Six Padres prospects rank among Top 100
List of Friars headed by Alonso at No. 39, Kelly at No. 50
SAN DIEGO -- Yonder Alonso, one of four players the Padres obtained from the Reds in a December trade, said he doesn't have a whole lot of history with many of the players on his new club's Major League roster, or even ones in the Minor Leagues for that matter.
But the first baseman is hoping that will change soon.
"You have the future right here," Alonso said recently, after a workout at Petco Park with several other of the teams top prospects.
"It's a fun time to be a San Diego Padres fan, not only this season, but for many years to come."
The Padres' front office likely feels that way heading toward the 2012 season, one that could see several of their top prospects playing prominent roles or making their Major League debuts.
Six of their top prospects can be found on MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects list, starting with No. 39 Alonso, who was an important component in the trade that landed the Padres four players from the Reds for pitcher Mat Latos.
In addition to Alonso, pitcher Casey Kelly (50), outfielder Rymer Liriano (60), catcher Yasmani Grandal (68), third baseman Jedd Gyorko (71) and second baseman Cory Spangenberg (81) are on the list of the top 100 players.
This year's edition of the MLB.com Top Prospects list has expanded from 50 to 100 players. The annual ranking of baseball's biggest and brightest young talent is assembled by MLB.com's Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo, who compiles input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams.
The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2012.
Alonso is expected to be the Padres' Opening Day starter at first base. He showed plenty of promise in the Minor Leagues and in two brief stints with the Reds in 2010 and 2011. He hit .299, with a .354 on-base percentage and .479 slugging percentage in his first 127 Major League plate appearances.
Grandal was also obtained in the trade with the Reds and will start the 2012 season with Triple-A Tucson. He was recently named the sixth-best catching prospect in baseball by MLB.com.
Grandal hit a combined .305 with 14 home runs, 31 doubles, 68 RBIs and a .401 on-base percentage in 105 games at Class A Bakersfield, Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville.
Of the six Padres named to the prospect list, three are homegrown -- Liriano, Gyorko and Spangenberg.
Gyorko was recently named the seventh-best third base prospect in professional baseball by MLB.com. Spangenberg, who was the Padres' first-round pick in 2011, was tabbed the top second base prospect in professional baseball.
Gyorko, a second-round pick in 2010, has a slash line of .323/.392/.518 in his first two professional seasons.
Spangenberg signed quickly after he was picked in June's First-Year Player Draft and hit a combined .316/.419/.418 between Class A short-season Eugene and Class A Fort Wayne.
Kelly was the key piece of the deal the Padres made in December 2010 that sent All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox for four players.
Kelly was 11-6 with a 3.98 ERA in 27 starts with Double-A San Antonio. He'll begin the season with Triple-A Tucson.
Liriano, who won't turn 21 until June, hit a combined .298/.365/.465 between two stops last season, with 12 home runs, 68 RBIs and 66 stolen bases. He will likely head to high Class A Lake Elsinore to start the season.