Bumps in the Road

Quiet. Did you hear that? It’s the sound of people jumping off the Padres bandwagon. You know, because three games always provides an accurate representation of 162 games.

I heard the jumpers. They were screaming the whole way down; it was kind of pathetic, really. Oh well, I’m sure they’ll crawl back onboard after the next three-game winning streak.


On the bright side, we had an excellent time at the Ducksnorts meetup on Saturday night. In my extreme lameness, I forgot to get a group photo, but attendees included Phantom and fiancee, Paul R and wife, Peter Friberg, Turbine Dude and friends, Didi and friends, Anthony, and yours truly.

We even got a little scoreboard love:

Padres Welcome Ducksnorts

And apparently we also got a radio mention, being likened to a Marx Brothers act. I don’t know about all that, but we’ll take it.

Anyway, tough weekend for the Padres. It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last. As I’ve said all along, this is going to be a dogfight among the Padres, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks right up until the very end. There might be a few bumps in the road along the way, but that’s no reason not to enjoy the ride.

Padres Prospect Report

by Peter Friberg

(You will not see a preamble.)

Friday, June 8, 2007


Vince Sinisi: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 2B
Tim Stauffer: 6.0 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR
Jared Wells: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR – thanks


Chase Headley: 2 AB, 0 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; 2B – PR for after 2B in 4th


Jose Lobaton: 3 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; 3B, SO


Cedric Hunter: 4 AB, 2 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; BB


Wells may be a nice option if we leave him in the bullpen.

Chase left the game due to an injury.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Vince Sinisi: 5 AB, 1 R, 3 H, 0 RBI; 2 2B, SO


No notable performances


Matt Antonelli: 7 AB, 4 R, 4 H, 2 RBI; 2 2B, HR
David Freese: 6 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 4 RBI; HR, 2 SO
Kyle Blanks: 3 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 2B, HR, 3 BB, SO
Yordany Ramirez: 4 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; BB, 2 SB, CS


Kyler Burke: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 2 RBI; 2B, BB – hitting .203 and batting second


Comments from the Lake Elsinore game at Petco Park:

The Lake Elsinore Storm have six all stars; four are hitters and two are starting pitchers. On Saturday the Storm blew into San Diego to play in a minor-league/major-league double header. The game was suspended after 10 innings due to time constraints (they needed to get the big-league game in). The two starting pitchers each had the day off, but three of the four all-star hitters took the opportunity to shine on the big-league stage.

Matt Antonelli led of the home half of the first with a home run. He also looked remarkably comfortable at second for someone who only started playing 2B this season. Padres management has made it known that he’s a “70″ runner (on the 20-80 scouting scale) but we never got to see him really get it going.

[Ed note: Antonelli's homer was to dead center; granted, the ball carries better during the day, but still...]

David Freese looked like he was going to be MIA on the day as he started off the day 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. His next three at-bats went single-single-home run… His homer went up into the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building.

Kyle Blanks is a freak. He’s 6’7″ – 6’8″ and listed at 270-280 (depending on where you read it). The interesting thing is, if you see a picture he doesn’t look that big; he’s proportionate. He’s also wicked strong. He crushed one ball to the gap for a double, and another ball left the yard in a hurry, bouncing off the facing next to the Western Metal Supply Co. building above the first bank of left-field seats.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Clay Hensley: 6.2 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR – not ready…


No notable performances


Matt Antonelli: 5 AB, 3 R, 3 H, 2 RBI; 3B
Craig Cooper: 5 AB, 1 R, 4 H, 3 RBI; 2 2B
Kyle Blanks: 5 AB, 0 R, 3 H, 2 RBI; 3B, SO
Chad Huffman: 5 AB, 1 R, 2 H, 2 RBI; 2B


Cedric Hunter: 5 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI


When it comes to pitchers, I look at a few things. I want to see 7+ strikeouts per nine innings. I want to see more than 2.5 strikeouts for each walk (preferably far more). And lastly, I want to see fewer hits than innings pitched. When Clay Hensley was in the minors, he looked like a solid prospect.

Prior to 2007 Clay had the following numbers (courtesy: TheBaseballCube.com):

MiLB: 3.60 ERA in 472.2 IP with 446 hits, a 7.99 K/9 rate and 3.03 SO per BB
MLB: 3.30 ERA in 234.2 IP with 207 hits, a 5.75 K/9 rate and 1.61 SO per BB

Obviously Clay was walking too many hitters in the big leagues (93 in 207 IP) and not striking as many as he did in the minors. However, his 2006 season was a tale of two halves. Prior to the All-Star Game, Clay posted a 4.84 K/9 rate. After the All-Star Game, he elevated his game and posted a 7.13 K/9 rate. Since the post-All-Star-Game rate is closer to his minor-league career rate, I’m inclined to believe he can replicate that 7+ K/9 rate. Likewise, his minor-league success and current struggles make me believe Clay is trying to pitch through an injury.

