Gonzalez, Greene Ruin Big Unit’s Return

That was fun. Two old guys serving up meat, and plenty of it? What’s not to love.

Randy Johnson made his 2007 debut and looked a bit rusty. He had the good stuff, but his command wasn’t quite there and the Padres took advantage. Jose Cruz Jr., Adrian Gonzalez, and Khalil Greene all had field days at the plate against Johnson and a slew of relievers.

With the Padres down 2-0 in the third, Cruz drew a one-out walk. One out later, Gonzalez hammered a 2-0 fastball clocked at 93 mph out over the wall in left field to tie the game. According to the TV guys, this marked the 24th homer allowed to a lefty in 19 seasons by Johnson.

Greene pretty much did the rest. In the second inning, he smoked a 90-mph heater on the outer half for a ground-rule double to left. In the fourth, he punched another outside fastball to right for a rare single. Then in the fifth, he drove a 92-mph offering to the gap in left-center for a bases-clearing double that capped a six-run barrage against Johnson.

David Wells looked sharp at times, not so much at others. He had a nice curve working early in the game. In the second, Wells got Eric Byrnes and Tony Clark swinging for the first two outs, making them look silly in the process. But the southpaw then hung breaking balls to Chad Tracy (triple to right) and Carlos Quentin (homer to left) on back-to-back pitches.

Wells battled, but almost completely fell apart in the fifth. Staked to a 6-3 lead, he walked catcher Robby Hammock to start the inning. After retiring the next two batters, Wells served up back-to-back triples to Stephen Drew and Orlando Hudson. A walk to Byrnes got the bullpen busy, but Clark grounded to second to keep the score 6-5.

For the night, Wells allowed eight hits — three triples, a double, and a homer — in five innings. Now it became a battle of the bullpens. Advantage San Diego:

Padres and Diamondbacks Bullpens through April 23, 2007
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
Padres .185 .260 .252 47
Diamondbacks .254 .344 .417 116

The Padres struck for their second consecutive four-run inning in the sixth. Most of the damage came against left-hander Dana Eveland, though righty Brandon Medders helped as well. Eveland presumably came in because Brian Giles and Gonzalez were due up third and fourth in the inning. Giles notched an RBI single, while Gonzalez followed with an RBI ground-rule double to left. So much for that strategy.

What followed was pure comedy genius. Greene hit a 2-1 slider on the outer half to left field. Byrnes came on to try and catch the sinking liner but the ball just got under his glove. Byrnes quickly recovered and fired home to try and nail Gonzalez. Inexplicably, Medders cut the ball off, whirled, and fired to second. Actually, he fired well past second and into a completely vacated spot in right-center, allowing Greene to score without a throw. This may not have been the ugliest play I’ve ever seen, but it’s up there.

The Padres ‘pen? Four hitless innings, yawn. Heath “Automatic for the People” Bell worked a perfect sixth and seventh, while Doug “Ya Gotta Have Heart” Brocail followed with a perfect eighth, before turning things over to Kevin “I’m Too Cool for a Nickname” Cameron and Trevor Hoffman to seal the victory. Cameron shouldn’t have needed the help, but Gonzalez made a rare error to keep the inning alive. As Anthony notes, Hoffman is one heckuva fallback option. Also, he threw only two pitches, so no harm done.

Padres Prospect Report

by Peter Friberg

You will not see all the notable performances from the night before, but you will see the notable performances from those who are actually prospects.




Chase Headley: 4 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 0 RBI; 2 2B, SO – Nice home game!


Matt Antonelli: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; 2 BB, SB, CS
David Freese: 6 AB, 1 R, 4 H, 4 RBI; 3B
Chad Huffman: 4 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; 2 BB, SO
Matt Bush: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; 2B, BB
Yordany Ramirez: 5 AB, 3 R, 3 H, 2 RBI, SB


Cedric Hunter: 4 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; SB
Rayner Contreras: 3 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; SB
Drew Miller: 7.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO, 0 HR


Lake Elsinore scored 15 runs while only hitting three extra-base hits (one double and two triples).

LynchMob in the comments section (if you’re not commenting, get involved! We have a good group of bright Padres fans in there. As Colin Cowherd said on ESPNradio Tuesday morning, San Diego baseball fans are probably the most underrated baseball fans in the country. Okay, that’s a “long enough” aside) pointed out that I missed Drew Miller in my Top 25 (shame on me — if I re-did my rankings he’d be in the 12-16 range). Baseball America called him the 12th best Padres prospect. He’s already one of the hardest throwers in the system (he tops out at 96 according to BA) and he has a ceiling as a #3 starter.

. . .

Top College Shortstops

Baseball America released its top 50 high school and top 50 college prospects for the draft last week (for subscribers). However, since I pointed out that the Padres have holes at shortstop and a lack of elite pitchers, I wanted to look at those lists with my comments in mind.

