Tuesday, May 02, 2006

April minor league summary

Portland (11-12) 3 games back of Salt Lake in the Pacific North division.

Justin Leone (3b) has been the big offensive force for the Beavers. Leading the team in batting average(.379), slg pct(.701), ops (1.162) hits(33) total bases(61)l, and rbi(27). 1b Paul McAnulty started slowly and was hitting just .154 on April 15th but got things turned around and currently is hitting .319/.444/.556/1.000 with 3 homers and 13 rbi. Paul seems to have found a new patience at the plate and has 16bb to only 9k's. Another newcomer, Jack Cust is leading the club with .483 obp he also started slowly but he now has 21bb to just 9k's. He also has 5 homers and 16rbi. 2b Bobby Hill also has started to heat up and currently stands at .290/.407/.406/.813. On the other side: cf Freddy Guzman has returned to Portland after sitting out all of 2005 with a shoulder injury. He is playing regularly but still has not regained his top form. He is hitting just .250 with only a .327 obp and has just 8 steals so far. Termel Sledge also was coming off an injury and is struggling to this point. Hitting just .227.

The starting rotation of: Mike Thompson 3-0(4.82era), Tim Stauffer 1-2(6.00era), Seth Etherton 0-1(5.03era), Mario Ramos 0-2(7.32era) and Eric Junge 1-2(5.30era) have struggled. Not only are the hits allowed but the bb/k ratios are not good. The lone bright spot has been Brian Sikorski 0-2(3.31era) 4 saves and recently Jon Adkins has pitched 7 innings without allowing a run and just 3 hits and no walks for an 0.43 whip. The main concern here is that Tim Stauffer, once thought of as being "Major league ready", is now struggling big time. One thing for sure, a 6.00era and a 1.48whip are not the stats to get him promoted.

Mobile (9-15) 5 games back of Jacksonville in the Southern League South division.

Top catching prospect, George Kottaras, has been leading the Baybears offense. Through April he was hitting .303/.432/.682/1.114 with the team lead in homers(5), rbi(15), total bases(45), doubles(8) and runs scored(14). Alderson remarked that he needed some extra work on his defense when asked about the possibility of Kottaras moving up. Outfielders Drew Macias and Steve Baker have also been hot this month. Macias has only 1 homer but is hitting .307/.373/.480/.853 after a very slow start. Baker is hitting .299/.386/.403/.789 with one homer. Hitting stats in the southern league tend to be lower due to the pitcher friendly parks. CF prospect, Kennard Jones (.227) and ss prospect, Luis Cruz (.189), have really been struggling.

Top pitching prospects, Cesar Carrillo (2.57) and Jared Wells (2.03) have fared extremely well. Carrillo has allowed just 23 hits in 28ip and 6bb/20k's while giving up just 1 homer. Wells has been nearly as good, allowing 19 hits in 26.2ip with 12bb/26k and also 1 homer. Top relief prospects, Dale Thayer(5.73era) and Leo Rosales(7.27era) have been disappointing so far. Thayer has 5 saves in 10 appearances. Roger Deago has been a bit of a surprise. Working mainly in long relief and spot starting he has compiled a 1.40era over 19.1ip with 3bb/11k and no homers.

Lake Elsinore (12-11) one game back of Inland Empire in the California league south division.

Thus far outfielder, Josh Howard, has been hitting .346/.485/.423/.908. While good numbers on the surface, this is an extreme hitters league and the low slugging is somewhat of a concern. Top prospects, c Colt Morton(.276 2hrs), Sean Kazmar(.262 1hr) and 3b Chase Headley(.258 1hr) have been disappointing.

Pitchers Michael Ekstrom(1.91era) and Evan Meek(2.08era) are leading the staff. Ekstrom has given up 29hits over 28 ip but with a good(7bb/32k) k/bb ratio. Meek, with his mid 90's heat has been effectively wild. He has hit 3 batters and given up 18bb/25k's but has allowed just 15hits in his 22ip. Closer, Neil Jamison(1.35era) has 5 saves in just 6.2ip with 1bb/5k's and only 4 hits allowed. He had also recorded 3 saves without being scored upon prior to his promotion from Ft Wayne. Cesar Ramos(3.75era) has logged 26ip with 5bb/14k while giving up 27hits including 2 homers. Lefty Brent Carter(6.08era) has allowed 33hits in just 23ip but has allowed just 6bb/19k.

