Padres gearing up for annual prospect minicamp
Top pick Fried, highly-regarded catcher Hedges among 38 participating players
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Minor League pitchers and catchers won't report to Peoria until March 1, but on Friday, 38 of the top prospects in the Padres' system will take part in the team's annual minicamp.
This is the fourth consecutive year that vice president of player development and international scouting Randy Smith will preside over the minicamp.
"It's a great program ... the individualized instruction, getting guys ready for their first pro season, guys who are jumping a level," Smith said. "It's a nice head start that, hopefully, carries into the season. In the past, it has."
Smith said the origin of the minicamp dates back to the late 1980s, when Tom Romenesko was the club's farm director and Smith was the scouting director. The goal was simple: to get players a head start with thorough instruction.
"You try to make it as individualized as possible," Smith said. "Certain guys are going to need more work defensively, some will need to fine-tune a breaking ball or a changeup.
"We're picking the right guys ... doing a good job developing them. Every year, we've had a number of guys go from minicamp to big league camp or the 40-man roster."
The camp will run for two weeks, though there's a chance it could be extended for two additional days.
"It was good to get individual instruction like that, but it was also my first Spring Training," said Padres relief prospect Kevin Quackenbush. "It was good to get my feet wet, understanding how things work. I got the lay of the land. I liked it."
Smith said that pitcher Matt Wisler and catcher Austin Hedges -- who is in big league camp this spring for the first time -- benefited greatly from the camp. Wisler, who will return for his second minicamp, went 5-4 with a 2.53 ERA and had 113 strikeouts in 114 innings for Class A Fort Wayne in 2012.
Hedges, regarded as one of the best catching prospects in the game and who is No. 5 on the Padres' top prospect list, hit .279 with 10 home runs and 56 RBIs for Fort Wayne in his first full professional season.
Some of the notable players who will attend minicamp this spring include left-handed pitcher Max Fried, who was the Padres' first-round Draft pick in 2012 and is the No. 2 prospect in the system. Fried, who was drafted seventh overall, pitched 17 2/3 innings last summer in his first taste of professional baseball.
Other players who will attend minicamp include:
Pitchers: LHP Matt Alger, RHP Erik Cabrera, RHP Leonel Campos, RHP Zach Eflin, Fried, LHP Frank Garces, RHP Tayron Guerrero, RHP Justin Hancock, RHP Andrew Lockett, RHP Roman Madrid, LHP Chris Nunn, RHP Genison Reyes, RHP Joe Ross, RHP Wilson Santos, RHP Walker Weickel, RHP Matt Wisler.
Catchers: Rodney Daal, Jairo Gomez, Dane Phillips, Jose Ruiz.
Infielders: Stephen Carmon, Duanel Jones, Marvin Orr, Fernando Perez, Jace Peterson, Gabriel Quintana, Cory Spangenberg, Luis Tejada, Maxx Tissenbaum.
Outfielders: Brian Adams, Jeremy Baltz, Luis Domoromo, Kyle Gaedele, Travis Jankowski, Rico Noel, Franmil Reyes, Mallex Smith, Euri Minaya.
The staff consists of Minor League field coordinator Randy Johnson, defensive coordinator Gary Jones, hitting coordinator Sean Berry, pitching coordinator Mike Cather, outfield/baserunning coordinator Glen Barker, rehabilitation hitting coach Damion Easley, rehabilitation pitching coach Tim Worrell, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin, Fort Wayne hitting coach Morgan Burkhart, Fort Wayne pitching coach Burt Hooton, Latin America coordinator Varo Lantigua, guest hitting instructor Dean Palmer and guest pitching instructor Andy Ashby.