Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Portland Update

Portland is the Padres AAA affilate, and is home right now to a few excellent prospects including two considered by many to be as "can't miss" as it gets, and they are Chase Headley and Matt Antonelli.

Chase Headley turned into a bluechip prospect last year in AA, and was named Texas League POY among other accolades. He was considered one of the top 3rd base prospects in all of MiLB, and due to the emergence of Kevin Kouzmanoff on the big league club, the decision was made to move him to LF. He was told that he would be given a chance to earn the starting role out of spring training if he won the job outright. By every account he did, leading the Padres in virtually every offensive category, and showing that he could patrol LF even though it was brand new to him. However when the team broke camp, Headley was sent to AAA to refine his defensive skills in LF before he was brought up. Reports from many who have seen him play since then suggest that he might have been less than happy with what he considered a demotion of sorts. This has taken a toll on his overall performance thus far, and his offensive #'s are far from what Padre fans have come to expect from him.

Headley is currently hitting .226ba/.309obp/.369slg but don't get too discouraged, most of his recent hits have gone for extra bases, suggesting that he's staring to come out of his funk. His strikeouts are also starting to curb, so we'll keep track of him over the next few weeks to see if this positive trend continues.

Matt Antonelli was another of our 3rd base prospects that changed positions, however this position change took him from a bubble prospect at 3rd base, to the #1 2nd base prospect in the nation last year. His combination of speed, command of the strike zone, power, and ability to handle the bat has vaulted him onto the scene, and he's very close to being ready to break through to the ML level. He projects as a top of the order hitter, maybe a leadoff guy, who should have a high OBP, have the ability to steal some bases and create havoc on the base paths, hit for some power, and drive in some runs even from the top of the order.
If Tad Iguchi continues to struggle, it's entirely possible that Antonelli could see the big leagues sooner rather than later.

More updates coming soon, so keep checking back.

Play Ball !!!

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