Fort Wayne 11-10 5.5 games back of Lansing in the Midwest league eastern division.

Will Venable, drafted for his superior athletic ability, has started to put it together on a baseball field like the Padres brass had hoped he would. Currently he is hitting .355/.438/.484/.922 with 10bb/10kin 62 ab. He also has stolen 6 bases without being caught. The Wizards have two power hitting first basemen, Kyle Blanks(.324/.419/.595/1.013 3hrs) and Daryl Jones(.299/.415/.481/.895 3 hrs) creating a deliema for playing time. Texas ss, Seth Johnston, has switched to 2b and is hitting .351/.411/.474/.885 with one homer and team leading 19rbi. Catcher Nick Hundley has been somewhat disappointing with .221ba but has 13 rbi.

Starting pitchers, Josh Geer(3-0 3.54era) and Grant Varnell(1-1 2.49era) have been leading the staff. Geer has allowed 34hits in 28ip but only 4bb/22ks. Varnell has allowed 23 hits in 21.2ip with 4bb/16k's. Closer John Madden took over for Neil Jamison after Jamison was promoted and has 2 saves with 0.00era. He has allowed just 5 hits in 9.2ip with 1bb/11k's.

In summing up the first month of the minor league season, it would appear that the Padres minor leagues are not as barren as some experts would have us believe. Of course these are just results of one month's worth of baseball and a long way from being big league ready statistics. There is much speculation, however, that a few are close enough to help the Padres if they are needed, this year.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Friday's games

In Portland, Mike Thompson pitched six shutout innings and allowed just 3 hits and 2 walks. Luckily the offense built a big lead as 3 relievers, Lopez, Anderson and Burke combind to give up 6 runs in the final 3 innings of an 11-6 win. DH Jack Cust set the tone early with a first inning 2 run homer. Justin Leone was a perfect 3 for 3 with 2 walks, 3 rbi and a homer. Jon Knott also went yard. Box

In Mobile, Jared Wells was spinning a beauty. He went 5 innings, striking out 8 while allowing just 2 hits and no runs. The bullpen made things a little shaky in the 9th but finally preserved the 2-1 win with Thayer getting the save. Steve Baker had 2 hits, including a 2 out, rbi triple in the first inning. Box

Out in Lake Elsinore, Evan Meek was wildly effective. He worked 5 innings allowing just one run on 4 hits but he walked 2 and hit two batters. Ryan Klatt would get the win (after taking the loss yesterday) as the Storm offense got to the Lancaster bullpen for 2 late runs in a 3-1 win. 3b Chase Headley stroked a 2 out 2 rbi double to provide the margin of victory. Box

Ft Wayne was postponed.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Opening day

The Portland Beavers opened up the season with Tim Stauffer and he struggled through 5 innings. He allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks but was not involved in the decision due to a late inning comeback fueled by new Beaver Jack Cust's homer. Brian Sikorski, Ryan Meaux(the win) and Jon Adkins(the save) combined for 4 shut out innings to close the game and a 6-4 Beavers win. Cf Freddy Guzman, lf Jack Cust and 2b Bobby Hill each had 2 hits. Box

At Mobile, the Baybears spotted Cesar Carrillo to an early 4 run cushion and he cruised allowing 1 run on 3 hits, though experiencing some command problems walking 4 in 4 innings. Roger Deago picked up the win in relief with 2 solid innings. Lead off man, Kennard Jones, doubled and walked twice and scored 3 runs. 2b Luis Cruz, c George Kottaras and lf Drew Macias each contributed 2 hits in the 5-2 win. Box

Down in Lake Elsinore, the Storm was involved in a good pitching match up as Lancaster's Chico threw 5 hitless innings striking out 7. Lake Elsinore's Mark Ekstrom went 5 and gave up just one run while striking out 6. The Storm would get two runs off the Jethawks bullpen but also gave up two of our own pinning a 3-2 loss on Ryan Klatt. The Storm would manage just 4 hits with Chase Headley, Sean Kazmar and Colt Morton all hitless. Box

Ft Wayne opened at W Michigan and 1b Kyle Blanks belted out 2 homers in his Wizards debut. Daryl Jones launched a solo shot as the Wizards picked up a 5-3 win. Steve Delabar gave up 1 earned run in 5 innings but the bullpen couldnt hold the lead to get him a win. Neal Jamison picked up the save in relief. Box

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring 7 thru 14 March

Well better late than never. I finally got computer access from my folks house in Arkansas so here are my observations and thoughts from my first week.