I’m not the biggest Craig Cooper fan. I think he’s a solid hitter, but he has a serious uppercut swing. Also he was reportedly an above-average defender (coming out of college), but he didn’t look very fluid when I saw him Saturday. I didn’t think I was looking at a major leaguer. That said, he’s putting up impressive numbers (.328/.429/.503) and I don’t like to argue with numbers…

Thanks, Peter. The Padres are off on Monday, then head to Tampa for three against the Rays. Should be fun…

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43 Responses »

  1. I’m probably the last person qualified to give an opinion on the draft but I have to say I like Kulbacki. He’s got that Brian Giles build and looks like a hard nosed player. I was reading the Bill James Historical Abstract this weekend and he made the point that there have been a lot of successful hitters with that short stocky build. Puckett, Gwynn, Berra, Hack Wilson, etc. James mentioned that their shorter arms are probably helpful in getting around on a fastball. Then I was reading Curt Schillings blog and he says it’s a baseball truism that shorter guys are always good fastball hitters. Anyway, it’ll be fun to follow Kulbacki and see if he fits the mold. Just keep him away from OG and his tanning products.

    Another interesting tidbit from Schilling:

    someone referenced Ben Davis bunting to break up a perfect game in the 8th inning in 2002. I said what I’ve always said. I never said a word about that bunt and whether or not I thought it was ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, and I never have. The game was 2-0 at that point, so the tying run was at the plate and the hitter was someone who’d swung the bat well against me. I was shocked at the bunt, caught off guard, but there is no quote anywhere, nor could there be, in which I said anything about the play being ‘bush’ or whatever term some people used. I wish he hadn’t bunted, I wish he’d laid down a good one actually. To lose a perfect game on arguably the worst bunt I’ve ever given up was the disappointing part of it. But as far as playing the game ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ it never occurred to me. You play to win, and do so within the ‘unwritten’ rules is something most guys do. I don’t think many guys would have the gumption to bunt but I also think you do what you think you need to do to win a game, again, within the rules, written or unwritten.

    Wasn’t it just Brenly who was complaining about the bunt? I was always taught that’s exactly what you should do, try to bunt your way on to break up the no hitter.

  2. re 3: correction… 3 in the top 54! none in the lowly 55-100 spots… :)

  3. 2: Of interest also, pertaining to the Padres hitters, from Schilling talking about his late innings:

    Hitters, I think, vastly underestimate the magnitude of making outs on the first pitch and how much of a relief it is to pitchers.

    I’m pretty sure that is true for every pitcher.

  4. 4: It doesn’t look like they’re consider park effects there either.

  5. 2: I’d be surprised if coaches would encourage anybody to bunt after the 5th inning if the intent is only to break up a no-hitter. I stopped playing in high school but I never heard that from anyone.

    If you’re bunting because it’s a close game, then it’s fine. If you’re fighting for your playoff life, then it’s fine no matter what the score, because rattling the pitcher could be important. Regular season game, not a close score, second half of the game? Chicken bleep.

  6. Meh not chicken Bleep if someone does it to the dodgers or yankees then its ok.

  7. Sure, if it’s like 8-0 in the 9th inning then it’s bush, just like stealing when you’re ahead in that situation, but in a close game you have to do what you can to win. That’s why Brenly’s comments were asinine, the Padres were trying to win. You don’t stop trying to win just because the pitcher hasn’t allowed a hit.

    5: Schilling has talked about that a lot, how he loves the quick outs because every time he gets one he knows it will help him go deeper into the game.

  8. Fuson talking about the draft right now on XX.

  9. 10.

    Fuson compares Kellen Kulbaki (*sp) to Nick Swisher.

  10. Not a bad comp, but I think Kellen will hit for more average…

  11. Question…

    I didn’t get a chance to see the kid the other night but is there any way Kyle Blanks has a chance at ever seeing a Padres uniform? I guess what I really mean is… Can the dude play in the outfield? I have heard that his athleticism is a lot better than what you would think based on his size but it doesn’t look like they have experimented with him anywhere but 1st and DH. He seems to have an insane bat and I’m just curious if he is might ever fit on the big club.

  12. 15: Peter noted on Saturday that once Blanks gets moving, he can move. Whether or not there’s a place for him in the NL (other than 1B), I’m not sure. Hopefully we can get some trade value out of him if he keeps it up, but I’m not too hopeful for a spot on the Padres for him.

    Unless they can teach him how to catch. That would be awesome.

  13. I would feel horrible for a 6’8″ 280lbs catchers knees. Actually at that size he could probably just sit indian style behind the plate and be fine!

  14. Wow, missed every game this weekend and even the scores, another lost weekend, but cracking the standings this morning, I see we are still in first tied with the snakes, so really we are doing great. Dodgers still still 1.5 back. Funny, if I had seen the three loses I’d be throwing things at the TV or radio. Looks like I got lucky on the weekend I disappeared from lectromagnetic contact. Get em tomorrow.

  15. This was something I had talked about on Saturday with the Ducksnorts crew, but I was wondering if anyone could look at our stats with and without OG. More than just our winning record, I’d be interested in seeing what our OBP, SLG, OPS, and average runs/game are.

    Does anyone want to look that up? I think it could make for some interesting discussion.

  16. 5&9: #’s this year when hitting the first pitch from Schilling .389,.389.593. He’d love to see you wait arount for one of his walks 28 in over 8oo plate appearances in 2006. In 2006 batters hit .339 on the first or 2nd pitch vs. .276 latter. Sly one.

  17. Closer to home. Didi,your fav. as well as,Lynch’s and mine, P-MAC. is 6 for11 on the first or 2nd pitch and 1 for 23 deeper in the count. Small sample, but he would have to go 26 for 27 in deep counts to equalize.