9 top Padres prospects on Fort Wayne roster

SS Giron, RHP Smith lead TinCaps into Thursday opener

9 top Padres prospects on Fort Wayne roster

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Nine of the Padres' top 30 prospects will be opening the season with Class A Fort Wayne on Thursday night.

The TinCaps' season-opening roster will include the Padres' top three Draft picks from last June and 19-year-old shortstop Ruddy Giron, who hit .285 with nine homers and 49 RBIs in 96 games at Fort Wayne last season.

Fort Wayne will be managed by Anthony Contreras, who played at Fort Wayne at the start of his playing career. Contreras managed the Padres' short-season Class A Tri-City team last season.

Contreras will be assisted by batting coach Lance Burkhart, pitching coach Burt Hooton and Raul Padron. Burkhart is in his second season with the TinCaps while Hooton is in his fourth season at Fort Wayne.

MLBPipeline.com ranks Giron as the No. 4 prospect in the Padres' system.

Other ranked Padres' prospects on the TinCaps roster are right-handed pitchers Austin Smith (No. 8), Jacob Nix (No. 10), Enyel De Los Santos (No. 14), Phil Maton (No. 22) and Jean Cosme (No. 30); left-handed pitcher Logan Allen (No. 8), outfielder Michael Gettys (No. 11) and catcher Austin Allen (No. 27).

Smith was the Padres' second-round Draft pick last June (the club did not have a first-round pick). Nix was the club's third-round pick and Allen was selected in the third round.

The TinCaps' lineup will feature Giron, center fielder Gettys, infielder Peter Van Gansen, first baseman Brad Zunica and Austin Allen. Gettys, 20, was the Padres' second-round pick in the 2014 Draft and hit .231 with Fort Wayne last season with six homers and 44 RBIs in 494 at-bats. Van Gansen, 21, hit .267 at Tri-City last season and was in the Northwest League All-Star Game. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Zunica, 20, is among the Padres' top lower-level power prospects and hit seven homers with 24 RBIs in 35 games with the Arizona Rookie Padres last summer. Allen, 22, hit .240 for Tri-City last season.

Fort Wayne's roster has three infielders who are natural shortstops -- Giron, Van Gansen and Kodie Tidwell -- and two natural center fielders in Michael Gettys and Rod Boykin. Fort Wayne will open the Midwest League season Thursday night at Lake County. The TinCaps' home opener at Parkview Field will be Saturday night.

The TinCaps Opening Day roster:

Right-handed pitchers (10): Jean Cosme, Enyel De Los Santos, Louis Distasio, Brett Kennedy, Walker Lockett, Phil Maton, Jacob Nix, Emmanuel Ramirez, Gerardo Reyes and Austin Smith.

Left-handed Pitchers (3): Logan Allen, Taylor Cox, Will Headean.

Catchers (2): Austin Allen (L), A.J. Kennedy.

Infielders (6): 3B Ty France, SS Ruddy Giron, 2B River Stevens (L), SS Kodie Tidwell (L), SS Peter Van Gansen (L), 1B Brad Zunica (L).

Outfielders (4): CF Rod Boykin, CF Michael Gettys, LF Jhontan Pena, RF Luis Tejada.