed above. Players are no longer considered prospects once they exceed either 130 at bats, 50 innings pitched, or 45 days of service time in the Majors prior to September 1st.

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Photo Credit: Denis Poroy - Getty Images

#1 Max Fried (LHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

6

0

3.5

1.38

100

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

118.2

0.53

2.07

11.2%

20.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

L/L

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

The Fried/Wisler debate for the top of the list was one of the most difficult for this entire series. It comes down to Fried's high ceiling and low floor vs. Wisler's lower ceiling and higher floor. Fried's potential as a frontline fantasy starter is what ultimately gives him the nod. If I can only hold a few minor leaguers on my roster, I'm going to favor the ones with a chance to be something special. Fried has that potential and could end up being one of the best left-handed pitchers in this crop of prospects. He has the upside, the favorable home park, and the time necessary to develop.

At 6'4" 185 lbs., there is some room for Fried to fill out, and I suspect an uptick in velocity might come along with it. Currently, the fastball sits in the low 90s and with below-average command of the pitch; it's difficult to project it for anything more than an average offering. It is common for young, high school arms to struggle with establishing fastball command early in their careers, and at 20 years old in 2014, Fried has plenty of time to make improvements. Working in Fried's favor is his smooth, repeatable delivery which should lend itself to establishing a consistent fastball as he gets more reps. His curveball has the potential to be the devastating out-pitch required of most fantasy studs. Fried gets sharp, tight spin on the ball and misses a ton of bats with it. His changeup is equally tantalizing when considering Fried's inexperience. It is difficult to distinguish from his fastball and gets late, arm-side break. Both the changeup and the curveball become plus major league offerings if Fried can establish his fastball.

His ceiling is that of a number 2 starter and potential fantasy rotation anchor. There's a chance he develops 3 plus pitches and uses them for above-average strikeout rates and sub-3.3 ERAs. There's also the chance the fastball command never develops, and the secondary offerings don't take the requisite step forward and Fried is nothing but a fringe-rotation piece and irrelevant in fantasy circles. There's still a lot of time for his prospect stock to fluctuate, but when it all shakes out I like Fried to emerge as one of the better left-handed starters in his class. Don't expect to see him in San Diego until at least 2016.

#2 Matt Wisler (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

10

0

2.78

1.03

131

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

136

0.53

0.76

6.2%

24.4%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A+, AA

2013 was a huge season for the Padres fantasy prospect, Matt Wisler. Coming out of spring training there was a ton of buzz on the kid and he carried the momentum through the season ultimately reaching AA. Wisler is a former 7th round draft pick in 2011 out of Bryan High School in Ohio and has risen quickly for a high school draftee. The 21 year old was victim to one of the worst small, sample size, career beginnings you'll ever see after pitching in only one game after being drafted in the 2011 season. In that appearance, Wisler gave up 2 walks, an HBP, and 2 hits with 4 runners coming into score without recording an out. Despite spending the entire off-season with an infinite ERA and WHIP, Wisler has made short work of full-season ball hitters by maintaining an elite K/BB ratio and handling a healthy load of innings in back-to-back seasons out of high school.

Wisler does not have as dominant an arsenal as the lefty above him in Max Fried, but his proximity to San Diego and a significantly higher floor, make him the safer fantasy option at this point in time. Matt Wisler projects to have two plus pitches and a passable changeup, which should be enough for him to succeed long-term as a starter. His fastball works 92-94 with good arm-side run. His fastball command is evident, and is a big point in his favor. His slider and changeup play up when Wisler can sequence off of well-placed fastballs. The slider should give righties fits and will end up missing a ton of bats. It should be enough to keep up average to slightly-above strikeout rates keeping him a strong fantasy play regardless of potential win count. Developing his changeup will be especially important for Wisler so that he can have sustained success against lefties. In AA this past year, right-handed batters hit .188/.213/.282 while lefties hit him hard for .261/.337/.444. The slider is not effective enough working into the lefties, and a changeup could be a neutralizing pitch that can keep lefties off-balance.

