But general manager Ken Williams explained on Monday that his club's farm system is designed more for Major League preparation than garnering huge attention.
"We have a different method to our Minor League system in terms of style and in terms of how we are going to promote and develop our young players so that they are ready for this ballpark and to be ready and hit the ground running at the big league level," Williams said. "It just runs counterproductive toward our Minor League players having overinflated statistics, and a lot of these things are statistically driven in the evaluations.
"I prefer to have, for instance, Nate Jones starting in [Class A in 2010] so that he can develop his breaking ball and his third pitch, his changeup, because he just may need that. Even if we do see him as a setup guy or future closer, we believe he needed more than that 100 mph.
"Now, could he have taken that 100-mph fastball and blown everybody away in the Minor Leagues and been put at the top of that prospect list?" Williams said. "Absolutely, but he wouldn't have been ready to compete here in the fashion he's been able to compete."
Williams used Dayan Viciedo as another example of the club's development plan, explaining that Viciedo was taught to drive the ball to right and right-center so that he could handle the steady diet of breaking balls given to young, aggressive hitters by Major League pitchers. Viciedo could have been allowed to swing away in every at-bat and pump up his home run totals, but Williams guessed that Viciedo would have been sent down a couple of times under that philosophy because of a lack of big league preparedness.
The same theory holds true for Hector Santiago, who, many argued, didn't deserve to be sent back to Triple-A Charlotte this season but was moved there to be stretched out and prepare for a possible spot start.