Tuesday, June 30, 2009
What is a "Padre Organizational Lineup," you ask? Simply put, it's a starting lineup, position-by-position, of the Padres who have most dominated their position so far this season. What makes it interesting is that the lineup is determined based on performance measured against one's league peers. In other words, Kevin Kouzmanoff's performance is measured against other Major League third basemen, while Logan Forsythe's performance is measured against other Cal League (now Texas League) third basemen. So even though Kevin is farther along and (probably) a better big league third basemen than Logan, Logan's likely going to be the one to make this team at the Hot Corner.
So without further ado:
1. CF - Brad Chalk .305 1 37 .359 (20 bags) - Probably should go Scotty Bombs here but I wanted a prototypical leadoff man and I'm not putting Ced Hunter or Tony Gwynn, Jr. in this lineup.
2. 2B - Lance Zawadzki .316 13 55 .402 - I'm moving Lance to 2B because of the dismal performance by Padres 2B this season. Actually, Eckstein and Sogard have been okay, but I'm looking for some pop here.
3. 3B - Logan Forsythe .332 8 32 .480 - This is the toughest call in the entire system because you have Darnell in High A and Kouz has started to hit. I should probably put Darnell at third, move Logan to second and put Lance at short, but I really want the SS I have here (see below).
4. 1B - Adrian Gonzalez .269 24 47 .414 - The Franchise. Craig "Craigers" Cooper is having a season, but no way Adrian doesn't make this squad.
5. LF - Kyle Blanks .283 12 38 .393 - I feel like I'm selling out putting Kyle here because he hasn't dominated this season, but he looked good last week with the Padres and his numbers are pretty solid for AAA. If Luis Durango was still hitting in the .340s he'd probably have left field locked down.
6. RF - Mike Baxter .352 5 54 .424 - Very excited to see what Mike is going to do this September in San Diego.
7. SS - Beamer Weems .301 2 26 .476 - Go ahead, you make the case to keep him off this team. I just couldn't. He reportedly has the best glove of any SS in the Padres system and, for Heaven's sake, his OBP is out of this world. Until Beamer somehow shows me he can't hit higher level pitching, he's on my team.
8. C - Mitch Canham .271 2 31 .353 - Finding a catcher must be difficult because the Padres don't have one at any level this season who is dominating. Canham is holding his own at AA and that is respectable.
9. SP - Mat Latos 7-1 1.28 38/9 K/BB ratio - A few candidates here but Latos gets the call. I'd probably go Anthony Bass as my #2 and Cory Luebke as my #3, with Peavy and Nick Schmidt rounding out the starting five.
Closer - Heath Bell 3-1 1.39 36/12 22 saves - What a beast. Bryan Oland made it marginally interesting.
And there you have it.
Disagree? Let me know in the comments.
Monday, June 29, 2009
I'm not gonna lie. I enjoyed it. Paul DePodesta (pictured above) has a key supporting role in the proposed film, as he did in the book, and he, among other characters, has plenty of choice baseball-related conversations, the kind only about a couple hundred thousand baseball fans around the country would really have any interest in watching play out on screen. It's probably for that reason, at least in part, the movie is not going to be made.
Had they shot Zaillian's script, however, methinks my fellow Padre fans would have been a bit perturbed at the final few scenes. I'll summarize the final moments of the script below and you can ponder on them at your leisure:
1. Beane and Red Sox owner John Henry standing at home plate at Fenway with Henry reaching a deal to hire Beane away from the A's, while Bill James looks on from one of the dugouts eating a salami sandwich;
2. DePodesta later calling Henry and convincing him to agree to trade Kevin Youkilis to the A's as part of the deal to hire Beane; and
3. Beane telling DePodesta he's changed his mind and is staying in Oakland and the A's aren't getting Youkilis. DePodesta is disappointed for a second but then says there's a guy in AA Mobile who the Padres don't realize "what they've got." A guy named Jason Bay. Then the movie fades to black as Beane and DePodesta continue to discuss moves for the '02-'03 offseason.
Pretty dicey ending if you ask me. For one, I'm pretty sure Kevin Towers was well aware of Bay's talent. And two, even if he wasn't, I'd rather have Scotty "Bombs" Hairston now than Jason Bay anyway.
