As long as Fernando Tatis, Jr. is in the Alamo City, Padres fans will be watching the  San Antonio Missions. Pitchers Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill should also give fans a reason to tune in, while outfielders Michael Gettys and Rod Boykin have athletic skill sets to dream on.

Three Strikes with Sam Geaney, Padres Director of Player Development:

1) How much will we see Josh Naylor in left field?

Sam Geaney:  You will see it more as the year goes on than at the beginning.  Right now, we are working on getting him more practice reps in left field and are going to put him out there when he begins to feel more comfortable.

2) What aspects of Fernando Tatis, Jr.’s game are you looking to see improve?

Sam Geaney: Just carry over all of the positive changes he made last year, especially at the plate where he really improved with his pitch recognition.  He needs to stay with his approach against better competition.  

3) How much have you seen Logan Allen improve this last year?

Sam Geaney:  From where we were a year ago, his changeup has really turned into a weapon and is now an above-average MLB offering. Additionally, his slider is there too and now he can use both to go along with a good fastball that he commands. He can also drop a curve in there as well.

2018 Projected San Antonio Missions Lineup

1B Josh Naylor*                                                               LHSP Logan Allen
2B River Stevens*/Peter Van Gansen*                            RHSP Cal Quantrill
3B Ty France                                                                    LHSP Jerry Keel
SS Fernando Tatis, Jr.                                                      RHSP Jesse Scholtens
C Austin Allen*                                                                 RHSP Miguel Diaz
OF Rod Boykin                                                                 RHRP Robert Stock
OF Michael Gettys                                                            LHRP Brad Wieck
OF Forrestt Allday*                                                           RHRP T.J. Weir

* indicates left-handed or switch-hitter

MadFriars Top 20 Prospects with the San Antonio Missions

Fernando Tatis, Jr. (#1), Cal Quantrill (#5), Logan Allen (#12), and Josh Naylor (#14).  Jake Nix (#9) should join the team once he gets stretched out after a groin injury during Spring Training.

Catch a Rising Star: Fernando Tatis, Jr., 19, is the best prospect the Padres have had since Baseball America anointed Sean Burroughs one of the five best prospects in baseball in 2002. The organization and most outside observers expect Tatis to put together a better career.  At nearly six-foot-four and a big rangy player, he provides an impact bat and can make all the athletic plays defensively, particularly going to his right.

San Antonio Missions Pitching Staff

Starters: Cal Quantrill, the Padres’ top pick in 2016, made his Double-A debut midway through 2017, but struggled with his command and breaking pitches. Now three years off Tommy John surgery, the organization hopes to see Quantrill live up to their lofty expectations this season. Logan Allen is only 20 and was as impressive as anyone in Spring Training with his ability to command his low 90s fastball with a plus change and slider. The Padres invested a full year of a roster spot in Miguel Diaz, 23, mainly on the back of a very big fastball. This year, back at a level more commensurate with his experience, Diaz will work on developing as a pitcher. Jerry Keel, 24, overmatched young competition in Fort Wayne in 2017, then had some fun outings in the wind-swept caverns of the California League. In a brief three outing stint, he looked good with the Missions with a 1.02 ERA in 17.2 innings. Coming from his six-foot-six stature, his two-seamers/sinkers can be very effective. Jesse Scholtens, 23, was the workhorse of the Storm staff last year, leading it in innings pitched with 110.  

Pen: Another Padres‘ affiliate, another strong bullpen. Robert Stock, 28, a converted catcher who signed as a minor league free agent, touched 100 MPH in Spring Training. Rowan Wick, 25, also began his career as a position player in the Cardinals organization, and will also focus on developing as a pitcher. At six-foot-nine, Brad Wieck, 26, is the tallest player in the organization and struck out 51 in 30.2 innings pitched along with a brief stint in El Paso.  His three-quarters delivery makes a very uncomfortable at-bat for lefties but he needs to refine his slider more. T.J. Weir, 26, had the best year of his career last season with the Missions. Apart from two spot starts, when he came out of the bullpen he had a 1.58 ERA in 51.1 innings with his sinker/slider combination. 

San Antonio Missions Position Players

Catching: Austin Allen, 24, had a big year at the plate in Lake Elsinore and the Padres have liked his improvement behind the plate.  When Naylor goes to the outfield Allen should see time at first base this summer as well as DH. Webster Rivas, 27, and Kyle Overstreet, 24, who can really play almost anywhere on the field, will be the backups.

Infield: Tatis is the prospect everyone will be watching and writing about in San Antonio. With the signing of Eric Hosmer by the Padres in the offseason, the team is going to try out Josh Naylor, 20, in left field two to three times a week to increase his versatility. The Padres development group claim he will surprise doubters with his athleticism. SDSU’s Ty France, 23, owns a career .382 on-base percentage over the past three years playing both first and third base. River Stevens, 26, and Peter Van Gansen, 24, are both versatile left-handed hitting middle infielders who can play all over the infield.  Last year between Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne, Overstreet hit .322/.397/.473. It seems whenever one of the Padres’ affiliates are successful, Overstreet is always somewhere in the middle of it, whether behind the plate or at one of the infield corners.

Outfield: Three of the four Missions’ outfielders have the ability to play center. Michael Gettys, 22, not only runs the ball down as well as anyone in the system but also possesses a strong arm. Offensively, it comes down to the same question it always has with Gettys; will he make consistent contact. Rod Boykin, 22, is one of the better athletes in the Padres’ system. His second half in Elsinore last year gave everyone something to dream on with a .314/.376/.529 slash line in 188 plate appearances. Defensively he’s a plus outfielder at all three spots.  Auston Bousfield, 24, returns to San Antonio after struggling for much of the first half. The Padres signed minor league free agent Forrestt Allday, 26, spent last year with the Angels’ Double-A affiliate.

On the Spot: Michael Gettys is one of the true five-tool talents in the Padres’ organization but unless he begins to make consistent contact his tools will not play. In 2017, Gettys struck out 191 times in 503 plate appearances. That must improve or all other statistics are irrelevant.

Under the Radar: Rod Boykin has finally moved from being an athlete who plays baseball, to a baseball player who is very athletic. With the Storm last year, Boykin showed some speed and power with seven stolen bases in eight attempts and 20 extra-base hits in 43 games.

Posted by John Conniff

John grew up in Poway and has written for MadFriars since 2004. He has written articles for Baseball America, FoxSports San Diego, the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, Amarillo Globe-News, Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette and Pacific Daily News in addition to appearing on numerous radio programs and podcasts. He can also break down the best places to eat for all five of the affiliates. There is no best place to eat in Peoria, Arizona.

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