August 5, 2009

Two Debuts

In the wake of the Misson: Improbable-style comeback over the Fish last night the Natmosphere is buzzing over the disabling of Austin Kearns, which you can plausibly argue actually occurred sometime in mid-2008, and the resulting promotion of 29-year old rookie outfielder Jorge Padilla. I'd expect the Rick Short name-checking to come fast and furious, but only Charlie Slowes has been with the franchise long enough to make the reference authentic. Nationals Journal has the background on Padilla.

Jorge, while certainly no Rick Short, is a true baseball feel-good story, and it's always nice to see an outstanding AAA season rewarded. But Padilla won't be anything more than a bench bat for the Nats. He doesn't really have the power to hold down a major league corner outfield slot or the speed to spell Morgan in center. He's old friend (and current Syracuse farmhand) Mike Vento with a better batting eye.

The debut to watch, or listen to, tonight will be 120 miles north of Nationals Park, where new Harrisburg Senator Aaron Thompson takes on Binghamton in his Nationals organization debut. Thompson was the Nats return on the last second deadline deal that sent Nick Johnson to Florida. The Marlins first round selection in the 2005 draft, the 22 year-old put up a 4.11 ERA for AA Jacksonville, with uninspiring peripherals. John Sickels had this to say about the man he ranked Florida's 15th best prospect in 2009:

"I don’t like the way his Double-A numbers slipped and I worry about health."

Damning with faint criticism. I'll be rooting for Padilla over the next two months, but for this organization to make real progress, I'll be praying for Aaron Thompson.

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