They should make a movie about Scotty Bombs.
Now that's something I'd pay to see.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
You've really been getting after it these last few weeks. And by "it" I mean young high school boys.
Just kidding. I mean that's a true statement but I didn't mean it that way. What I mean is you've been getting after it on the recruiting trail as of late and again showing your unequaled prowess in that area of your chosen profession. Just in the last 10 days or so you've added to a 2010 class that already included Chandler Whitmer, Shawn Afryl and Corey Cooper, these three beasts:
1. Daniel Easterly, S, Cass Technical HS, Detroit, MI
Daniel is a 6'4" 197 pounder out of Detroit. He is known as an athlete and a hard worker, two qualities you have to love in a player. Plus, you never want to discount the toughness of a kid who comes out of Detroit. Just ask my advisor, Tatt Mareeco, a native of Flint, Michigan. Tatt is not that tough in his own right, but he knows a lot of guys that are.
2. Mark Wilson, MLB, Lincoln HS, Tallahassee, FL
Mark is a 6'2" 225-pound linebacker who is currently dominating the Tallahassee area. I don't need to tell how many beast athletes play football in Florida, and I'm glad to see you trick another one of them to leave the state of Florida and come to Champaign. Don't get me wrong, I think Champaign is awesome. But that's got to be a hard sell to a 17-year old who grew up around palm trees. Anyway, Wilson is a monster. Nice job.
3. Dexter McDonald, CB, Rockhurst HS, Kansas City, MO
Dexter is a 6'2" 180-pound corner from the great city of Kansas City, Missouri. That's another sneaky tough city. Any place where Eddie Griffin and Ernest Hemingway used to hang out - not at the same time mind you - is a pretty tough place. Dexter is yet another top athlete you've brought into the fold at Illinois and, since he has only been playing football since his sophomore year of high school, his chance at high upside is intriguing.
Well done, Coach. Well done.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
I will say, though, that this card is choice. In fact, that's exactly the pose I would have had, had I ever been asked by the Fleer Company to pose for a sports card.
Speaking of Kemp. What a beast. There's nothing quite like the old AFL.
Not to mention, Kemp was so much cooler than this gas bag.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Dear Lake Elsinore Storm Starting Rotation (Messrs. Kluber, Hefner, Luebke, Pelzer and McBryde),
That's quite a rotation you guys have at Lake Elsinore this season. I was perusing the Internets this morning, reviewing some minor league statistics, when I noticed that you guys have some monster stats down in the Cal League. WHIP, wins, innings pitched, ERA, all that jive.
But what really jumped out at me were the number of Ks you've all amassed. And I'm not talking about just one guy getting a bunch of Ks and carrying the rest of the group. I'm talking about a consistently high number of Ks down the line from each and every one of you.
Let me lay out the numbers though I'm sure you all already know them:
Corey Kluber (pictured above): 93Ks, 1st in the Cal League
Cory Luebke: 80Ks, 3rd in the Cal League
Jeremy McBryde: 76Ks, T6th in the Cal League
Wynn Pelzer: 76 Ks, T6th in the Cal League
Jeremy Hefner: 75Ks, T8th in the Cal League
I'm no mathmetician, but that looks to me like the entire rotation is in the top 8 in Ks in the Cal League. None too shabby.
From this point forward I'm dubbing you the K-Men. It's like the X-Men, except far less creative and interesting.
Good luck in the second half. Perhaps a couple of you will make the move to San Antone.
[Update: 8:40 PM EST: I was thinking about this some more and I thought of a comparison. You five guys are all in the top 8 in the Cal League in strikeouts. What, I just asked myself, would the Padres rotation look like if they had 5 of the top 8 strikeout pitchers in the NL? The answer? It's these five beasts:
Tim Lincecum: 125 Ks, 1st in NL
Johan Santana: 97 Ks, 3rd in NL
Dan Haren: 96 Ks, 5th in NL
Yovani Gallardo: 93 Ks, 6th in NL
Josh Johnson: 88 Ks, 8th in NL
Yeah, I'd take that rotation.
Incidentally, despite missing a couple starts, Peavy is seventh in the NL with 92 Ks.]
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
You've been back from your hamate bone injury for a couple of days now and I like what I'm seeing. You make plays defensively, you play with speed, you step confidently to the plate and you have a general flair for the game that most of the other Padre players just don't have.