Wisler's ceiling is a number 3 starter with no standout, sexy attribute. The strikeouts should come at a competitive rate, the ratios should be suppressed by his low walk rates and home park advantage, and he should hold up for 25+ starts every year. Nothing dominant here in the profile, but a useful fantasy asset nonetheless. He's on the outside looking in for a 2014 rotation spot, but should work his way up to San Diego at some point this season, and could be a consistent contributor by early 2015.

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Photo Credit: Derick E. Hingle - USA Today Sports

#3 Hunter Renfroe (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.271

26

6

25

2

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

183

0.308

0.459

4.9%

26.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2016 Season)

A-, A

The Padres top pick (13th overall) in the 2013 Draft, Hunter Renfroe is a college outfielder with big power potential, average speed, and a questionable hit tool. Drafted out of Mississippi State University, Renfroe made it to Lo-A in his first season and flashed some intriguing fantasy potential. In 25 games at short-season, Renfroe slashed .308/.333/.510, hitting 4 bombs and swiping two bases. He moved up for a shorter stint in Lo-A and struggled with a .212/.268/.379 slash line and his below-average contact skills were quickly exposed. It was a small sample at both stops, but the high-risk, high-reward nature of his profile was on full display.

Renfroe's power is plus and one day may end up plus-plus with the ability to hit 25+ HRs during his prime. He generates a ton of strength thanks to good bat speed and a 6'1" 200 lb. frame. Renfroe's swing is similar to most classic sluggers, leveraged to the hills and creates tons of backspin and loft when he makes contact. Making contact is the big question with Renfroe - he struck out 49 times in 43 games across the two different levels. Some scouts say the high strikeout totals and hit tool concerns are merely a result of his aggressive, slugger's mentality and not indicative of poor bat-to-ball ability. That's something I can take a risk on when it's paired with the power Renfroe provides.

Playing next season at 22 years old, Hunter Renfroe should continue to move quickly through the Padres system. I wouldn't bet that he reins in the aggressive approach much, and high strikeouts will always be apart of his game. He should still be able to make enough contact to let his power materialize and get on base enough to swipe some bags. Renfroe has average speed and enough base running skills to possibly reach double digits at the highest level. A 20 HR/15 SB middle of the order slugger, with room for more in the power department is a healthy choice in every fantasy draft. He's a top 15 pick in any dynasty draft selecting from the most recent crop of draft picks and international signings. Renfroe could make an appearance late in 2015, and should start to make a fantasy impact sometime in 2016.

#4 Dustin Peterson (3B)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.293

20

0

18

3

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

172

0.337

0.344

5.2%

19.2%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

19

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2017 Season)

Rk

The Padres second round pick in 2013, and brother to first-rounder D.J., Dustin Peterson is an offensive weapon without a defensive home. As a result, he takes a hit on a lot of standard prospect lists, but in a fantasy-geared version he deserves much more love. Dustin Peterson's offensive profile is super raw, and highly projectable at this point making him a riskier pick than most. But for the same reason I ranked Fried over Wisler, if I only have a few slots to hold minor leaguers, I'll take my chances on the guy who can be a stud.

There are plenty of positive signs in Peterson's offensive game that hint at him putting all of his raw tools together. At 18 years old, he maintains a short, compact swing and doesn't look to do too much with any pitch. He isn't selling out for power and is happy to take the ball the other way. Standing at 6'2" 180 lb. Peterson's frame is going to fill out and the power will likely come along with it. I love prospects that have the approach, and plate discipline down and are only waiting on the power. If the power doesn't come, he still has some potential as a top of the order threat, but if it does he's an excellent middle-of-the-order asset. In a brief 38 game sample in Rookie League, Peterson slashed an impressive .293/.337/.344 stealing 3 bases, but missing even a single home run.

