Padres April Wrap

Why even bother with an official scorer? Xavier Nady hits a lazy fly ball to center in the 10th on Friday night that Ricky Ledee loses in the lights; ball clanks off Ledee’s glove and it’s ruled a hit. Then Saturday night, Mike Lieberthal hits a ducksnort to right that Nady has to run a mile to get to and he just misses making a terrific play. E-9. I guarantee that if this series had been played in Philly, Nady would have one less hit and one less error next to his name right now.

Speaking of Nady, I ran into him and Sean Burroughs on the trolley back from the stadium Sunday evening. Yep, that’s right, they take the trolley to work. Cool, huh?

We’ll finish up with David Marshall’s discussion of Tony Gwynn and the Hall of Fame tomorrow. Meantime…

Oliver Perez

Oliver Perez has been sent to Portland. I worried about his fast promotion right from the get-go, and now that the Pads are doing the right thing, I hope it’s not a case of closing the barn door after the horse has bolted. Perez is very young and very talented. He just needs to find an arm slot that he can live with and learn how to pitch. And Triple-A will be a lot better place for him to do those things than San Diego, where the tendency has been to market Perez as an up-and-coming Latino star. Not that he can’t be, but that kind of pressure might not be the best thing for a 21-year-old who needs to learn his craft.

In the interest of accountability, I went back and looked at what I wrote about Perez when the Padres first recalled him last year:

Perez is a very promising young pitcher, but (a) based on what I’ve seen, I don’t believe he’s quite ready for the Show and (b) it is going to be more of a challenge to monitor his pitch counts in San Diego, where the goal is to win games, than it would be in Mobile, where the focus is on player development.

I’d rather have been wrong. Here’s hoping the Pads give him the time and attention he needs and deserves.

Padres April Wrap

It was a tough month for the Friars, who finished April with a 10-16 record. Here’s a quick rundown of positives and negatives:


  • Although he struggled at times, Xavier Nady showed that he can play at this level. It can be frustrating to watch because he gets himself out more than he should, but he’s learning.
  • Ramon Vazquez has been getting on base like a madman and playing a solid shortstop. He’s showing the ability to hit left-handers. A few more months of this and we may never hear of Donaldo Mendez again.
  • Rondell White has stayed healthy and provided some pop in the middle of the lineup. I still don’t believe he was worth Mark Phillips, but that’s water under the proverbial bridge. White is producing now, and if he keeps this up, he may have value to a contender after the All-Star break.
  • After a slow start due to injury, Ryan Klesko is rounding back into form.
  • Thanks to Vazquez, Mark Loretta, and Sean Burroughs, the infield defense is much better than it was last year.
  • Lou Merloni and Dave Hansen have been solid additions to the bench.
  • For the most part, the big three starters (Adam Eaton, Jake Peavy, and Brian Lawrence) have been outstanding. Eaton and (surprisingly) Lawrence have struggled with command at times, but more often than not they’ve been getting the job done.
  • Matt Herges and Mike Matthews have proven to be valuable additions to the bullpen. Luther Hackman has also been effective, with Jaret Wright showing signs.


  • Burroughs is off to a slow start at the plate. He’s taking good pitches and swinging at bad ones. But it’s early, he’s young, and at least he’s playing very good defense.
  • The catching is still a mess. Gary Bennett got run over by Brian Jordan and hurt his knee, Wiki Gonzalez has trouble catching the baseball, and Michael Rivera doesn’t look like he’ll hit much. There’s no help on the farm either. This is a position of extreme weakness within the organization and everyone knows it.
  • Keith Lockhart is wasting a roster spot that would be better spent on just about anyone.
  • Brandon Villafuerte lost his closer’s job after pitching poorly in save situations. He walked too many guys and gave up too many homers. On the bright side, he’s done better since moving back into a lower pressure role.
  • Clay Condrey and Oliver Perez were downright brutal in April. Opponents were hitting .330/.446/.652 against Perez when he was sent to Portland.

And a look at the minors (warning, stat assault ahead):

AAA Portland

The Beavers had a terrific April, led by Jason Bay and some fine starting pitching. They finished the month at 17-9.

Pads’ #4 (my preason ranking) prospect Tagg Bozied was promoted aggressively and battled an ankle injury, finishing the month at .170/.278/298, with 5 walks and 12 strikeouts in 47 at-bats. Ben Howard (#8) started five games and had a 3.68 ERA over 29 1/3 innings. Walks are down (12), but so are the strikeouts (14). Mike Bynum (#9) started the season in San Diego (and is back with the big club again). He made four Triple-A starts and finished April with a 4.09 ERA over 22 innings, with 9 walks and 18 punchouts. Michael Rivera (#13) was hitting just .139/.139/.167, with 0 walks and 14 strikeouts in 36 at-bats before his recall. Jason Bay (honorable mention) hit .370/.495/.765, with 18 walks and 13 strikeouts in 81 at-bats. I’m beginning to regret not including him in the top 20. Bernie Castro (honorable mention) hit .206/.231/.222, with 1 walk and 8 strikeouts in 63 at-bats.

Veteran outfielders Brady Anderson (.317/.481/.333) and Mark Quinn (.298/.414/.574) were off to good starts before being granted their releases. Starting pitchers Randy Keisler (2.81 ERA) and Carlton Loewer (2.79 ERA) also pitched well and might see action with the big club at some point this season.

