Injuries Remind Padres Fans that Prospects Are No Sure Thing
In 2008 the Padres drafted Logan Forsythe and James Darnell, 46th and 69th respectively. Both advanced hitting prospects that played third base. Both have had their professional careers derailed by the inability to stay on the field. For Padres fans, these two players should serve as a reality check. Baseball is sometimes a game of attrition. Not only is the game very hard to play at a high level, the long season can take a toll on the human body.
For what it’s worth, I have been a big supporter of both Darnell and Forsythe, but limited opportunities, injuries, and manager Bud Black’s inability to play unproven youngsters with consistency may inhibit these two from being productive in a Padres uniform.
Padres fans have been starving for a farm system for so long that when the 2012 system was highly touted, some fans couldn’t care less that the major league team was dismantled to build it. 2012 was a reality check for fans that paid close attention to the system. A combination of major injuries, down years, and failure to progress plagued the system.
Worst part of having a highly touted farm system is that fans develop false hope.
If I could live in a world of wishful thinking and what ifs, the Padres pitching staff would be amazing. Andrew Cashner, Cory Luebke, Casey Kelly, Joe Wieland, Robbie Erlin, Juan Pablo Oramas and more, could be vying for spots in the rotation and the future would look bright, very bright. All of those pitchers mentioned above missed significant time due to injury last season and now four of the six have had Tommy John surgery (TJS). You can also add to that mix the one shining hope to justify the existence of the Dominican Republic complex, Rymer Liriano, whom will miss 2013 to TJS.
In 2011 the Padres top 10 prospects according to Baseball America
- Casey Kelly – TJS
- Anthony Rizzo – Traded
- Simon Castro – Traded
- Reymond Fuentes – .218/.301/.302 in AA
- Matt Lollis – 1-13 with a 6.57 ERA
- Cory Luebke – TJS
- Jaff Decker – .184/.365/.293 n AA
- Donavan Tate – On leave from baseball
- Drew Cumberland – retired
- Jason Hagerty – .248/.346/.382
In 2012 the Padres top 10 included Rizzo and Kelly, but all others were dropped, with the exception of Luebke because he made the jump to the Majors.
- Rymer Liriano – TJS
- *Cory Spangenberg – Drafted 2011
- *Austin Hedges – Drafted 2011
- Jedd Gyorko – .311/.373/.547 in 2012
- Joe Wieland – TJS
- Robbie Erlin – Limited to only 60 innings in 2012
- *Joe Ross – Drafted 2011
- Keyvius Sampson – 8-11, 5.00 ERA
Jedd Gyorko has been able to successfully avoid whatever curse is haunting the Padres farm system right now and did break camp with the major league team.
Padres fans my point is simple, don’t put too much stock into minor league players. Don’t over-value the system or keep looking over the fence to see if the grass is greener. Unfortunately, what’s on the other side of the fence may be more of a mirage than a reality, as often times is with prospects.