It's only been 9 games total so far (24 ABs) but for a guy who never played above A ball before this season, you comport yourself pretty well. I sense good things. All of which prompted me to look ahead a few years and consider how you might one day rank among Padres starting shortstops.
Thus, below is a list of Padres starting shortstops ranked by recognition. What does "ranked by recognition" mean? It means it's not necessarily a skill ranking, but rather a ranking of what order these SS's come to mind when someone says "Give me the name of a Padre shortstop."
Anyway, it'll probably make more sense once I rank them.
1. Garry Templeton ('82-'90): the most recognizable Padre SS
2. Khalil Greene ('04-'08): close to surpassing Templeton, but faded
3. Enzo Hernandez ('71-'72, '74-'76): not good, but defined 1970s-era Padres
4. Ozzie Smith ('78-'81): a Cardinal but people still know his beginning
5. Tony Fernandez ('91-'92): a member of the Four Tops
6. Chris Gomez ('96-'98): quiet member of two playoff teams
7. Bill Almon ('77): former #1 overall pick
9. Ricky Gutierrez ('93-'94): had flashes of goodness
10. Damian Jackson ('99-'00): one of faceless Latinos employed in 2000s
11. Ramon Vazquez ('03): Latino
12. D'Angelo Jimenez ('01): Latino
13. Deivi Cruz ('02): Latino
14. Derrel Thomas ('73): weird spelling of first name
15. Tommy Dean ('69-'70): have no idea who this is
So, Everth, there's the list. As you can see it's not exactly blowing the doors off Cooperstown. In retrospect it may have been nice to keep Ozzie but would the Padres have done much better in the 80s with him on the roster instead of Templeton? Maybe, maybe not. It's not like Templeton was a zero for the Padres. Khalil's downfall is Shakespearean and Tony Fernandez got shipped away before he could make a true mark. Chris Gomez was just steady. Enzo is a punchline and the rest of the guys are pretty forgettable.
Anyway, my point is that you've got a shot to move up this list quickly. As you learn to play the Big League game, I'm thinking you could pass Khalil on this list by 2012; sooner if the Padres win a sneaky Championship in the next few years with you at SS (don't laugh). With your game-changing speed and overall flair (there's that word again) for the game, you've got a shot to become a fan favorite in the Diego. And hopefully, someday soon, synonomous with the term "Padre Shortstop."
[Update: 9:50 PM EST: It just occurred to me that Damian Jackson might not be Latino. And you know what? He's not. He's from L.A. F. Sorry, Damian.]
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Klee's article included this revealing line:
"Still, you can tell a player from a pretender, and freshman D.J. Richardson is a player. I'm still thinking he could compete at any program in the country. He's noticeably bigger and plays with a Peoria swagger, but it's the way he values defense that sets him apart."
That shit's real. I can't tell you how many times as I go about my day-to-day business that I overhear people say, "There goes Bevormo, him and his Peoria swagger."
Yep. It happens.
You know, the last time the Illini had some "Peoria swagger" it was brought by the likes of Frank Williams, Marcus Griffin and Sergio McClain.
Those guys comported themselves quite well as Illini.
I'm sure D.J. will do the same.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Word on the street is that the Padres have called you up from Portland and you'll be at Petco this evening with the Big Club.
Congratulations, my good man, on your Major League debut.
Now, if I may be so bold, allow me to give you a bit of advice on some immediate actions to take when you arrive at the Park today. By following this advice you'll announce your presence with authority and immediately let the rest of the team know you're here to stay.
1. Drop a deuce in Brian Giles locker. This is a pre-emptive move because it is certain that Brian will be dropping a deuce in your locker soon. If he hasn't already.
2. Say hello to Chase Headley. Make sure to walk up to Chase and say, "Hey man, thanks for holding down my position for me. But I'm here now so you and your .230 batting average can plan on seeing a lot of pine." I'm sure Chase will appreciate that. It's bonding.
3. Get interview advice from Heath Bell. Heath is the only current Padre who gives good interviews. Seek him out this afternoon and get some tips on how to be interesting and provocative with the media. It's a sure way to get quoted on ESPN. If Heath isn't available, give Phil Nevin a call.