First week impressions:

My first week here has been wonderful despite the rotten weather. I got right down to the practice fields and saw Tag Bozied right away. He sure looks great and showing no ill effects from the knee injury that sidelined him all last season. I talked to him and he said that he was fully recovered and eager to be back on the field. I was also gratified to see him taking reps at 3b. With all the new blood that we have acquired at 1b he seemed to have moved down the depth chart over there. He appeared to me to be a little rusty over there but by the end of the week he was looking more comfortable. Corey Smith was looking better defensively than I had been led to believe. It will be interesting to see how the rosters shake out between Mobile and Portland. I certainly can see Tag as a viable candidate for starting 3b at Portland. There appears to be a dearth of ss candidates for the Portland job. I think that Towers is searching for a journeyman to start the year there.

Josh Barfield appeared much better defensively than I had seen him before. He was athletic and fluid around the bag. Khalil and Josh would be such a sweet combination. Josh is really swinging a hot bat and showing some power and clutch hitting ability. Bellhorn is making a little noise with his power but, at least in my eyes, Josh has nailed down the job already.

We certainly need to get a 3rd baseman in camp. Castilla is with the Mexican team and there is no one here that I would want to start the season with. That doesn't bode well for this season as Castilla is sure to spend at least some of the season nursing a variety of injuries. Again, here's hoping that Tag can regain some of his skills at 3b just in case. Geoff Blum is having another good camp and looks to be a slimmed down version of himself. He has been swing the bat well from both sides and playing good defense. He will probably nail down one of the utility jobs.

Roberts has been a disappointment for me in this camp. He has been lax in his effort in the field letting quite a few balls get into the gaps that, in my opinion, should have been cut off. It could be that its quite an adjustment to reading balls from left field as opposed to center. He has been unable to get the bunt down on a couple of occasions where I saw him try. That included failing to get down a sac bunt. He does however, seem to be swinging the bat well. In addition to hitting well, he has been running the bases agressively. Not that he has been stealing bases but just taking the extra base whenever humanly possible.

It is a joy to see Mike Cameron in center. He is such a well conditioned athlete and yet he is continually working to get better jumps. After leaving the game he continues to work on the sidelines and in the outfield. Dang I am happier now than ever that we were able to acquire him. I really liked Nady but Cameron seems to be a special guy. His acquisition really improves the outfield defense and he seems to be swinging the bat quite well also. He doesnt seem to be such a free swinger as I thought. He seems quite patient and intelligent in his approach at the plate. Just watching him in the spring it seems hard to believe that he strikes out as much as he has shown in the past. He runs the bases agressively and smartly. Ben Johnson is having a good camp and showing more of the athletic ability that gives him such a high ceiling. On the other hand, Paul McAnulty is not swinging the bat well and seems really sliggish in the field. He reported to camp a lot slimmer but it doesnt seem to be translating into increased performance. I was unable to get good views of Termel Sledge due to him nursing an injury. I sure hope that I get a better look next week. Valent and Cust would appear destined for minors or waivers.

Ryan Klesko is disappointing both in the field and at the plate. He does seem to be working on some things very hard though. I would say that he is working harder than I have seen in past camps. Ryan has been staying in late in games even when all the other veterans are taking their leave in the 6/7th inning, he stays seeming intent in getting all the reps he can.

Woody Williams appears finished. He seems to lack stuff and command. I havent really seen him enough this time for form any concrete judgments but I dont like what I see. Andy Ashby, although valiant, should probably retire. Clay Hensley appears to have lost velocity over the offseason. Hopefully this is just a temporary thing and he will be getting up to speed soon. Dewon Brazelton is extremely impressive. He is agressively going after hitters with a very good set of pitches. Watching him pitch this spring it calls to mind Dwight Gooden. Its been a while since I saw Gooden pitch so I dont know why it gives me this impression. I feel quite certain that he will be winning a spot in the rotation and that Hensley will be returning to the pen. Linebrink and Hoffman seem far from ready, however, Hoffy is known to take the spring to work on things and is seldom sharp in the spring so maybe this is rubbing off on Scott. How good our bullpen will be is certainly a point of concern.

