April minor league summary
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.