[Ed. note - below is another installment in a series that has been popular here, the One Question Interview. We ask one question of our interviewee of choice, they give us their answer. Simple, right? In preparation for the Cardinals' weekend series with the San Diego Padres, today's interviewee is Geoff Young of Ducksnorts, a great Padres site hosting both Geoff's blog and his book (!), the Ducksnorts 2009 Baseball Annual. Thanks Geoff!]
PH8: In what many expected to be a down season for the Padres, what is the one (or a couple of) things that Padres fans can take away from 2009 that has been a positive for the franchise’s future?
Geoff Young: The one positive has been the development of several young players at the big-league level. After a long dry spell, the Padres farm system finally appears to be bearing fruit. Some shrewd acquisitions have helped as well.
Home-grown outfielders Kyle Blanks and Will Venable have made positive contributions since being recalled, and Rule V draftee Everth Cabrera looks like he could stick at shortstop for a while. Catcher Nick Hundley has shown signs of life when healthy, and Chase Headley is enjoying a strong second half so far. Tony Gwynn Jr., acquired from the Brewers in May, has played better than anticipated, although long-term, he slots more as a reserve.
On the pitching side, Mat Latos throws hard and has a good approach. Clayton Richard, part of the haul for Jake Peavy, has impressed and looks like a potential back-end starter going forward. Luke Gregerson, picked up from St. Louis (thanks!) has been one of the Padres’ more effective relievers and should be a key piece of next year’s squad.
Most of these guys (Blanks and Latos being the exceptions) aren’t impact players, but all look like they can contribute at this level. It’s good that these kids are getting their feet wet now, in a relatively low-pressure environment. With luck, the experience they gain this year will help them learn how to make the adjustments necessary to thrive in the big leagues and develop into productive players by the time Padres are involved in meaningful games again.
Read more from Geoff Young at Ducksnorts.