San Diego Nabs 3 Top 10 Prospects

The San Diego Padres organization has agreed to trade star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox for three Top 10 prospects. The talented youngsters headed to San Diego are right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, and outfielder Reymond Fuentes. It’s a quality haul for the veteran first baseman, but I wouldn’t quite call it an elite package.

Both Kelly and Fuentes are good fits for the organization. The spacious park in San Diego will help Kelly’s increasing fly-ball tendencies and Fuentes plus-plus speed will help him chase down fly balls in the outfield. I understand that San Diego may have felt it important to acquire a first baseman in the deal to replace Gonzalez but I would have preferred another pitcher, such as Drake Britton or up-the-middle talent in Jose Iglesias. Rizzo’s power will likely be muted by his new home environment but at least he has some defensive value. None of the three players acquired by San Diego are MLB-ready talent but Kelly and Rizzo could be ready by mid-to-late 2011 and Fuentes should arrive in about three seasons.

A fourth prospect is rumored to be heading to San Diego, as well. Because minor league rosters are frozen due to the impending Rule 5 draft this week, non-40-man-roster prospects cannot be moved until after it concludes. If a player like Britton heads to San Diego, it will significantly improve the haul for the organization.

The Pre-Trade Top 10 List (originally published November 24, 2010):
1. Simon Castro, RHP
2. Donavan Tate, OF
3. Cory Luebke, LHP
4. Jaff Decker, OF
5. Jedd Gyorko, SS
6. Matt Lollis, RHP
7. Adys Portillo, RHP
8. Drew Cumberland, SS
9. Edinson Rincon, 3B
10. James Darnell, 3B

The New Top 10 List:
1. Casey Kelly, RHP
2. Simon Castro, RHP
3. Anthony Rizzo
4. Reymond Fuentes
5. Donavan Tate, OF
6. Cory Luebke, LHP
7. Jaff Decker, OF
8. Jedd Gyorko, SS
9. Matt Lollis, RHP
10. Adys Portillo, RHP

Scouting Reports for the Three Prospects

Casey Kelly, RHP
Acquired: 2008 1st round (Florida HS)
Pro Experience: 3 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: AA
Opening Day Age: 21
Estimated Peak WAR: 5.0

Notes: Kelly posted a 5.31 ERA in double-A but his 4.03 FIP is a better indicator of his potential. His 2010 season was definitely not as bad as it might appear on first glance (high ERA, high hit rate) when you consider that Kelly was pitching in double-A at the age of 20 – and it was just his first season as a full-time pitcher; he spent his prep career and first pro season as a two-way player. Kelly throws with a low three-quarter arm slot with a smooth motion that lacks effort. It looks like the organization has raised his arm slot a little bit since signing. His delivery allows him to display above-average control. Kelly gave up a lot of hits in 2010 so he needs better fastball command and also needs to make sure he’s making quality strikes. When he’s on, he gets a lot of ground balls but his ground-ball rate has dropped each time he’s been promoted. His repertoire includes an 88-93 mph fastball, curveball and good changeup.

Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Acquired: 2007 6th round (Florida HS)
Pro Experience: 4 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A+/AA
Opening Day Age: 21
Estimated Peak WAR: 5.0

Notes: Rizzo hits with an open stance but does a nice job of handling pitches out over the plate and isn’t afraid to hit the other way. He does have a lot of movement in his hands and his feet, so there are a number of things going on that could cause him to lose his timing. Rizzo’s swing has an upper cut to it and he might want to level it out and focus more on hard line drives. He doesn’t have electric bat speed but he shows plus power potential due to raw strength and solid hitting mechanics. Rizzo began the 2010 season in high-A but quickly moved up to double-A where he hit .263/.334/.481 in 414 at-bats. The left-handed hitter has shown good patience at the plate and had a walk rate at 9.6 BB%. His ISO rate of .217 was impressive for the Eastern League. There aren’t many 20 year olds that can hit 25 homers and drive in 100 runs. His strikeout rate was high at 24.2 K% and he could trim that by quieting his stance and ironing out the upper cut, which would allow the head of the bat to stay through the hitting zone for a longer period of time. Defensively, Rizzo could develop into a plus defensive first baseman with solid hands and OK foot work.

Reymond Fuentes, OF
Acquired: 2009 1st round (Puerto Rico HS)
Pro Experience: 2 seasons
2010 MiLB Level: A
Opening Day Age: 20
Estimated Peak WAR: 4.0

Notes: A lot of people probably prefer Tate to Fuentes when it comes to ranking the Top 10 but Fuentes is a little younger and more advanced. He’s also proven to be much more durable and has a greater chance of reaching his ceiling than Tate. Fuentes has plus-plus speed and he nabbed 42 bases in 47 tries in 2010. He does need to show more patience at the plate (.328 OBP) if he’s going to be a No. 1 or 2 hole hitter. Overall, he hit .270/.328/.377 in 374 at-bats. Fuentes projects to be a plus defensive player in center field. He’s still learning to read and track fly balls (He’s already made big strides in that area) and his arm strength is average. Fuentes has a wide, well-balanced stance at the plate and he gets out of the left side of the batter’s box quickly. He’s at his best when he utilizes a compact ling-drive swing. His swing does get long and loopy at times, which leads to lazy fly balls.

We hoped you liked reading San Diego Nabs 3 Top 10 Prospects by Marc Hulet!

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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

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