Outfielder Renfroe, shortstop Rondon headed to Minor League camp
By AJ Cassavell
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres sent six players to Minor League camp on Monday, including outfielder Hunter Renfroe and shortstop Jose Rondon -- each of whom rank among the club's top five prospects, according to MLB.com.
Right-handers Tayron Guerrero (ranked No. 15) and Cory Mazzoni (No. 18) were optioned to Triple-A El Paso, and lefty Jose Torres (No. 21) was sent to Class A Lake Elsinore. Renfroe and lefty Frank Garces, who are not on the 40-man roster, were reassigned to Minor League camp.
"In Hunter Renfroe's case, he's a big part of what we're doing here in the future," Padres manager Andy Green said. "I'm of the persuasion you don't keep a kid up here as soon as at-bats dry up. ... He needs to get going, he needs to get ready for his season. Jose Rondon and Hunter are the exact same thing: Go down there and show who you are."
Renfroe, the club's No. 3 prospect, put forth a solid showing in his first big league camp, with four hits -- including a double -- and a walk in 16 at-bats. The 2013 first-round Draft pick was never a favorite to win a roster spot out of camp, and he says he's on board with Green's belief that the best way to improve is to get reps -- no matter the level. With camp progressing and regulars beginning to play full games, at-bats would have been scarce.
Of all the positives Renfroe took from big league camp, the biggest might have been his chance to work with the new coaching staff.
"Obviously they have stock in me and believe in me and look forward to seeing me in the future," he said. "So it's great to know that they have faith in me."
Rondon, the club's No. 5 prospect, went 3-for-9 this spring and was sent to Double-A San Antonio, where he finished last season. The 22-year-old shortstop batted .300/.360/.414 for Lake Elsinore in 57 games, but he struggled a bit in the Texas League, hitting just .190 in 100 at-bats. In that regard, it was always likely that he was destined for San Antonio.
Torres came to the Padres in the same deal that netted Drew Pomeranz from Oakland for Yonder Alonso and Marc Rzepczynski. He'll begin the year in the California League -- where he finished last season for Stockton.
As for the Padres farm system, which underwent an overhaul during the offseason, Green has been impressed with what he's seen so far.
"I think there's a lot to like," he said. "You've got Hunter Renfroe coming in right field, you've got [the club's No. 1 prospect] Manny Margot coming in center field. I'm a fan of what I saw in Javier Guerra in the limited look I've had at him. ... We've got a lot of strength in those areas. We'll kind of watch those guys develop and see who rises to the top."
AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.