The reason you won't Peterson in the Top 5 of most Padres prospect lists is the uncertainty of where he finds a home. Peterson played shortstop in high school, but lacked the quick first step necessary to stick at the higher levels. The Padres have moved him over to 3B and while the reports aren't glowing, many believe he has a chance to stick and become an average glove. If he sticks at 3B, his fantasy value is big. The power doesn't need to fully develop and if he becomes a plus-AVG, average-HR guy, he can be a Top 10 fantasy play at the position. The development road for Peterson will be longer than most, and the biggest thing to watch for his is defense, because a shift across the diamond to 1B, puts too much pressure on his power maxing out. Peterson might stick around extended spring training next year, and could end the season with his first full taste of full-season ball. If the Padres push him earlier, I think it's a great sign about their confidence in his ability to stick at 3B and test the legitimacy of his bat.

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Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports

#5 Casey Kelly (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

0

0

0.00

0.00

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

0

0.00

0.00

0.00%

0.00%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

24

R/R

On 40 Man Roster (3 Options Remaining)

DNP

Kelly's minor league development has been an absolute roller coaster ride. A top prospect after being drafted 30th overall by the Boston Red Sox, Kelly appeared on every Baseball America Top 100 list between 2010 and 2013 seasons. He received a brief call-up in 2012, which was met with mixed results. Kelly appeared ready to truly begin his big league career in 2013 until an injury in Spring Training derailed his plans. Casey Kelly spent the entire 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery and is not far away from a return to the mound in San Diego. I expect there to be some rust this season as he sticks around extended spring training or the upper minors, but Kelly certainly has the ability to return to form and regain most of his Top 100 prospect value.

Kelly features a three-pitch mix that is average to slightly above. He lacks the dominant fastball of an anchor, but maintains the command profile necessary to still find success. His fastball sits 90-92 but can get up from more. It's not uncommon for TJS recoveries to add a few ticks to the fastball after sufficient rehab. His curveball and changeup are the money pitches, with the curveball the more consistent offering at present. Kelly gets good depth on the hook and it should keep the strikeout numbers at a respectable level. His changeup is still a work in progress but has the potential to be a plus offering down the line. He still throws too firm, but with time and repetition Kelly could develop the necessary feel for the pitch.

For a prospect that has already made his MLB debut, Kelly is a riskier play than the rest. You won't get a full season out of him in 2014, and he might be another year away before fully returning to form. He's 24 years old so there are still plenty of miles left to burn on his arm, but owners will have to be patient. He will likely lose prospect status this year, and could get lost in the shuffle prior to the 2015 season where I would more likely see a solid return on Kelly. Keep him on your radar and stay patient because a solid #3 pitcher in Petco is worth rostering in any format.

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Photo Credit: Kevin Liles - Getty Sports

#6 Burch Smith (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

7

0

3.72

1.22

148

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

128.2

0.98

0.8

8.3%

27.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

23

R/R

On 40 Man Roster (2 Options Remaining)

AA, AAA, MLB

I am irrationally excited about Burch Smith and have been on his bandwagon for just over a year now. A big 6'4" 215 lb. right-hander out of Oklahoma University, Burch Smith is a strikeout artist who showed enticing K/BB ratios in the minors that did not carry over well in his brief big league cup of coffee. Smith saw two different stints in San Diego and the second one provided a brief glimpse into what could be in store. In 4 September starts, Smith pitched 23.2 Innings and struck out 31 batters while walking 14 and surrendering a 3.80 ERA. Mixed in there was a gem against the Atlanta Braves where he hurled 7 innings of shutout ball, striking out 10 batters and walking just 2.

Smith features a monster fastball/changeup combination. His fastball works in the mid 90's with some late sink, while the changeup is a deceptive offering with a ton of movement. If he can develop the curveball and refine the fastball command, Smith is a high-upside #3 starter. His curveball tends to get loopy and can't be relied upon to get a swing-and-miss. It doesn't have to become anything special, but he needs to be able to trust it late in the count. If the curveball doesn't come around, expect to see Smith in a late innings reliever role. He should thrive there but could provide minimal value to fantasy owners.

The addition of Josh Johnson hurts Smith's chances of securing a rotation spot out of spring training. I wouldn't be surprised to see him back in AAA to start the season and being one of the first injury replacements during the season. With the upside in strikeouts that Smith provides, he's a worthy flier at the end of dynasty drafts that should provide immediate return in either the rotation or bullpen.