4. Ask to wear #19. Just kidding.
These are just a few things you can do today to take your mind off tonight's game and endear yourself to your new teammates. Feel free to improvise as needed.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
I knew this was coming ever since news broke of the Peavy-CY injuries, but to actually see it in print this morning had me taken aback.
Just take a look at the five men making up the Padres starting rotation as of this moment (career numbers in parentheses):
Kevin Correia (17-27, 4.58 ERA, 1.47 WHIP)
Chad Gaudin (30-31, 4.62, 1.53)
Josh Geer (3-3, 5.04, 1.35)
Wade LeBlanc (1-3, 8.02, 2.06)
Walter Silva (0-0, 6.52, 1.76)
Doesn't exactly call to mind the 1971 Orioles. In fact, it barely calls to mind the 1971 Padres (I'd give my favorite merino full zip sweater for a little Dave Roberts and Clay Kirby right now.)
But I digress. I don't want to take anything away from these five "Gentlemen of the Mound." I'm sure they'll do the best they can and, obviously, I wish them well. In fact, when Geer throws this afternoon against the M's, I'm going to do him the honor of stopping work immediately and devoting my full attention to his outing on mlb.tv.
I figure that's the least I can do to show support for young Mr. Geer.
Good luck today, Josh.
And Monkey, relax. At least you have a sweet green turtleneck to wear.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This must have been what it was like watching Sandy Koufax duel Juan Marichal back in '66.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Since I'm well past deadline let me just go ahead and list these beasts without comment. Their stats (through May 31) speak for themselves.
1. Mat Latos, RHP, Fort Wayne and San Antonio: 4-0, 36.1 IP, 38Ks, 8 walks, ERA and WHIP well under 1.00.
2. Will Inman, RHP, San Antonio: 4-1, 3.05 ERA, 44.1 IP, 36Ks, 8 walks, .92 WHIP
3. Brad Brach, RHP, Fort Wayne: 3-2, 1.17 ERA, 23 IP, 31Ks, 5 walks, .70 WHIP, 14 saves
4. Bryan Oland, RHP, Lake Elsinore: 0-1, 1.85 ERA, 24.1 IP, 28Ks, 9 walks, 1.15 WHIP, 14 saves
5. Cory Luebke, LHP, Lake Elsinore: 5-2, 2,88 ERA, 59.1 IP, 52Ks, 13 walks, 1.16 WHIP
6. Jeremy McBryde, RHP, Lake Elsinore: 6-1, 3.04 ERA, 53.1 IP, 55Ks, 13 walks, 1.01 WHIP
7. Ernest Frieri, RHP, San Antonio: 5-2, 3.65 ERA, 44.1 IP, 37Ks, 18 walks, 1.26 WHIP
8. Anthony Bass, RHP, Fort Wayne: 3-3, 2.74 ERA, 49.1 IP, 38Ks, 20 walks, 1.40 WHIP
9. Mike DeMark, RHP, San Antonio: 0-1, 1.82 ERA, 24.2 IP, 23Ks, 13 walks, 1.22 WHIP
10. Zach Herr, LHP, Fort Wayne: 3-1, 3.38 ERA, 24 IP, 32Ks, 5 walks, 1.00 WHIP, 7 holds
I'm already looking forward to next month and the possible appearance of Nick Schmidt.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
(Note to my reader: occasionally I'm going to post pictures of my favorite baseball and football cards featuring Padres and Chargers. Yes, I still collect sports cards.)
The Ernie Ladd rookie card. 1962 Fleer. I have this card on display in my apartment, on the bookshelf in my bedroom.
And you know what else is choice? This.
Friday, June 12, 2009
We need to have a talk, guys, and tonight seems like the right time. I'm going to throw out a statement and then I'm going to let it hang out there a moment while it sinks in.
Here it is:
You two are the most important players on the San Diego Padres.
Alright then. Now that that's out there, I'll explain. A couple of nights ago, up in L.A., you and the rest of the guys pulled out a tense 3-1 victory against the hated Dadgers. After the game, I perused the box score and there, right in the middle of the Padres lineup, was some very interesting data.