It is virtually impossible and nearly irrelevant to rate high schoolers by their statistics, but you can get a good idea about a college hitter by looking at his statistics.

The following shortstops made Baseball America‘s “Midseason Update: College Top 50 Prospects” (alphabetically):

Zack Cozart Jr. R-R 6-1 190 Mississippi
272 AB: .338/.370/.515 with 16 2B, 1 3B, 10 HR, a 17/28 BB/SO ratio, & 15-18 SB-ATT

Todd Frazier Jr. R-R 6-4 215 Rutgers
147 AB: .381/.503/.755 with 9 HR, 2 3B, 14 HR, a 38/29 BB/SO ratio, & 17-20 SB-ATT

Josh Horton Jr. L-R 6-1 198 North Carolina
144 AB: .340/.473/.507 with 9 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, a 35/6 BB/S0 ratio, & 6-6 SB-ATT

Danny Worth Jr. R-R 6-1 165 Pepperdine
177 AB: .373/.449/.548 with 18 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, a 24/15 BB/SO ratio, & 9-13 SB-ATT

Based on a quick look at their statistics, I’d rate Frazier first (as BA does) followed in order by Horton (because of his sick plate discipline), Cozart, then Worth.

Again, this is without the aid of a scout’s eye and without an eye toward the players’ defensive abilities.

As always, big thanks to Peter for helping out with prospect coverage. Pads and Snakes again Wednesday night at 6:40 p.m. PT. Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb — should be fun. We’ll have the IGD up and running by 5:30. Go Padres!

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10 Responses »

  1. Is it my imagination or has Green changed to a more active stance in the batter’s box? Instead of standing like a tooth pick waiting for a bus, his knees are more bent and he has a more active trigger foot. His plate coverage was great last night. Whatever the changes, if any, hope he keeps it up. Yeah even the Yankee/ Redsock Sports Network, mysteriously referred to as ESPN, could not resist to two oldest starting pitchers in the hister of MLB story, despite the fact that it involved, yawn, the NL West, wherever the hell that was, and two expansion teams. Glad we won.

  2. Peter,

    Love the recaps of the minors. But isn’t it a bit early to put a ceiling on anyone that throws 96 and is in Low A (referring to Miller)? What else does he throw?

  3. 1: I noticed that last night from Greene too. I remember thinking it looked like he was tapping his trigger foot a lot like OG does. With the frequency he changes his stance, not sure how much longer we’ll see it though. Nice to see him with a great road trip so far.

  4. Alan, your question makes sense, but that’s why he was a “draft and follow” and not a top round draft pick… He could develop into more than that, but lets think about how rare it is for a minor league pitcher to become even a #3 MLB starter… That’s not a bad thing.

  5. FOLLOW UP on my draft preview segment:

    I exchanged e-mails with Jim Callis at Baseball America and he said that only Cozack and Worth project to have enough defense to remain shortstops.

    (Don’t forget however, experts said Barfield couldn’t stay at 2B and Greene wouldn’t play well enough D to stay at SS.)

  6. Marc Normandin at BPro has a very positive player profile of Khalil Greene:

    Key points: He’s an above average fielder, very good hitter on the road, needs to draw more walks and so far this year is hitting much better at Petco.

  7. Peter…Re: 5…is it a stretch to say that those scouts were not that far off of Barfield and Greene? Barfield is below average and Greene is a “Flashy” average.

  8. #7: I’ll take a stab at this one and point out that the scouts were wrong. Both players have proven capable of playing their position at the big-league level. They may not be the best defensively (Greene is better than “flashy” average from where I sit), but they’ve already proven the scouts wrong.

  9. 8: You could argue that Kouzmanoff is also proving the scouts wrong.

    I think Khalil gets the “flashy but average at best” rap because he doesn’t look like the stereotype of a good defensive SS (small and/or Latin) and he makes flashy plays. As the BPro profile says, he makes up for lack of foot speed with good instincts and positioning. Watching Padre games I rarely find myself thinking he should have gotten to a ball that he missed.

    Several players have noted the immaculate infield at Petco. I wonder how much that factors into these guys being better than the scouts predicted?

  10. 8: Agreed. I think that Khalil get’s tagged with a “flashy average” rating for two reasons:

    1) When he makes a difficult play, it usually makes a highlight somewhere and looks definitively flashy.

    2) Khalil’s fielding percentage is near the middle of the pack. However, it’s important to note that Khalil gets to many more balls than an average SS, thus raising the amount of chances he has. This ends up hurting his overall fielding percentage, as his numerator doesn’t increase as quickly as his denominator (As I understand it, fielding percentage is successful plays over chances).