For full coverage of the Beavers, be sure to swing by PDX Beavers.

AA Mobile

The Bay Bears struggled to an 11-14 record in April.

Khalil Greene (#1) got off to a good start but faded toward the end of the month. He finished at .229/.327/.354, with 13 walks and 26 strikeouts in 96 at-bats. For the record, that’s more bases on balls than he drew in 183 at-bats at Elsinore last year. Jake Gautreau (#5) hit .224/.318/.397, with 8 walks and 16 strikeouts in 58 at-bats before landing on the DL with ulcerative colitis, the same condition that forced him to miss part of last season. As with last year, Gautreau struggled mightily just before going to the DL, this time collecting just one hit in his last 17 at-bats. Brad Baker (#12) has been inconsistent again. In 16 2/3 innings, his ERA is at 5.40. Baker has walked 12 and fanned 19. Cory Stewart (#14), after a poor start, is pitching very well. He sports a 3.81 ERA over 26 innings, with 10 walks and 31 punchouts. Ben Johnson (#15) had a dismal April, hitting just .164/.197/.219, with 3 walks and 23 strikeouts in 73 at-bats. Vince Faison (#16) started slowly but finished the month at .256/.330/.346, with 9 walks and 21 strikeouts in 78 at-bats. Rusty Tucker (#17) dominated, as at Elsinore in 2002, with occasional streaks of wildness. He finished April with a 1.32 ERA over 13 2/3 innings, with 8 walks and 21 strikeouts. Mike Nicolas (#18) had an 8.10 ERA over 6 2/3 innings, with 7 walks and 11 strikeouts, before being claimed on waivers by the Brewers and traded to the Red Sox. Nicolas is facing charges in Riverside County (CA) of "inflicting corporal injury" on his spouse. Alex Fernandez (honorable mention) was hitting .315/.351/.452, with 4 walks and 15 strikeouts in 73 at-bats, before being promoted to Portland.

Panamanian Roger Deago has also been making some noise in his pro debut. He notched a 2.60 ERA, with good peripherals, during April. Word of caution: Deago is 25 years old.

High-A Lake Elsinore

The Storm finished April with a solid 13-10 record.

Justin Germano (#6) got off to a terrible start but finished strong. For the month, he had an ERA of 4.50 over 28 innings, with 5 walks and 18 strikeouts. The one question, offensively, I had about #7 prospect Josh Barfield was whether he would draw walks. He’s still not drawing a ton of them, but he’s showing improvement. Oh, and he’s also hitting the cover off the ball: .376/.413/.584 in 101 at-bats, with 7 walks and 21 strikeouts. Barfield and Greene will be fighting for next year’s top slot. Javier Martinez (#19) finished April with a 3.76 ERA over 26 1/3 innings. He walked 9 and fanned 21. We’ll keep watching this one. Freddy Guzman (honorable mention) hit .342/.467/.507 in 73 at-bats, with 17 walks and 17 strikeouts. He remains intriguing (not to mention unbelievably fast). Marcus Nettles (honorable mention) is scuffling in his second tour with the Storm. He hit .217/.313/.261 in 69 April at-bats, with 8 walks and 15 strikeouts. Finally healthy, Greg Sain (honorable mention) is tearing it up to the tune of .327/.413/.712 in 52 at-bats, with 9 walks and 13 strikeouts. The bad news is he committed 8 errors in just 11 games at the hot corner. Might be time to see if he can still play behind the plate. Nick Trzeniak (honorable mention) hit .286/.349/.286 in 56 at-bats, with 6 walks and 16 strikeouts. Mike Wodnicki (honorable mention) has been effective out of the bullpen. Over 14 2/3 innings, he posted a 1.84 ERA, with 4 walks and 7 strikeouts. Nobuaki Yoshida (honorable mention) got pounded in the Cal League before moving back down to Ft. Wayne. He finished up with a 7.11 ERA over 12 2/3 innings, with 10 walks and just 6 punchouts.

High-A Lake Elsinore

The Wizards, behind some terrific starting pitching, went 17-8 during April.

None of the Pads’ top 20 prospects started the season at Ft. Wayne, but a bunch of guys receiving honorable mentions did. Kevin Beavers, working out of the bullpen, had yet to allow a run over 18 1/3 innings, while walking 3 and striking out 12. He’d also allowed just 3 hits on the young season. Doc Brooks hit .270/.352/.381, with 7 walks and 23 strikeouts, in 63 at-bats. Omar Falcon hit .250/.423/.350 in just 20 at-bats. He drew 6 walks and struck out 10 times. Jon Huber, repeating the level, had a 3.76 ERA over 26 1/3 innings. He walked 7 and struk out 25. He still intrigues me. Kennard Jones hit .308/.427/.385 in 91 at-bats. He drew 19 walks against 20 strikeouts, and was caught stealing in 11 of 18 attempts. Tom Lipari, working mostly out of the ‘pen, had a 2.13 ERA over 12 2/3 innings, with 3 walks and 13 strikeouts. He finished the month in the rotation at Elsinore. David Pauley finished April with a 2.55 ERA over 24 2/3 innings, with 7 walks and 25 punchouts. Gabe Ribas, working as a starter, compiled a 3.55 ERA over 25 1/3 innings. He issued 9 free passes and struck out 27. Luke Steidlmayer worked 20 2/3 innings, sporting a 3.92 ERA, with 4 walks and 15 strikeouts.

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