One of the glaring notes about this year’s Spring Training attendees is the number of former Miami Hurricanes that are in Big League camp. With the addition of both infielder Yonder Alonso and catcher Yasmani Grandal, the Padres now feature five former members of The U. They combine with outfielder Blake Tekotte and catchers Eddy Rodriguez and Jason Hagerty.
With Grandal joining the Padres catching corps, nearly everyone who caught a game for the Hurricanes from 2004-2010 is now a Friar.
Grandal, Hagerty, Tekotte and Alonso were all members of the 2008 Miami team that went 53-10 and entered the College World Series as the No. 1 seed.
Here is a look at each of the former Hurricanes and where they were drafted:
Eddy Rodriguez, C: 2004-06, drafted by CIN in the 20th round in 2006
Yonder Alonso, INF: 2006-08, drafted by CIN in the 1st round in 2008
Blake Tekotte, OF: 2006-08, drated by SD in the 3rd round in 2008
Jason Hagerty, C: 2007-09, drafted by SD in the 5th round in 2009
Yasmani Grandal, C: 2008-10, drafted by CIN in the 1st round in 2010
Position players reported to Spring Training and went through physicals today. Over the coming weeks, the list of 60 players will be whittled down until 25 men will head west to San Diego for Opening Day.
As an overview, here’s a look at the Padres Spring Training roster (Non-roster invites are in bold):
21 RIGHT-HANDED PITCHERS: Anthony Bass, Brad Boxberger, Brad Brach, Cory Burns, Andrew Cashner, Ernesto Frieri, Luke Gregerson, Erik Hamren, Casey Kelly, Miles Mikolas, Dustin Moseley, Micah Owings, Matt Palmer, Jorge Reyes, Tim Stauffer, Huston Street, Jeff Suppan, Dale Thayer, Nick Vincent, Edinson Volquez, Joe Wieland.
8 LEFT-HANDED PITCHERS: Jose De Paula, Robbie Erlin, Alex Hinshaw, Cory Luebke, Juan Oramas, Clayton Richard, Josh Spence, Joe Thatcher.
7 CATCHERS: John Baker, Brad Davis, Yasmani Grandal, Jason Hagerty, Nick Hundley, Eddy Rodriguez, Ali Solis.
14 INFIELDERS: Yonder Alonso, Jason Bartlett, Everth Cabrera, Matt Clark, James Darnell, Logan Forsythe, Jonathan Galvez, Jesus Guzman, Jedd Gyorko, Chase Headley, Orlando Hudson, Andy Parrino, Edinson Rincon, Jeudy Valdez.
10 OUTFIELDERS: Kyle Blanks, Jaff Decker, Chris Denorfia, Jeremy Hermida, Mark Kotsay, Rymer Liriano, Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Blake Tekotte, Will Venable.
In workout news, the Padres pitchers and catchers went through the normal routine today while position players took physicals and got situated in camp. This morning’s workout featured a pop-up competition among the seven catchers in camp while pitchers worked on fielding followed by their usual bullpen sessions.
Most fans don’t get the chance to visit Arizona and get the up close season preview that Spring Training provides. With that in mind, today we’ve decided to give you a brief tour of the Peoria Sports Complex. Hopefully this will give you a glimpse of where the Pads spend their days, preparing for the 2012 campaign. What more could you want? Right? Right!
Worst case scenario, at least we’ll provide plenty of content for Bad Spring Training Twit Pics. (If you don’t tweet them, do they still count?)
With that in mind, here goes nothing…
Welcome to the Peoria Sports Complex. Located in beautiful Peoria, Ariz., down the street from Chick-fil-A, behind the Target and adjacent to the Salty Senorita. Flip through the slideshow below and use the map at the bottom for reference as you make your way from the player parking lot, through the clubhouse, to the weight room, out to the fields and finally back to the cafeteria for lunch. The players typically arrive around 6:30 or 7:00 each morning, squeezing in a morning workout in the weight room before a 9:00 team meeting followed by workouts on the field until noon.
One of the Padres last Spring Training additions has one of baseball’s most interesting player profiles. Micah Owings, a 6-5 right-hander from Gainesville, Ga., has appeared in 180 Major League games over parts of five seasons, making 68 starts and 64 relief appearances. So what happened in the remaining 48 games?
