2012 TinCaps, Muck Hunt & Potential Kilt Wearing

Prospect Postulation

With Opening Night here at Parkview Field just three weeks away as of this writing, I thought it would be a good exercise to take a look at some players who might be on the roster for Fort Wayne’s April 5th game against the Lake County Captains. Although minor league rosters won’t be announced for a few more weeks, if we take a look at some of the players from last year’s Eugene Emeralds (San Diego’s Short Season Class-A affiliate, one level below Fort Wayne) roster, an educated guess can be made.

First up: Catcher Austin Hedges

Baseball America says the second round draft pick in 2011 is the number six overall prospect in the Padres organization entering this season. Hedges stands at 6’1” and weighs 190 pounds. He saw action in nine games last year, spending five of them with the rookie-level Peoria club, where he hit 5-16 with a home run and 4 RBI, and then he went 1-10 in four games with the Eugene ballclub.

This is part of the scouting report from Perfectgame.org:

“He excels in all areas of catching, and plays the position with high energy. Hedges has a shortstop’s build with wide shoulders and slender, quick hips, and plays his position a lot like a highly-athletic shortstop would play his. He is exceptionally light on his feet with cat-like quickness in shifting and blocking. He also receives the ball cleanly with soft hands and has a deliberate, compact release on his throws to go with above-average raw arm strength.” 

Hedges was originally committed to play baseball at UCLA, but ended up signing with San Diego.

Next on the list: Infielder Jace Peterson

Peterson was taken 58th overall by San Diego in the 2010 draft, and entering this year was tabbed as the best athlete in the Padres system according to Baseball America.

Starting to sense a theme here? Remember that ESPN’s Keith Law ranked the Padres farm system as the best in all of baseball just last month.

Possibly the most intriguing thing about Peterson is that not only can he play baseball, but he was also a cornerback in college for the McNeese State football team. Here’s what Baseball America’s Jim Callis had to say back in June:

“Peterson stands out most on the diamond with his well above-average speed. He has a line-drive lefthanded swing and a strong arm at shortstop.”

Peterson signed with the Padres just a day after 2011 TinCap Cory Spangenberg did.

In 73 games with Eugene last year, Peterson hit .243 and stole 39 bases in 49 tries. Opposing batteries, be warned.

Last up: Pitcher Joe Ross

Ross is the younger brother of Oakland A’s hurler Tyson Ross. Thanks to Dan Hayes of the North County (CA) Times for asking the younger Ross about the impact his older brother has had on him:

“(He) gave me the edge to get ahead. I got to see firsthand what he did and what his work ethic was. It also challenged me to try and be better than him because everyone is always asking about him and I’m known as his little brother. It’s pushed me.”

Although Ross only pitched one inning with rookie-level Peoria last season, Baseball America lists him as the number 10 prospect in the Padres organization.

Ross is young, he’ll turn 19 on May 21st of this year, but Baseball America says his fastball sits anywhere between 91 and 95, and that’ll get you noticed real quickly.

Again, these are all just guesses as to who the Padres will send to Fort Wayne. Just because you did well at one level last year doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll automatically move up to start the next season. Player development is important to each and every team, and all 30 teams handle it uniquely.

“Naat” Afraid or Muck Hunt

I had my first “frolf” (that’s Frisbee golf) experience on Wednesday evening. TinCaps Assistant Director of Marketing/Community Relations Abby Naas invited me out to play at Fort Wayne’s Swinney Park with a few other folks from work. I was excited because I had never played before. I figured “Well, I can throw a frisbee just fine, so I should be good at this”. That hypothesis was incorrect.

Frolf, or disc golf, as it’s more commonly called (and by that I mean everyone but me) utilizes several different types of discs, which are heavier and smaller than your standard frisbee. There are variations that equate to your driver in golf, your irons, and a putter. The game is much more difficult than it looks.

If you’ve never been to Swinney Park, it’s a lovely place to spend an afternoon or an evening. It’s also wrapped around the St. Mary’s River and features a pond within the grounds. I managed to throw a disc into both bodies of water. It should be mentioned that these discs do not float. This is where the fearless Abby Naas comes in.

At one particular hole on the west side of the park, I was trying to get my disc into the goal, which looks somewhat like a giant bird feeder, but with chains on it. I missed.

The disc went into the water, and we could see where it landed on the surface…and then sunk. Abby heroically ventured into the water, sans sneakers, and retrieved the disc. It needs to be pointed out that this water was opaque, and there were layers of sediment at the bottom. There was also a very steep, muddy slope that needed to be traversed in order to enter the water. It was a very admirable job by Abby.

Running Wild

I’ve signed up, along with a few other co-workers, to run this weekend’s 5-Kilt Race in downtown Fort Wayne. I’m told by Abby there will be a kilt provided for me to wear. That would certainly be a first for me!

I run in the mornings before work, but I haven’t run a competitive 3.1 mile race since my senior year of high school. I was a captain of the White Plains Tigers cross country team as a senior, but I never ran a single varsity race that year. I think that speaks for itself. That said, I’m looking to finish in less than 24 minutes. Is that good? I have no idea, but it seems reasonable.

If you’re out and about, I hope you’ll say hi!

MUSICAL GUEST

David May with “Superstar” has recently been added to my running playlist.

If you’d like to get in touch, you can reach me at Couzens@TinCaps.com or on Twitter@MikeCouzens.

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