Sunday, February 7, 2010

Prospecting

Now that King Football has loosened its grip on Sports America, I'll throw a log onto baseball's fire pit.*

*I don't call it a hot stove. If you live back East, it's a hot stove. And please pull up a seat on the driveway and warm yourself. Here in San Diego, we burn our wood outdoors. On the rare occasion it dips into the low 40s -- brrrr -- the Better Half asks me to use the fireplace, but not since I smoked up the entire house. What are those flu things for?

Today we'll talk about a Padres prospect. Most everyone who would bother to read this blog knows who the top Padres prospects are. How about someone who isn't ranked highly yet might rise up and help the big club within two or three years? (Or before the Strategic Thinkers raise the player payroll to Milwaukee's level.)

Pitcher Chris Fetter is your guy. You can't miss the right-hander, he's 6-foot-8 and 230 pounds.

"You've got a guy that can come real quick in Chris Fetter, a ninth-rounder we took out of the University of Michigan," said Grady Fuson, who until October was the farm system's overseer.

At 24, Fetter is old for a Single-A pitcher. Acting the part, he bullied hitters last year in two tours below advanced Single-A. He worked 65 innings, struck out 75 and walked 14 without a home run allowed. His ERA was 1.66, his win-loss record 4-1.

The Michigan man's subplot is interesting, too.

"Mysteriously," Fuson said, "the velocity jumped (last) year in college. This guy was pitching at 90 to 94 (for the Wolverines). This guy has got what it takes to be a starter in the big leagues. He's got life.

"This guy shouldn't be in A-ball long."

The Padres say Fetter likely will begin this season with Lake Elsinore.

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