Mike Piazza returned from the WBC and appeared to be game ready. His bat did not appear to be slowing down as has been reported. Instead, Mike was ripping the ball with authority and even homered to erase a Giant lead. Mirabelli appeared to be swinging the bat well but I was disappointed with his defensive prowess. In my opinion, it was far below the reported quality. Again, I am speaking from less than a week's worth of viewing so things could look a lot different by April.
Ross is certainly an interesting proposition. On one hand he has very good defensive skills and is even hitting the ball well but his past records indicate that this is just a spike in spring training that will probably pass in the regular season. Still it really could cause the Padres to carry 3 catchers and use Piazza to back up Klesko. That would certainly limit the possibility of Adrian Gonzalez making the opening day roster.

Watching Big Walter Young move around the bag one is immediately surprised by his nimbleness. I expected him to be clumsy and inept where this is certainly not the case. He can certainly give the ball a ride. Among the current Padres only Piazza has displayed that type of power.

During Monday's practice just prior to leaving to catch the Padres/Brewers in Maryvale, I stayed a few extra minutes to watch Jon Knott take batting. I was rewarded with a variety of power drives including 2 blasts that cleared 385 rather easily. He certainly looks like winter ball agreed with him. I wish that he was being given a better shot to make the big club. I sure dont understand what it is that he isnt doing right.

Overall, I was pleased to see the Padres coaches working diligently to stress fundamentals and basic techniques in the minor league camp and in the major league camp. Much more so than in previous camps. Overall there appeared to be much more energy in camp than in my previous ones. I am excited about this club. I am not sure where the pitching is going, especially with the Chan Ho situation(WBC illegal substance use) and Woody Williams decline. I will be back in Peoria on the 21st for my final week of spring training. Hopefully there will be answers to at least some of my burning questions.

Aloha, Hank

Sunday, March 05, 2006

New season

Hello again everyone. I didn't forget ya'll, I just forgot how to access my blog. I know that it speaks volumes for my memory, but its the truth. We look to have a great season and I will try to give some reports from my time in Peoria. Hope that everyone is having a great year and the Padres play some good baseball for us.

Aloha, Hank

Monday, September 05, 2005

Minors recaps for 05 Sep 05

WELCOME BACK Timmy! Tim Stauffer got back on track in a big way in the Beavers final game of the season. He went the distance in posting a 3 hit shut out while striking out 9 and walking no one. Jon Knott(25) and Greg Sain(8) provided all the offense he would need with a pair of solo homers. This was a very nice outing for Tim to take into the offseason. Spring traing should hold a regular job at the major league level for this young man. The Beavers finished their season 70-73.
Beavers box

Brian Whitaker suffered his 13th loss to West Tenn 5-2 in the final game of the season for the Baybears. He worked 6 innings and gave up all 5 runs on 9 hits and 4 walks. Joe Gerber homered and Pete Ramos drove in the other Baybears run. The win by West Tenn sealed the second half title in the Southern Leagues North Division. Mobile finished the year 58-80 and manager Gary Jones admitted disappointment with the record but stated that he was impressed with how the guys went about their business every day.
Baybears box

Lake Elsinore:
Already with eyes on the first rounds of the California League Playoffs starting Saturday, Padres nr 1 draft pick, Cesar Carrillo, got cuffed around for 2.1ip against Lancaster in a 15-4 loss. He gave up 7 earned runs on 6 hits and 5 walks. Lancaster chased Carrillo in the 3rd and then proceeded to bombard 3 other Storm pitchers before being quieted in the 9th by Wilmer Villatoro. I expect Carrillo, as well as the others, were just staying loose and getting their work in. Fernando Valenzuela jr smacked a pair of doubles and struck out 3 times on the night. Skip Adams and Juan Ciriaco each contributed two hits.
Storm box

