Former Athletic & Personal Development program trainee Casey Kelly and the San Diego Padres were recently featured on the cover of ESPN.com as the top organization having the best current farm system in the MLB. The past couple years the Padres have been fortunate enough to gain an immensely talented group of up and coming youngsters, including pitcher Casey Kelly.
As the 30th overall pick by the Boston Red Sox's in 2008, Kelly truly has made his name known as one of the elite young pitchers in the game today. The right hander was named Red Sox Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2009 and Portland Sea Dogs Pitcher of the Year in 2010. In 2010, Kelly was traded by the Red Sox's with three other players to the Padres for the three time all-star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
Even though the Padres may experience a bit of a dry spell for a season or two, they mustrememberthe old saying: "good things come to those who wait". With the tremendous amount of young talent aboard the Padres organization much success is in the near future. The Padres are projected to have a great deal of depth and players that are expected to be big league regulars or better. Once these projections come to fruition, the Padres will then be able to trade and sell where seemednecessaryto fill in the final empty gaps that are holding them back from being a top contender again.
ESPN's own Keith Law goes into further detail on why the Padres organization has the cream of the crop when it comes to young talent.
WithoutAnthony Rizzo, they no longer have a top-25 prospect in their system, but in terms of total future value of players likely to play significant roles in the big leagues, they're ahead of everyone else. Some of these players, especially from the 2011 draft, will develop into stars. But there are so many prospects here with high floors, players who would be top-10 or top-five in other systems but are 11-20 here (such as Robbie Erlin orEdinson Rincon), that they are well-positioned to compete even with modest major league payrolls during the next five to six years. Fans who were upset at the sudden departures of GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod for the Cubs should find solace in the fact that the prospects they helped bring into the system (along with many other scouts and execs, including Chris Gwynn, now with Seattle, and Jaron Madison and Randy Smith, still in San Diego) remain in place.