Kouzmanoff: 4 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI, 1 2B
Headley: 3 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 2B
Basically, you guys produced and the Padres won. And I doubt that was an accident. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if you two raise your production from this point on in the season, the Padres lineup is going to be rather peligroso to opposing pitchers.
As of today, Kouz, you are hitting .229 with a .275 OBP, 5 bombs and 28 ribeyes. Chase, you're sitting at .239, .319, 4 and 24. Paltry numbers for middle of the order guys, if I may make an understatement.
But if you guys can get on streaks where you push your batting averages into the .260 - .280 range, and get on pace to hit 20-25 bombs and knock in about 80 ribeyes each, the Padres are going to push quite a few runs across the plate and, by consequence, be pretty tough to beat.
I mean the Padres are only a few games under .500 now and you two have hardly hit.
Bottom line: if you guys get your numbers up, the Padres are going to win games. Just like on Wednesday against the hated Dadgers.
I look forward to you two continuing to hit tonight in Anaheim.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I was disappointed to hear the news today that you were arrested on drug charges and sent to the Peoria County Jail. Word is the 5-0 executed a search warrant and found 78 grams of marijuana, a digital scale and a .48 caliber handgun. You've been charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to deliver.
First off, as a Peoria native myself, I've spent a night or two in the Peoria County Jail and didn't find it all that rough. Hopefully you just signed a few autographs for the other inmates and then waltzed out of there after making bail.
But on a broader level, this is sad. You were one of the top players ever to come out of Peoria, you dominated in Champaign and weren't too shabby in the NBA at times. Unfortunately that dickhead Isaiah traded for Stephon Marbury, gave him your playing time and then shipped you over to the Bulls where you eventually washed out in part because of lack of effort.
It's too bad because you had NBA starting point guard talent. Maybe better than Deron, dare I say it.
Good luck, man. I hope you get out of this clean.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
That's a solid photo of you above. You look like a nice kid. Congrats on being the Padres 4th Round draft pick in the 2009 MLB Draft. I hear you're a young righthander from Florida who currently holds a full ride scholly offer from Florida St. I also see you want to put Ocala, Florida on the map. I hope you do so by way of the Diego.
Anyway, let me introduce you to a few of your fellow Day 2 draftees, guys I hope you'll be playing with on a Drino team coming soon.
First, there's James Needy. The Drinos drafted James in the 6th Round. He's a local Diego kid from Santana High School. Besides being a 6'5" hard throwing RHP and three-sport athlete at Santana High, Needy in his spare time likes to, um, design jewelry. Maybe he'll make you a nice piece.
A few rounds later in the 9th, the Drinos took Michigan righthander Chris Fetter. I think you'll like Chris. He is 6'8" and throws about 94 MPH. He also has the distinction of putting up 11 points on Greg Oden during his high school basketball days, back when Oden was good.
That's all I got for now. Welcome to the fold.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Welcome to the fold. If you sign, that is.
I hope you do sign. I think you're a heckuva player, maybe better than that Justin Upton guy. If I was your agent (why aren't I, by the way?) I'd say take the Drino caysh, start playing Minor League ball, and save your knees from that football stuff.
Remember, Grady Fuson and Kevin Towers are your friends.
Nice work on winning the MVP award at the Nike Camp in Champaign this weekend. I see you beat out, among others, three of the top QB prospects from the state of Michigan.
Of course you did.
From what I hear "you were the day's most consistent passer, showing great accuracy, footwork and coachability."
Looking forward to seeing you in the Orange and Blue in Fall 2010.
ps - Incidentally, I learned about your MVP award by e-mail from my advisor, Tatt Mareeco. Mareeco, as you may or may not know, is a die-hard Michigan fan. I'm pretty sure you've earned a begrudging respect in Mareeco's eyes by winning the award this weekend, a feeling I'm sure you'll cement by torching the Michigan defense for 4 TD passes sometime in the Fall of 2012.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Let's cut through the crap, Gaudin.
I only got one thing to say to you about pitching tonight against the D'Backs:
Strike those mother****ers out!
[Administrator note: Chad, Sorry, man. Dorn just stormed in here and took the reins of the blog for a moment. One second he's offering to put me in touch with his financial advisor, the next he's tapping away at a blog post. Not that I disagree with his message. I hope you do strike all those mother****ers out. Best, Bevormo.]