Ft Wayne:
Dayton erupted for 5 runs in the 3rd inning against Joel Santo and held on for a 5-3 win. Santo allowed 5 runs on 10 hits, 2 of which were homers, in just 3 innings. Matt Thayer had 3 hits, including a 2 run homer, as the Wizards mounted a 7th inning comeback. Pete Ciofrone walked and scored on Drew Davidson's double but that was it.
The Wizards commence the Midwest League playoffs at West Michigan in the Eastern Division playoffs(best of 3) on Wednesday. Michael Ekstrom 13-6 is slated to start for the Wizards.
Wizards box

Eugene(short season)
Steve Delabar gave up 1 run on 3 hits in 5 innings while striking out 5 but John Madden gave up the winning run in the 9th and again in the 10th to take the loss. After Everett took the lead in the 9th, Brandon Gottier hit a solo homer to tie in the bottom of the ninth but to no avail as Madden gave up two runs in the 10th for a 4-2 loss.
Ems box

Minors recaps 4 Sep 05

Three former major league pitchers, Kerry Lightenberg, Randy Choate and Matt Herges, combined to shut down the Beavers on one run and six hits. No Beavers batter had more than one hit and Nick Trzesniak was 0-3 in his return to the starting lineup after a 4 game absence.
Beavers box

4 West Tenn pitchers combined to shut out the Baybears for 11 innings on just 2 hits(both by Mobile starting pitcher Jose Oyervidez). In fact, West Tenn was also shut out for 10.2innings before breaking a scoreless tie with 2 out in the bottom of the 11th. It is entirely possible that the participants were more focused on family and friends and the recovery from the storm Katrina than on a baseball game. With all that has happened, and right in their own back yard, its amazing that the players can even play ball at all.

Lake Elsinore:
Clay Hamilton picked up his 11th win as he held Bakersfield to 1 run on 4 hits in the 7-1 victory. He struck out 6 and walked none. Colt Morton got back in the hr column with a 2 run shot(his 19th) in the 7th inning. Fernando Valenzuela jr and Drew Macias also contributed 2 hits each.
Storm box

Ft Wayne:
Josh Alley had 2 hits, walked twice, scored a run and drove in a run while Matt Lauderdale smacked his 10th homer to power the Wizards to a 7-0 win over Dayton. 16th round draft pick, Brent Carter, continues to dominate since signing out of Alabama. He picked up his 2nd straight win with 6 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 8. So far as a pro, Carter (Alabama's all time strikeout leader) has allowed 16 earned runs in 84 innings with 79k's and a 1.71era.
Wizards box

Eugene(short season)
Jimenez Angulo gave up 5 runs(1 earned) on 10 hits as Vancouver beat the Ems 7-3. c Brandon Gottier drove in two runs with a pair of singles and Chad Steiner also contributed two hits.
Ems box

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Minors recaps 3 Sep 05

Mike Thompson pitched 7 strong innings, striking out 6 and allowing just 1 run on 2 hits but Jason Kershner was touched for 3 runs on 4 hits to take the 4-1 loss. Kennard Jones doubled and scored the only Beavers run on a double by Manny Alexander. c David Ross was 0-3 while Nick Trzeniak did not play.
Beavers box

Jack Cassel gave up just 1 run in six inning but took the loss as the Baybears were shut out by West Tenn. cf Jeff Duncan tripled and c George Kottaras doubled for two of the Baybears 4 total hits.
Baybears box

Lake Elsinore:
Bakersfield jumped on starting pitcher, Clark Girardeau, for 8 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks and cruised to an 17-3 win over the Storm. Only Dirk Hayhurts(2.0ip scoreless) and Wilmer Villatoro(1.0ip scoreless) escaped unscathed. Fernando Valenzuela jr hit a solo homer while Skip Adams and Brett Dowdy each contributed a pair of singles.
Storm box

Ft Wayne:
Josh Geer shut out Dayton on 6 hits for 6.1ip despite walking 4. He struck out 5 but Jonathan Ellis gave up 4 runs to tie the game at 4 in the 8th inning and Richard Steik gave up the winning run in the same inning. dh Matt Thayer and rf Tom Vincent each had 2 hits in the 5-4 loss. Dayton swiped 3 bases off of c Nick Hundley.
Wizards box

Eugene(short season)
Grant Varnell, not to be confused with Geoff Vandel, gave up 5 runs on 10 hits for his second loss. Vancouver pitchers limited the Ems to just 1 runs in the 5-1 Ems loss. 1b Daryl Jones had 2 of the hits and drove in the only Ems run.
Ems box

Who is: Geoff Vandel?

