Padres Visit Steel City

Fun weekend against the Brewers, eh? Nice to get that first series sweep of the season. Meanwhile, the Padres’ dominance in May continues:

April Showers Bring May Flowers
Year W L Pct RS RA
Stats are through May 28, 2007, and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
2005 22 6 .786 160 117
2006 19 10 .655 154 115
2007 16 8 .667 95 61
2005-2007 67 24 .736 409 293

On offense, Kevin Kouzmanoff (.321/.391/.625), Adrian Gonzalez (.292/.373/.551), and Mike Cameron (.258/.317/.484) are leading the charge. At the other end of the spectrum, Jose Cruz Jr. (.211/.282/.303), Josh Bard (.185/.312/.200), and Khalil Greene (.159/.193/.305) are scuffling big-time this month. The Giles brothers haven’t contributed much either.

It’s sweet to win twice as many as you’re losing when only three players are contributing at the plate.

As you might expect, the pitching has been off the charts. Overall, the staff has a 2.24 ERA in May. Among all big-league teams, the next best team ERA for the month belongs to the Dodgers (3.83).

The San Diego bullpen has allowed 17 earned runs over 67 1/3 innings for a 2.27 ERA. Take the struggling Cla Meredith out of that equation, and those numbers are 8 earned runs over 57 1/3 innings for a 1.26 ERA.

Back in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are 22-28. That doesn’t sound good, and it isn’t, but they call the NL Central home, so they’re still in the thick of things and probably will be for a while.

Offensively, the Pirates make the Padres look pretty strong. Jason Bay (.302/.380/.495) is doing his usual thing, Xavier Nady (.288/.325/.479) has been reasonably productive, and Ryan Doumit (whom I would love to see the Padres acquire) has performed well in limited duty (.330/.398/.545). Adam LaRoche, acquired from Atlanta in the off-season, has been a disaster (.206/.315/.353), although he’s starting to come around (.276/.373/.437 in May).

On the pitching side, Ian Snell (3.14 ERA) got off to a terrific start, and left-hander Tom Gorzelanny (2.51 ERA) has been solid. The rest of the rotation is a bit suspect, to say the least. Zach Duke (5.55 ERA) is turning into every finesse pitcher’s worst nightmare: opponents are hitting .354/.389/.541 against him, and he’s fanning just 2.70 batters per 9 innings. Paul Maholm (5.43 ERA) has struggled as well; only the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano has allowed more home runs among NL pitchers. At least Duke and Maholm are young; Tony Armas (8.19 ERA) can’t use that excuse anymore.

The bullpen? No relief there (groan). Collectively, Pittsburgh relievers have compiled a 4.51 ERA — only the Phillies, Reds, and Rockies have higher bullpen ERAs in the NL.

This is an unusual team. With the possible exception of Doumit, the Pirates don’t have any real up-and-comers at the big-league level. At the same time, their oldest position player is Freddy “Yeah, I Guess Maybe That Was My Career Year” Sanchez, who doesn’t turn 30 until December.

Honestly, the Pirates are a tough team to figure. Outside of Bay, nobody here really blows me away, although I still think the rotation could morph into something. The team is relatively young, but the upsides aren’t real high. On the bright side, they play in the weakest division in baseball, so anything is possible.

Seems to me this club is searching for an identity. If the young pitchers can step up a little and LaRoche continues to improve, the Pirates could be interesting in the coming seasons. Heck, they could be interesting this season…

The 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.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Vince Sinisi: 5 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 4 RBI; 3 2B – .332/.385/.527


Chase Headley: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; 2 2B – .339/.424/.583


Matt Antonelli: 5 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 1 RBI; HR, SO
David Freese: 3 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 2 2B, 2 BB, SO – .301/.410/.503
Chad Huffman: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; HR, SO – .333/.425/.603
Craig Cooper: 3 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 1 RBI; 2 2B, BB – .340/.445/.533
Manny Ayala: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, 0 HR – 2.29 ERA, 6.68 K/9


Cedric Hunter: 5 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 2 RBI; HR – .279/.352/.363
Aaron Breit: 1.1 IP, 9 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR


I completely left Vince Sinisi off my top 25 Padres prospects list this past off-season. However, as I think back, Sinisi was a top recruit out of college who couldn’t avoid the injury bug in pro ball — random Khalil Greene type injuries — and never had the chance to redeem himself. Vince might be yet another heist from the Rangers.