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009 ... one of the supreme great nights I've had as a Padre fan. I already mentioned that I was in town for the 84 NL Champions Weekend and I attended the games Friday and Saturday. Both nights were stellar - not the least because the Padres brought home wins over the Cubs each night - but Saturday was particularly choice as members of the '84 Padres squad were in attendance to sign autographs and participate in a pre-game ceremony.
What a beastly evening.
The players and coaches were set up at tables in groups of two or three around the Park at the Park starting about 5:30. By 5:35 many of my fellow beast Padre fans were already lined up and waiting for autographs. I grabbed a Coors Louie and jumped in the first line I saw - a particularly long line - and started to wait. After about five minutes I realized the line wasn't moving.
A few minutes later a Petco Park employee walked up and said that this line was the Steve Garvey line and there were shorter waits at other tables. I asked one question: "Where's Bevacqua?" He pointed me off toward the east side of the Park.
I walked over and moments later was standing a few feet away from a couple beasts by the names of Kurt Bevacqua and Greg Harris. As you can see below Kurt is a double-tasker, able to sign autographs and talk on his cell phone at the same time.
Another shot of Bevacqua. He hasn't changed much.
Dave Dravecky was also in attendance. I didn't have time to get his autograph but I did snap a few photos as he signed. Incidentally, before I made my way to Dravecky's table I got autographs - though no photos - from Ozzie Virgil, Tim Lollar and Craig Lefferts. Tim and Craig provided one of the funniest moments of the evening. The guy in line ahead of me was complimenting Craig on his pitching, saying that Craig had a great "screwball." Lollar heard that, looked over at Lefferts, and deadpanned, "He's not talking about your pitching."
Another shot of Dave. What a monster.
Terry Kennedy was in the house as well. I think that's Norm Sherry next to him but I could have that wrong. How's that for chasing down the facts?
McReynolds. Still looked like he could suit up and knock a few bombs if needed.
Wait. Is that Garvey or Ronald Reagan?
"Yes, I did hit a home run off Lee Smith to win Game 4 of the '84 NLCS. But let's not make too big a deal out of it."
Before the game started the '84 players and coaches rolled out along the warning track in two white limos.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
At the beginning of May, I ranked the top 10 Padres minor league hitters after one month of the season. Now, two months into the '09 campaign, I've taken another look at the numbers and updated the list.
Before I get into the rankings a few preliminary comments:
1. Mike Baxter and Craig Cooper (pictured above in that order) have almost identical numbers on the season. Also they are teammates in San Antonio and, my sources tell me, are roommates. They probably also share the ladeez, though I have heard no rumors about that. Needless to say, if you are the father of attractive twin girls between the ages of 17 and 22 living in San Antonio, I would keep them away from the ballpark.
2. If you only have a superficial knowledge of the Padres minor league system, it's possible you've only heard of Kyle Blanks, Matt Antonelli, Cedric Hunter and Kellen Kulbacki. None of those guys are on this list which, to me, suggests the depth of the Drino system. Not, as others might suggest, a lack of impact talent.
3. I really hope Blanks, Antonelli, Hunter and Kulbacki start hitting better.
Without further ado ...
1 (tie). Mike Baxter, OF, San Antonio: The Vandy grad and native New Yorker (Queens) just keeps raking this season. He finished May hitting .379, with 3 bombs and 40 ribeyes. He was also on base 43.4 out of 100 times up and was slugging to the tune of .553. His batting average and hit totals were good enough to be tied for the Texas League lead in both categories with his teammate, Craig "Craigers" Cooper. He doesn't have a clear position in the Bigs, but if he keeps hitting the Drinos will have to push him up to Portland, one would imagine.
1 (tie). Craig Cooper, 1B, San Antonio: The ND grad and native New Yorker (Plainview) just keeps raking this season. He finished May hitting .379, with 5 bombs and 36 ribeyes. He was also on base 44.9 out of 100 times up and was slugging to the tune of .532. His batting average and hit totals were good enough to be tied for the Texas League lead in both categories with his teammate, Mike "Mikey" Baxter. He doesn't have a clear position in the Bigs, but if he keeps hitting the Drinos will have to push him up to Portland, one would imagine.