Geoff Vandel - P/1B/OF - 2005
Geoff was committed to Chipola JC
He was a star for Shaw High School in Columbus Georgia both as a pitcher and a hitter. Born June 9, 1987.
HT: 6'2" - WT: 205 - GPA: 2.95 - PSAT: - SAT:
B: L - T: L
His HS stats: Bat Avg. .348 - RBI 20 - HR 4 -
Pitching - W-10 L-2 - ERA 2.05
Career Highlights
1. MVP sunbelt classic
2. All city MVP HS coaches award
3. Rookie of the year

Excerpt from the Columbus Enquirer: full article

On draft day, everyone finds out they were selected a little differently.

Shaw pitcher Geoff Vandel read it for himself on MLB.com.
Vandel was picked by the San Diego Padres in the 34th round, the 1,028th overall selection.

Waiting around for one's name to be called isn't easy.

Vandel and his dad, Robert Vandel, had plenty of time to talk before his name was called. Every so often the phone would ring -- it was friends and family wanting to find out if Vandel had been selected.

After three-plus hours of talking and waiting, Vandel's name finally appeared.

"I was kind of expecting it," Vandel said. "But I was watching and waiting, and now it's a big relief."

Robert Vandel said Geoff wants to sign with the Padres. Vandel has signed a letter of intent to play for Chipola College in Marianna, Fla.

"He wants to go play ball," Robert Vandel said. "I would rather him go to school for a year or two and wait and see."

But that might not happen.

"It's a great feeling," said Vandel, who went 4-1 with 65 strikeouts in the GHSA playoffs. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a dream come true."

Geoff was among the first to sign with the Padres after being drafted in the 34th round. He was assigned to the Peoria Padres in the Arizona Summer league where he has excelled. He appeared in 10 games, all in relief, where he struck out 29 and walked just 5 in 19 innings. He allowed just 1 earned run there and when the league finished he was promoted to Eugene of the Northwest league. At Eugene he was given a start and went 5 innings, allowed 3 hits, no runs, struck out 6 and walked no one. His current era stands at 0.37 with k/bb of 35/5. Pretty heady stats for a 34th round pick.

I am fairly sure that no one expects Geoff to continue posting these incredible numbers as he moves through the Padres system, but I wouldn't bet against him.

Minors recaps 2 Sep 05

Brandon Emanuel pitched 4 innings allowing just 1 run on 2 hits but Eddie Bonine picked up the win with 2 superb innings. He allowed no hits and struck out 5 of the 6 batters he faced. Scott Cassidy picked up his 11th save. Josh Barfield hit his 15th homer and Bobby Scales had 3 hits including a double and scored twice. Nick Trzesniak pinch hit and singled to raise his average back to .395. David Ross has been getting most of the p/t since being sent down from the Padres. Its a shame that Nick has been benched while hitting over .400.
Beavers box

Sean Thompson allowed just 1 run in 7 innings despite 4 hits and 5 walks. He struck out 7 but was not involved in the decision. Dale Thayer logged his 27th save. Jeff Duncan tripled and scored the winning run on a balk in the 10th inning.
Baybears box

Lake Elsinore:
Luke Steidlmayer gave up 4 runs(3 earned) in six innings as Bakersfield beat the Storm 6-1. Skip Adams had two hits and drove in the only Storm run.
Storm box

Ft Wayne:
Michael Ekstrom worked into the 6th inning and gave up 6 runs on 9 hits for his 6th loss as Dayton beat the Wizards 9-3. Josh Alley had 2 hits. Matt Lauderdale homered, walked, scored twice and drove in two runs. Matt Bush and Chase Headley were both held hitless.
Wizards box

Eugene(short season)
Geoff Vandel, promoted from Arizona, made his debut for the Ems. He pitched 5 strong innings, striking out 6, walking none, allowing no runs on 3 hits. Geoff has allowed just 1 earned run over 24 innings and struck out 35(total). Chad Steiner doubled and drove in Mike Richardson with the only Ems' run. Will Venable singled and struck out in 4 ab's.
Ems box