Carrillo could be in the big club’s rotation by mid-season. He had been shut down by the time that Mobile got to Five County (his last start was August 20), so I didn’t get to see him pitch. That was one of the downsides of the SL’s schedule last year - not getting to see as much of the Southern Division teams as I would have liked. Carrillo’s five SL starts were against a couple of the Southern League’s better offensive teams - 2 against Jacksonville, 2 against Montgomery, and 1 against Birmingham - and after his first start (in which he allowed 4 runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Suns, two of which scored after he left the game) he was outstanding in each one. I don’t think he has much more to learn in the minors, and I think he’ll make a nice complement to Peavy at the front end of the rotation.
Mobile played very well at the end of the season, and I think Kottaras was a large part of the reason for that. The Bay Bears got a string of outstanding pitching performances in August with Kottaras handling most of the catching duties. He looks a bit like a Jason Kendall-type at the plate - makes consistent contact, hits line drives and the occasional longball, will take a walk - and also looks like he handles the pitchers well.
Barfield could be the Pads’ starting 2B on Opening Day. I saw him in ‘04 at Mobile and wasn’t terribly impressed - he seemed to me to be very tentative at the plate and in the field - but he rebounded very well in ‘05. He’s hit well in good hitting environments, less well elsewhere, and he does strike out a fair amount. In terms of skill sets, I think he’s very similar to Loretta except that he doesn’t make contact nearly as often and won’t be quite as productive overall as a result. But I don’t think the Padres will lose a lot if Barfield gets the job (he will be competing with Bobby Hill in ST, and I think he’ll win that fight).
The quality drops off very quickly after the top couple of players. Barfield and Johnson would probably be at the end of most top-10s, and below them you have a lot of question marks. BA says the system is bordering on barren, and I don’t think they are wrong. Fuson has a job to do here.