[Ed note: Considering that the 26-year-old Freddy Guzman is batting .250/.348/.343 at Triple-A for the Rangers, I'd agree that the Padres did just fine here.]

Through 49 games (the team has played 51), Chase has 61 hits, 27 of which are of the “extra-base” variety (17 doubles, 2 triples, and 8 home runs).

Matt Antonelli has an .852 OPS. That’s a solid OPS for a second baseman. I’m pulling your chain… That .852 OPS is against right-handers. His OPS against lefties is a dominating 1.259. Overall Antonelli’s OPS is a robust .924.

I was as high on Aaron Breit this past off-season as anyone… But he is seriously stinking things up. He may be trying to master a third pitch or something… However, things are not working out. Breit is now sporting a 8.39 ERA…

Thanks, Peter!

Quick reminder: We still have a few seats available for the June 9 doubleheader meetup at Petco Park. Let me know if you can make it.

Padres and Pirates tonight at 4:05 p.m. PT. As is our custom, we’ll have the IGD up and running about an hour before first pitch. Go Padres!

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18 Responses »

  1. In honor of Lynchmob, I asked Corey Brock a not to mean question about getting rid of Geoff Blum, making the comparison to Damion Easley. We’ll see if he answers it.

    BTW, this week’s mailbag is much better. I am now officially warming to Corey Brock, since he doesn’t seem to be afraid of smacking down questioners. I really loved his response to the Kouz doubter.

  2. Headley on pace for 75 XBH. Niiiiiiice.

    Joe Savery didn’t look good for Rice this weekend. I thought we might take a chance on him at 23 or with a supplemental pick, but if his stock keeps falling he might even decide to stay in school.

  3. The Indians sent Andy Marte down to Buffalo today. For those of you that don’t know Marte was the third baseman who was ranked ahead of Kouz in the Indian’s system – he was hitting .180/.212/.300

  4. Nice read with a funny line:

    “Hoffman, though, said he had no plans to authenticate his underwear, promising to launder those garments in case he changes his mind.”

  5. 3 … yow, that’s amazing … many here, myself included, were hoping we’d trade for Marte … it will be interesting to see, a couple of years down the road, if the Padres ended up with the right guy (out of the pool of Marte, KK, Betemit, and/or any others they were considering) … perhaps so!

  6. 3 … John, what’s you take on pro’s / con’s of getting Headley up to AAA? Perhaps for the 2nd half of the season? Also, might he, as PF suggested recently, end up in the OF?

  7. I’ll say it one last time … I’m going to be a bit peaved if Wells starts today … his turn was yesterday … it was an off day … he’s our #5 starter … we should skip his start when we can … such as today … and doing so would also enable Jake to pitch against the Dodgers on June 7th (on 5 days rest, ie. an extra day of rest) …

  8. Lynch, not Conniff obviously, but as for time-frame, it will probably be late-JUne as teams have an influx of new talent from draft signees to fill the lower ranks…

    As for taking another day off in the rotation and continuing on rather than skipping the 5th starter, I’m all for extra rest every now and again… I disagree Lynch.

  9. 6. Peter and I had talked about this earlier, I believe when we were discussing the San Antonio Missions. My thoughts were with nothing really in front of him the Padres may want to move him up to Portland and move Freese up to AA because of his age. But with Kouz doing much better Fuson may want to keep both at the same level for the whole year. Headley has slowed down slightly in May and he’s 23, so there is really no rush. There really isn’t a whole lot of protection around him in Portland and he could fall into some bad habits at the plate.

    As for him moving to the OF, it could happen. I also think you could see the team experment with Blanks in the LF in the Instructional Leagues, but they have been reluctant to in the past.

    I really don’t think you’re going to see that much movement because of the draft. A few players were brought up from Eugene last year, but only LeBlanc and Freese played significant roles in Fort Wayne.

    Eugene should be a very fun team to watch this year with the combination of all the high draft picks and some very good players from the Arizona League championship team last year.