20130218_jla_sz6_067.0
Photo Credit: Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports

#7 Rymer Liriano (OF)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

.000

0

0

0

0

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

0

.000

.000

0.0%

0.0%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

22

R/R

On 40 Man Roster (1 Option Remaining)

DNP

Similar to Casey Kelly, Rymer Liriano spent 2013 on the shelf due to Tommy John surgery. The procedure isn't as damning for an offensive prospect, but the lost development hurt a raw player like Liriano who needs time to learn to put his intriguing tool prospect together. The upside is certainly still there, but the risk has grown larger. Liriano is a physically imposing player standing at 6'0" 225 lbs. and has above-average power and speed capabilities. The tools don't come together quite yet on a baseball field, but they are certainly visible to anyone who watches him play.

Liriano has made a habit of struggling after every promotion before finally figuring things out after repeating the level the next season. His first taste of Lo-A resulted in 50 games of .191/.234/.293 in 2010 before crushing the same level in 2011. Then he was promoted to Hi-A where he hit .127/.213/.182 albeit in a small 15 game sample. He raked the same level in 2012 and found his way to AA where he hit a more optimistic .251/.335/.377. I mention this trend, because a year off might end being worse for Liriano than it is for most. Expect some rust as he finds his way back.

If Liriano is able to return to form quickly, the power will be the next thing to look at in evaluating his fantasy stock. It had yet to come around before the injury, but given his swing and athletic build, scouts see the power coming down the line. If it comes, Liriano is still a future 20-20 potential guy with questionable AVG to go along with it. The makeup and work ethic is there for Liriano to make a full recovery. His previous handlings of failures at every minor league stop bode well for him to make the proper adjustments and make the most out of his lofty toolset.

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Photo Credit: Mark J .Rebilas - USA Today Sports

#8 Austin Hedges (C)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.260

38

4

38

8

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

341

0.333

0.390

8.2%

15.8%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

21

R/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A+, AA

You would struggle to find one player in the minor leagues whose fantasy value is further apart from his professional value than Austin Hedges. The hands down best defensive catcher in the minors, Hedges lacks the offensive profile necessary to be a stud fantasy asset. He will top almost every San Diego Padres top prospect list and will be over-picked in almost every dynasty draft this off-season. With a big arm, and flawless footwork behind the dish, Hedges is going to shutdown running games and get the most out of his pitching staff thanks to his glove work behind the dish.

While we don't care about defense in fantasy leagues, his future at the position is also his greatest asset for fantasy owners. Most catching prospects worthy of fantasy consideration are offensive-minded players that you hope can stick for a few years. The safety that comes with Hedges is worthy of a late pick in dynasty formats. Not much is expected out of the bat, but to have a starting catcher who plays 140+ games every year, is borderline replacement level already due to the R's and RBI he should accumulate just through playing every day. Anything by way of AVG or HR is just gravy. If you own Hedges already in dynasty formats, I would suggest shipping him off because his name value carries a lot more weight than his future production. If he maxes out at .280 AVG and 13-15 HRs he's probably still on the outside looking in for Top 10 fantasy catchers most seasons. His realistic line should be closer to replacement value.

#9 Joe Ross (RHP)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

W

SV

ERA

WHIP

K

5

0

3.76

1.34

79

SECONDARY STATISTICS

IP

HR/9

GO/AO

BB%

K%

122.1

0.52

1.35

7.6%

15.1%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

20

R/R

Not On 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2015 Season)

A

Former first round pick and 25th overall selection of the 2011 draft, Joe Ross lost some shine this past season after repeating Lo-A for the entire year. The results improved across the board except in strikeouts where he dipped from 21.6% to a pedestrian 15.1% k-rate. Ross has a projectable profile standing at 6'3" and 185 lb. and at only 20 years old, he has a few years to develop before being pushed up to San Diego. The most troubling part about the drop in strikeouts is that it paralleled his first big workload on a professional level. Ross pitched 54.2 innings in 2012 and bumped up to 122.1 in 2013. His stuff appears to work better in short bursts and doesn't seem to hold up across an entire season. The stats prove it as his monthly strikeout counts went in order from 18, 19, 19, 12, and 11 in August with roughly the same amount of innings every month.

