02/26/10 5:31 PM ET
Padres eager to get close look at Tate
First-round pick part of minicamp starting Saturday
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
2010 Spring Training - San Diego Padres
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
"I think it's going to be good for everyone's mindset to get him out on the field. I'm sure he's anxious to get out there and show us and prove that he's healthy," said Randy Smith, the Padres' director of player development. "I've only heard about him. I saw him take BP [batting practice] at PETCO."He's a heck of an athlete. I'm looking forward to seeing him." Tate will likely be spending a lot of time in Peoria, even when teams break camp at the end of March. The Padres haven't decided where Tate will make his pro debut, though it's likely to be with the Padres' entry in the Arizona League this summer after time in Peoria in extended spring training. "He's a raw athlete right now. By the time he sees another uniform, it will likely have been 10 months since he last played," Smith said. "Guys move at their own timetable. The most important thing is for him to get healthy and to get out there." The Padres like Tate's upside and athleticism. His speed and raw power were rated the best in the Draft among high school players. He pegs as a center fielder and has a plus arm that adds to what the club feels is an enormous ceiling. "We've kind of said, worst-case scenario, maybe a Mike Cameron ... somebody that hits .240, .250, a lot of punchouts maybe, but big bombs and plays as good a defense as you get. Durable, athletic, steals a lot of bases," said former Padres vice president of player development and scouting Grady Fuson in June after the Draft. "Best-case scenario, you got the whole ball of wax. You got an Andruw Jones or something in his best years." Those expectations, and the $6.25 million signing bonus, have raised expectations for Tate, though he's doing his best to diffuse them. "I think you can put added pressure on yourself that's not needed ... but you don't really want to think about it," Tate said. "Yes, you did sign a contract, but you're just another baseball player out here trying to make it. That [signing bonus] was a bonus but it's in the past. Now I'm just trying to make it here."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.