7/26/2013 11:00 A.M. ET
New prospects emerge on Padres' Top 20 list
Club's top 2013 pick Renfroe starts at No. 6, three outfielders make debut
By Corey Brock / MLB.com
The 2013 season has seen some notable jumps for several Padres prospects, but there have been several setbacks as well, as two of the team's top prospects, right-handed pitcher Casey Kelly and outfielder Rymer Liriano, will miss the entire season after they each had Tommy John surgery on their right elbow.
San Diego, while lacking top-tier marquee prospects, has what is generally regarded as very solid pitching prospects in the system, which the organization hopes can fill spots in the Padres' rotation -- in 2013 and beyond.
The organization doesn't have many top position player prospects, but catcher Austin Hedges continues to improve this season. He's very good defensively, and it appears his bat will play as well.
The team used its top Draft pick (No. 13) on Mississippi State outfielder Hunter Renfroe, a player who has raw power, a plus arm in the outfield and who can run well.
Two players from the preseason Top 20 list -- second baseman Jedd Gyorko (No. 1) and pitcher Burch Smith (No. 20) -- have made their Major League debuts. Gyorko made the team out of Spring Training and got off to a good start at the plate before missing 30 games with a right groin strain.
Gyorko, who was No. 1 on the preseason Top 20 list, has moved on from prospect status to full-time starter and has been an offensive contributor this season when healthy. A natural third baseman, he's been very good thus far defensively.
As for Brad Boxberger, he has spent most of 2013 with Triple-A Tucson. He has pitched well there and has shown improvement during two short stints at the big league level. Boxberger could end up part of the Padres' bullpen at some point this season.
Right-handed pitcher Donn Roach (No. 14), who features a power sinker, has dropped off the list, but he's still considered a pitcher of interest for the Padres. He'll need to show improvement if he's to eventually earn a spot in San Diego's rotation.
John Barbato (No. 17), another righty, has struggled in the hitter-friendly California League this season. That said, Barbato still has a power arm and a good strikeouts-per-nine-innings ratio. He's been much better in the second half.
Right-handed pitcher Kevin Quackenbush (No. 19) has fallen out of the Top 20, but he's still a pitcher the Padres are very high on. He was dominant with Double-A San Antonio (0.29 ERA, 13 saves) but has struggled some in the Pacific Coast League. Quackenbush has been a lot better in July, and we could see him in San Diego before the end of the season.
To no surprise, Renfroe, the Padres' top Draft pick, makes a high debut on the Top 20 (No. 6). He's gotten off to a fast start with short-season Eugene and could eventually make his way to Class A Fort Wayne.
Three outfielders -- Yeison Asencio (No. 11), Reymond Fuentes (17) and Travis Jankowski (20) -- are making their debuts on the Top 20.
Asencio won the Midwest League batting title a year ago and has compiled an average near .300 in two stops this season. He's got a big strike zone, a plus-plus arm defensively as well as some surprising pop.
Fuentes struggled in Double-A last season and is repeating that level with greater success in 2013, mostly by cutting down on his strikeouts.
padres' top prospects
Jankowski, the 44th overall player taken in 2012, has advanced to high Class A Lake Elsinore and has held his own. He's nearing 60 steals for the year.
Right-handed pitcher Matt Andriese, part of the Padres' big 2011 Draft haul, shined in Double-A before earning a promotion to Triple-A Tucson. The Pacific Coast League can be an eye opener for pitchers.
Right-handed pitcher Smith jumped 11 spots to No. 9 with a fast start in San Antonio, which got him a promotion to San Diego. He's now with Tucson but figures in the team's future plans.
Asencio jumped 10 spots to No. 11. Left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin slipped six spots to No. 15. Second baseman Cory Spangenberg, the team's top pick in 2011, slipped four spots to No. 14. He started the year at Lake Elsinore but has advanced to Double-A.
Top 100 representation
Left-handed pitcher Max Fried, the team's top pick in 2012, has jumped 18 spots to No. 35 on the Top 100 after faring well in his first full professional season at Class A Fort Wayne.
Hedges, who might well be the best defensive catcher in the Minor Leagues, took a big leap, 36 spots to No. 38. He's impressed with the bat, too.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.