(Note: Yes, those paragraphs are mirror images of each other, and for good reason. Right now Cooper and Baxter are basically the same guy. Think of them like a two-headed hit monster, the kind you might find in a Homeric epic if Homer had followed his better instincts and written about baseball.)
3. Jaff Decker, OF, Fort Wayne: Young Jaff (one of the youngest players in the Midwest League in fact) started the season on the DL but has since returned with a vengeance, John McClane-style. He's hitting .294 7 20 in only 102 at bats through May 31. That in addition to a robust .474 OBP and .569 slugging percentage, the latter number good enough to lead the entire Drinos minor league system. Given his age and dominance relative to his peers, Decker might have the highest upside of any hitting prospect in base-, er, in the Padres system.
4. Logan Forsythe, 3B, Lake Elsinore: Another on-base monster with considerable pop in his bat. Logan leads the Padres minors with a .481 OBP, a number that meshes nicely with his .325 6 20 primary numbers. From a pitcher's perspective, Logan is just a heckuva problem to pitch too. He's going to put a good swing on a good pitch at some point in the at bat, or he is going to walk.
5. Drew Cumberland, SS, Fort Wayne: Another young beast at Fort Wayne who has spent time on the DL this season. Drew is a very fast guy who can also drive the ball to the gaps. In 96 at bats on the season, he is hitting .365 and has an OBP of .450. He needs to work on his fielding and needs to stay healthy, but so far he is on the right track.
6. Lance Zawadzki, SS, Lake Elsinore-San Antonio: Speaking of shortstops, Lance raked so well at LE in April and May that Grady Fuson awarded him with a promotion to San Antonio. No wonder. Lance's power stroke was off the charts for a SS in the Cal League, smoking 10 bombs in 145 ABs. His slugging percentage of .552 was one of the tops in the system. Plus, he has a kick ass name.
7. Luis Durango, OF, San Antonio: Rapidly becoming one of my favorite players in the system, Luis just will not stop getting hits and stealing bases. He's hitting .333 with 24 bags and has basically taken the starting CF position in San Antonio from Ced Hunter. Luis is a prototype leadoff man who can get on base (.426 OBP) even if the hits aren't dropping. Also, he hails from Panama and is nicknamed the "Panamaniac." How beastly. No doubt Noriega loves this guy.
8. James Darnell, 3B, Fort Wayne: Jimmy D keeps plugging away down in Fort Wayne: .300 6 30, .457 OBP, .500 SLG. Ho-hum. I have a feeling Jimmy is biding his time in the cool Indiana Spring weather, taking his hits as they come to him, waiting to explode once the temperatures rise. At least that's how I'd play it if I was in the Midwest League in April and May.
9. Matt Clark, 1B, Fort Wayne: Clark is a hefty kid out of LSU. He was overshadowed in last year's draft because the Padres selected 1B Allan Dykstra in the first round, but so far Matt has outhit Allan through the first year of their professional careers. Compare: Matt is smoking .271 7 41, while Allan is dicking around with a .213 2 21. Sure, Allan draws a lot of walks and has an OBP of .403, but Matt is actually putting wood on cowhide. His 41 ribeyes lead the Padres minor league system.
10. Will Venable, OF, Portland: Thank God someone from AAA made this list. Blanks is scuffling and Chadder Huffman, though his numbers are similar to Will's, isn't exactly setting the world on fire. And I don't even want to talk about Matt Antonelli. I put Will here because I think he is a Big League ballplayer and I like his power stroke. Through May 31 he had 10 bombs in 191 at bats. Not stunning, but also not shabby. I note also that he hit two more bombs last night so look for him to move up this list come early July.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
[You may need an English-Spanish translator to read this letter. Please go find one. Immediatemente, por favor.]
I checked one of my favorite websites today, MadFriars, and they had a quick summary of your game last night down in the Dominican Republic. (Thanks also to MadFriars for that sweet photo of you above. Man, you have skinny arms.) Apparently, yesterday you went 2-3 with a 2-run bomb, a couple runs scored and a walk. After two games you have 7 ribeyes and are 4 for 7 to start the year.
What a beast.
For a guy who is supposed to be a defensive phenom, I like the early pop in your bat. You're about 16 or 17 now so no need to rush things, but I can't wait to see you Stateside.
In the meantime I may have to get down to the DR to see you play.