So Ross' future might end up in the bullpen, where he could be an elite option. His fastball/slider combo is nasty especially in short stints. The fastball works in the low 90's but is a heavy pitch that works well with his slider. There isn't really enough there to fool hitters the second and third time through the lineup. He can still find some utility has a weak contact-inducing starter so you don't want to give up on him starting. Next year will be a big step for him as he finds himself in Hi-A and in need of missing bats and holding his stuff deeper into games and the season. The production may never match the projection, but if you can take a flier on him late, Petco should make him a serviceable option out of the rotation.

#10 Jace Peterson (SS)

FANTASY STATISTICS (ALL LEVELS)

AVG

R

HR

RBI

SB

0.303

78

7

66

42

SECONDARY STATISTICS

PA

OBP%

SLG%

BB%

K%

496

0.382

0.454

10.9%

11.7%

OTHER INFORMATION

AGE ON 1/1/2014

B/T

ROSTER STATUS

LEVELS

23

L/R

Not on 40 Man Roster (Protect After 2014 Season)

A+

Peterson gets the final spot here due to his likelihood of making an impact at SS for the Padres. It won't be a loud impact as none of his tools project to be more than average, but he lacks a glaring weakness and has the ability to stick up the middle. The tools will have to max out for Peterson to have a chance, but he's the classic "grinder" type of player who can reach that level. Peterson's best fantasy asset is his legs. He has stolen 132 bases across 303 minor leagues games at an impressive 80 percent success rate. The speed isn't elite, but 20+ steals is a possibility if given a full season's worth of playing time.

His approach is geared towards contact with little to no power in his profile. He has 11 career HRs and anything above 5-7 at the major league level is wishful thinking. Peterson does have an excellent approach at the plate, which could boost his value by putting him at the top of a batting order. A career 174/166 K/BB ratio is elite level stuff and Peterson's OBP has never dipped below .360 for a season. At the top of a San Diego lineup, Peterson could wreak havoc by scrapping his way on base and accumulating runs and SBs at a solid pace. A lot needs to go right for this to happen, but keep an eye out for Peterson in deep dynasty formats.

Other Interesting Prospects
By Brian Creagh (@briancreagh)

Franchy Cordero - One of the most intriguing under-the-radar international signings, Franchy Cordero is a young SS prospect who projects to develop above-average power. That profile alone is worth taking note of, but add in the fact that he can run a bit and has the production to back it up (.333/.381/.511 triple slash in his first season state-side) than Cordero can be a monster fantasy player down the line. He fell out of the top 10 because of how far away he is from truly capitalizing on his potential, and your roster spot may be better suited for a player closer to the majors. Keep an eye on him and any one in a 20+ team dynasty league should keep him in mind.

Keyvius Sampson - The future lies in the bullpen, but Sampson has elite stuff that plays up when he can let it fly out of the ‘pen. Walks will always be an issue and could limit his usage in high-leverage situations, but for those looking for extra strikeouts, Sampson could be a huge weapon. The Padres still have him as a starter, but he was effective coming in late during the Arizona Fall League. I doubt his rotation hopes last much longer.

Cory Spangenberg - A Top 100 player before the 2012 season, Spangenberg has been exposed in the higher levels. The AVG is still solid, but the steals are coming in at a less efficient rate and there is no real power to speak of. Spangenberg will be 23 next season and with little projection left, his slap-heavy approach at the plate will need to succeed against AAA pitching to warrant a big league appearance. Still a disappointment for a 10th overall pick from 2011.

About the Authors

Jason Hunt is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in the minor leagues and prospects.
Follow him on Twitter

Brian Creagh is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Matt Mattingly is a contributing writer for Fake Teams, specializing in fantasy baseball and the minor leagues.
Follow him on Twitter

Sources

Baseball America
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball Reference
Fangraphs
Gas Lamp Ball
Vimeo
Youtube

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