Monday, June 6, 2011

Spangenberg, Ross, and some guy named Rizzo

A lot of news out of the Padres organization on what is otherwise a sleepy little Monday.

Let's start with the weekend series vs Houston. The Padres finished their strong road trip (in which they went 4-2 @ Washington and Atlanta) to start an 11 game homestand that too many was a "make or break" homestand for the Padres. A homestand vs Houston, a scuffling Colorado and Washington pretty much signified a "if they can't beat these guys at home, they can't win at home" mentality.

So far, so good. Winning 3 of 4 vs Houston, the Padres did what they have struggled to do all year at Petco. They scored runs. RS of 4, 3, 6, and 7 are not going to light up any scoreboard but showed a clear uptick in production. And I think you know who we can thank for that:

A homeless guy (who may or may not have been drunk. Ok, he was drunk) told me after the game that the garden gnome brings good luck to the yard they are in. Early in this homestand, I have no reason to disbelieve that man.

But gnomes and beating the Astros ws put on the back burner with the First Year Player Draft. The Padres have, like, 1000 picks in this draft and have so far used two of those picks (#10 and #25) on:

Cory Spangenberg (3B, 2B, OF) from Indian State College in Florida. I'm not a scout so I will let this report do the work for me. Here's what I do know though. If the Padres can sign him he is already better than last year's 1st round draft pick in Karsten Whitson (who I'm told is dominating at the University of Florida right now). You can get to know the newest Padres here as well.

Joe Ross (RHP) from Bishop O'Dowd HS. His brother currently pitches for the Oakland Athletics and at 6'3" 185 he appears to be the "runt" of the Ross brothers (brother Tyson Ross is 6'6" 230). My very unscientific read of Twitter immediately after this pick seemed to indicate that people who know were more excited for this pick. Also was reported that Tampa Bay and AZ had their eyes on Ross requiring the Padres to jump on him at #25. For his report, click here.

But all of this, the draft, the homestand, was all overshadowed by this tweet sent out at around 6:25pm by @marty1090 "According to a team source, there's a "good chance" that Anthony Rizzo will be called up by the Padres on Wednesday"

Rizzomania may be upon us. All of this came in the wake of a story earlier today that Hawpe was starting in RF. It was later reported that Rizzo was not in the Tucson Padres lineup on Monday night (though the story cited his sore hand as the reason). While the idea of Hawpe playing RF in spacious Petco Park (especially in Petco's RF) its hard not to be excited for a guy hitting .365 with 16 HR and 63 RBI in 52 games.

A worthy debate should be had as too rather this is the right move. I for one would keep him in Tucson and let him get a full season of AAA before bringing him here. Then again, as mentioned earlier, the Padres are playing better thus there is an argument to say that bringing him up now lowers the pressure as he is now not being brought here to save a losing season and spark an anemic offense. But all of that seems moot at this point. And I'd be lying, despite my reservations of bringing him up, if I said that a lineup that looks like this

C - Hundley
1B - Rizzo
2B - Forsythe/AGon/Hudson
SS - Bartlett
3B - Headley
LF - Ludwick
CF - Maybin
RF - Hawpe

doesn't make me more optimistic about this team moving forward. I would caution those expecting Tucson-type numbers from Rizzo that 1) Tucson is at over 2,000 ft in elevation, 2) it is as dry as you can imagine, 3) from those who cover the PCL, this has been one of the weakest pitching seasons league wide.

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