Who were the top 10 Padres prospects entering 2009? Here is my list from last January: http://tinyurl.com/7vyo89
Looking back, it's a decent list. The evaluators I interviewed led me to rank Will Venable and Simon Castro high enough that readers asked if I was sniffing glue, but each player followed with a promising season. The biggest disappointments were outfielders Kellen Kulbacki and Cedric Hunter. Kulbacki sustained a hamstring injury in which muscle was torn from bone. Hunter regressed, leaving the Padres bewildered and frustrated. Looks like I over-ranked Adys Portillo. Some of his wild spells this year were troubling. He's still younger than most of the players who will be drafted this year. Nor did I see Edinson Rincon emerging to the extent he did in 2009. Before I started talking to scouts, I figured that Allan Dykstra would be on the list. I heard enough skepticism to go with James Darnell instead. Judging by the last 15 years, maybe any player drafted by the Padres in the first round should be downgraded just as a matter of course. On a personal note, it was fun to interview Jaff Decker. His love for baseball comes through.