  10. Doesn’t everyone love Ned Colletti? Marc Normandin took another look at Juan Pierre today:

  11. 8: I could see them leaving Headley in AA all year but promoting a lot of guys from Elsinore halfway through. They might want him to have a full season of solid success instead of hanging out, fairly lonesome, in Portland. They’d have to work out a PT arrangement for him and Freese, but between 3b, DH, LF, and 1b they could find a lot of at-bats for both. That would make for a scary lineup. Antonelli, Freese, Huffman possibly joining Headley and Venable. More scary if Venable turns things around.

    There’s no big rush with Headley. The team clearly has a lot of faith in Kouzmanoff. If nothing else, leave Headley where he is so he can pad his stats and build his trade value.

    I’m ambivalent about the rest issue. Ideally you’d like your best pitchers to throw as many games as possible, but Peavy has had nagging injuries the last few years.

  12. 9: I was going to say the same thing about the draft and roster movement. You don’t see a lot of kids pushed out of High A because of June draftees. The Padres held out promoting Huffman and Antonelli to low A as long as they could last year.

    Can you imagine Blanks playing LF next to a scooter like Juan Pierre? They’d be picking Pierre chunks out of Blanks’ cleats. Even a big man like Cameron would be nervous heading towards LF.

    The team might be gunshy of moving corner infielders to a Petco corner. So far the record is pretty bad. Klesko was old for the move, but Nady was a pretty good athlete and he still wasn’t very good out there. We have the most demanding outfield in the majors.

  13. 9 … thanks, John! Yes, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Emeralds … it’s been very fun getting a sneak preview of Khalil and Headley and Antonelli in recent years!

    re: Headley … I’m all for “no rush” on the kid … I think sucess, BIG success, is very valuable at the AA level … perhaps if there’s a need to promote Freese (which makes sense), you bump him to LF then and there … or you start to transition Headley to an OF position (which I think is what TW is saying in #11) …

    re: “extra rest now and again” … sure … why not? Well, two reasons why are are …

    1. It means he’ll miss the Dodger series … those seem like “high leverage” situations … why not have 4-5-1 pitch that series than 3-4-5?

    2. The trade-off is more starts from our #5 starter … and I think he made it clear with his last start that *he* can do better on “extra rest” … so skipping him today is an opportunity to get him that “extra rest” again …

  14. 13: The real trade-off for the Dodger series isn’t Wells for Peavy, then. It’s Maddux for Peavy. Still a downgrade, but 1/3 of the way through the season I’d rather pamper Jake. Still lots of chances to skip Wells.

    Headley would be the primary 3b. He’s the better defender anyway. Unless and until they’re sold on Kouzmanoff as the 3b of the future, there’s no reason to move him. But Freese is probably not going to have a chance to play 3b for us, maybe not for anybody. And his trade value wouldn’t be hurt by playing LF or 1b, because that’s where most people think he’ll end up and he’d pick up points for being in a more age-appropriate league.

  15. Padres #5 on the power rankings!

  16. Is moving Antonelli up something that’s going to happen in the near future? He’s proven he can mash at Elsinore, and he’s old for his league. I guess we’d like him to be ready for the majors by 2009, assuming all goes well and the option is picked up on Marcus Giles for next year.

  17. Count me in the pamper Peavy crowd. He has much better career numbers with 5 days rest:

    4 days – 3.85 ERA
    5 days – 2.76 ERA

    All his numbers are better with 5 days rest. Give him the extra day off whenever possible so he’ll stay strong as the season wears on. It’s not too early to think about keeping him fresh for the playoffs.

    I actually wouldn’t mind seeing a 6 man rotation when Hensley comes back but that might be carrying it a bit too far.

  18. 16: It’s not even been 2 months and Antonelli wasn’t nearly this good last year. He’ll be facing a lot better pitchers in AA. Give him at least half a season.

    17: I wasn’t thinking 6 man, but I was thinking some kind of tandem starter, with Hensley knowing he’s coming in for Maddux. It just seems crazy to carry this many pitchers and use them like a regular pen, because you end up with two wasted roster spots. On a team that thinks Geoff Blum is its best pinch-hitter , that’s criminal.