Owings, a career .286 hitter, has regularly been used as a pinch-hitter…and a powerful one at that, belting nine home runs in his career.
His .507 slugging percentage ranks 27th among all active players with at least 200 at-bats, besting some of baseball’s top sluggers. In fact, here are the 10 players who rank immediately below Owings on that list (in order): Hanley Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Troy Tulowitzki, Chase Utley, Nelson Cruz, Allen Craig, Adam Dunn, Maglio Ordonez, Kendry Moralez and Pablo Sandoval.
His hitting prowess was apparent early in his career, winning the Silver Slugger his rookie year as he thrashed opposing pitchers to the tune of a .333 average (20-for-60) with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs and 15 RBI. He averaged a home run every 15 at-bats and an RBI every four at-bats that season. On 8/18/07 at ATL, he established Diamondbacks’ single-game records for pitchers with four hits, two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored. It was the first time in 50 years that a pitcher tallied 11 total bases in a single game.
Over the next two years, he was used a combined 34 times as a pinch-hitter between ARI and CIN, hitting .273 with a .545 slugging percentage in the pinch.
While his role with the Padres has yet to be determined, don’t look for this hurler to be squaring around to move the runner when he comes to the plate in 2012.
The Padres come to Spring Training with a new-found depth at catcher, a strength that goes beyond the seven players in Big League camp.
Reporting along with the pitchers on Sunday were Nick Hundley (no introduction needed), John Baker (acquired from MIA in exchange for Wade LeBlanc) and Yasmani Grandal (acquired from CIN in Mat Latos trade), all off the 40-man roster. Also in camp are non-roster invites Brad Davis, Jason Hagerty, Eddy Rodriguez and Ali Solis.
Not far behind is one of the Padres most exciting prospects. Austin Hedges, a 19-year-old catcher out of San Juan Capistrano, was selected by San Diego in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Hundley enters camp expected to be the Padres go-to man behind the dish. He is coming off a year in which he set career highs in nearly every offensive category, including runs, hits, triples, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Hundley also started a career-high-tying 73 games behind the plate, a total he is likely to top in 2012.
The acquisition of Grandal from MIA instantly inserted a top catching prospect into the Padres organization, strengthening the club’s position as having one of the top minor league systems. Ranked by Baseball-America as the Padres’ No. 2 prospect and No. 53 in all of baseball, Grandal flew through the minors last season, playing at High-A, Double-A and Triple-A in the Reds organziation.
Hedges has been named the Padres No. 6 prospect by Baseball-America despite playing just nine games as a professional. He was widely considered the top defensive catching prospect when selected 82nd overall in the 2011 draft.
With all pitchers and catchers now accounted for, the team hit the field today for the first official workout of the Spring. Manager Bud Black addressed the club’s battery candidates at 9:00 this morning and then it was off to Field 1 for running, stretching, PFP (pitchers fielding practice) and then bullpen sessions.
The Padres have 29 pitchers in camp this year, split into squads A and B. The 14 pitchers in squad B were the first to take the mound this Spring (naturally?) with squad A throwing in the bullpens tomorrow. Today’s hurlers included Gregerson, Frieri, Street, Brach, Hamren, Vincent, Cashner, Mikolas, Thayer, Boxberger, Burns, Thatcher, Spence and Hinshaw.
While we’re on the subject, let’s glance back at the often overlooked accomplishments of last year’s staff. Led by coaches Darren Balsley and Darrel Akerfelds, the 2011 Padres ranked 3rd in the Majors with a 3.42 ERA. Starters posted a 3.62 mark that ranked 4th among all NL clubs while relievers were 3rd in the league with a 3.03 ERA.
2011 marked the second consecutive year the Padres posted a sub-3.50 team ERA and the fourth time in the last six years that the club has had a sub-4.00 team ERA.
In the eight full seasons that Balsley and Akerfelds have been working together as pitching coach and bullpen coach (dating back to 2004), the club has posted a 3.91 ERA that ranks tops in the Majors over that span. During that stretch, the Padres have finished among the top three NL clubs in team ERA on four occasions (’06, ’07, ’10, ’11), including two first place finishes (’06, ’07).