An Update on the Padres’ Players in Arizona Fall League

Credit: AFL

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The San Diego Padres have three hitters and five pitchers playing for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League.

Usually when I reference player stats I like to avoid small samples, but the Arizona Fall League itself is a small sample. So, to avoid getting carried away based on these stats, I’ll present them in context with how the players performed in the 2016 regular season as well.

Two of the Padres’ hitters playing in Arizona this fall, Michael Gettys and Franchy Cordero, are raw but toolsy outfielders with bats that lag behind their other tools.

Gettys, in particular, has made significant strides in that area in 2016, as he hit over .300 while splitting time between Single-A and High-A. However, this fall he has only managed a .205 average while striking out 16 times in nine games for Peoria. Cordero, who has moved from the infield because of defensive struggles, found success at the plate in 2016 as well, hitting .286 in High-A and .306 in Double-A, before only managing one hit in 16 plate appearances for Triple-A El Paso. This fall he has hit .242 in eight games played while striking out 10 times. Both Gettys and Cordero have shown improvements this year, but their fall league performance so far shows they are still a little raw.

Utility infielder Josh VanMeter, on the other hand, has shown his polish, hitting .370 with a home run, and getting on base at a 50% clip in eight games for the Javelinas.

VanMeter has been an under-the-radar type of guy to this point. For Lake Elsinore in 2016, he hit .267 and had a power outburst, hitting 12 home runs after only hitting three home runs in his pro career prior to 2016. Lake Elsinore plays in the hitter friendly California League, so perhaps that was a major factor in VanMeter’s power surge. His .355 OBP in High-A indicates he was being patient and waiting for his pitch, which is an approach conducive to sustaining power.

After moving to Double-A San Antonio, he hit two more homers in 29 games, which by itself would have been a power outburst for VanMeter sans his California League exploits. Doing some research on VanMeter, I found this fangraphs article from almost two years ago (scroll all the way to the bottom) that gives a little context on the guy. The article also mentions Cordero and Gettys. Perhaps VanMeter won’t be as under-the-radar anymore.

Credit: AFL
Credit: AFL

The Padres have five pitchers on the Peoria squad, and they’re all relievers. Phil Maton, a 20th round pick from the 2015 draft, has been a fast riser in 2016. Dominating his way from Single-A ball to Triple-A, Maton has stayed dominant in Arizona as well, registering seven strikeouts in six innings with zero walks and two hits and no runs allowed. Maton has put himself in a place to compete for a major league roster spot next spring, and if he continues playing like this, could be in contention for a high leverage role in the Padres bullpen in 2017. Minor league ball recently wrote about him here.

Kyle McGrath also posted strong numbers on his way to Triple-A in 2016, and in nine innings for Peoria, has 1.00 ERA and a .78 WHIP. He too could get playing time in San Diego next season. Jose Torres, who has already made his major league debut, has struggled in his 3.1 innings this fall, sporting a 5.40 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP. Jason Jester and Brad Wieck are two relievers looking to follow in the late-blooming footsteps of Ryan Buchter. At 25, Jester and Wieck are both running out of time to be considered a “prospect”, but have been solid this fall. Jester has six strikeouts and has given up one run in six innings, while Wieck has an attention grabbing 10 strikeouts and has given up two runs in six innings for Peoria.

Fast risers Maton and McGrath could be a part of the big league squad in 2017, while Gettys and Cordero need to continue refining their game, particularly at the plate. And VanMeter is a guy that could use his strong performance with Peoria to become more than just an under-the-radar future utility guy. An excellent showing of the Padres future is currently being displayed in Arizona. Cheers to the future of this team.

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