Being taken No. 10 overall in the 2011 draft by the San Diego Padres put a lot of pressure on Cory Spangenberg. He was drafted for his speed and offense, but last year’s MLB Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez, was still on the board. During a successful 2012 season in Class A, Spangenberg was sidelined with a concussion and post-concussion syndrome lessening his stock and lowering his hype. Now after a successful Arizona Fall League (AFL), the former junior college third baseman is now looking at a path to the starting second base job in San Diego.
Following the AFL, Spangenberg was listed as the second-best prospect at his position. He has embraced the new position and continues working more on his fielding. He understands that his backhand needs work, but the Padres are pleased with his progress since moving to middle infield. The prospect was lucky to play for a manager at Double A San Antonio, Rich Dauer, who knew a thing or two about second base. Dauer set a couple fielding records during his time with the Orioles, including 425 consecutive errorless chances in 1978.
Spangenberg’s hot bat in college propelled him into the top half of the draft class in 2011, and he has shown an ability to adapt at different levels. He has hovered around a .400 on-base percentage in his pro career and still possesses the speed that clocked him at one of the fastest home to first sprints since Ichiro. He has yet to find his power stroke. Admittedly Spangenberg is not the prettiest on the field, but he can get the job done.
The Padres have a nice set up if Chase Headley is moved. Jedd Gyorko could be moved to third base full time and that would leave second for Spangenberg. Eventually he could be joined by the Padres’ supplemental first-round pick in 2011, Jace Peterson, in the middle of the infield.
The left-handed hitter has come a long way from a concussion suffered while playing catch with a teammate. Now as a non-roster invitee to spring training he hopes to impress the Padres’ managers and staff. He could start off the season in Double A, but a promotion to Triple A Tuscon seems imminent. Depending on injuries and trades, Spangenberg could see the big leagues sooner, but 2015 seems realistic.