Padres Farm Report (16 May 08)

Triple-APortland 7, Las Vegas 6

Craig Stansberry (SS): 2-for-4, BB
Chase Headley: 2-for-5, 2B, HR
Brian Myrow: 4-for-4, 2 2B, BB
Chip Ambres: 2-for-4, HR, BB
Will Venable: 2-for-5, 2B, HR
Nick Hundley: 0-for-4, PB
Matt Antonelli: 1-for-3, 2B, BB
Cesar Ramos: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 4 SO (10 GO)
Adam Bass: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 0 BB, 1 SO
Jared Wells: 1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 0 BB, 1 SO

Myrow continues to hit everything thrown his way… Wells gets credited with a save for his performance.

Double-ACorpus Christi 13, San Antonio 10

Chad Huffman: 2-for-5, HR, BB
Kyle Blanks: 1-for-4, BB, SF
Colt Morton: 2-for-5, BB
Seth Johnston (3B): 3-for-6, HR, 2 E
Craig Cooper (CF): 1-for-5
Drew Macias (PH): 0-for-1
Mike Ekstrom: 1.1 IP, 7 H, 9 R, 2 HR, 2 BB, 2 SO
Manny Ayala: 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 SO
Neil Jamison: 2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 1 SO

Fugly outing for Ekstrom… Ayala made his 2008 debut.

High-AStockton 2, Lake Elsinore 0

Cedric Hunter: 1-for-4
Eric Sogard (DH): 0-for-4
Kellen Kulbacki: 1-for-3
Rayner Contreras: 0-for-2, BB
Ernesto Frieri: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 2 BB, 2 SO, WP

Reader Didi and I trekked up to The Diamond for Thursday afternoon’s game. The Storm managed two hits all day, so there isn’t much in the way of highlights.

Kellen KulbackiKulbacki looked real good at the plate and, surprisingly, in the field. He flied out to center in the second, struck out looking in the fifth, and laced a single over the shortstop’s head in the seventh. The fifth-inning strikeout came after he crushed a ball down the right-field line that had home-run distance but hooked just foul, perhaps partly aided by a 15-mph wind blowing from left to right. Kulbacki also made a fantastic catch in the seventh on a fly ball tailing away from him in right field. He got a good jump on the ball, tracked it well, and laid out to make the grab. It was a pretty athletic play.

On the mound, Frieri spun five shutout innings before tiring. The scoreboard had his fastball at 91-93 mph, and guys generally weren’t getting good swings on it. Frieri gave up a walk, ground ball single, and double to start the sixth, though, and was lifted. This was Frieri’s second start of the year after 15 straight relief appearances, so the fact that he tired shouldn’t be surprising.

Also, the salmon teriyaki at Kokoro was excellent.

Low-AFort Wayne 7, West Michigan 5

Luis Durango (DH): 1-for-3, BB
Felix Carrasco (DH): 1-for-1
Justin Baum: 2-for-5
Shane Buschini: 0-for-5
Yefri Carvajal: 1-for-3, BB
Bradley Chalk: 1-for-2, 2 BB
Jeremy Hefner: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 HR, 0 BB, 4 SO

The Wizards trailed, 5-0, headed to the bottom of the fifth inning but kept clawing their way back into this one. They eventually scored three in the eighth to take a 7-5 lead they would not relinquish. Kinda surprising for a team that hasn’t hit all year.

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25 Responses »

  1. Thanks for the scouting report, Geoff.

    For those that know stuff: who are the pitching prospects to follow at the lower levels? I know the AA and AAA pitching prospects (except for Buschmann; what’s the report on him, and is he a prospect?), but beyond Miller and Latos I’m not sure who at the two A levels I should be keeping an eye on and who is organizational filler.

  2. #1@Ben B.: John or someone else may be able to give more detailed information, but the guys I’m tracking at Fort Wayne are Latos, Jeremy Hefner, Robert Woodard, Matt Teague, Geoff Vandel, Wynn Pelzer, and Jeremy McBryde. My understanding is that beyond Latos, Pelzer probably has the best stuff. Woodard intrigues me because of his funky delivery and cerebral approach (he was a state chess champion as a youngster), but as a 20th-round pick, he may not have much upside.

    At Elsinore, I’m watching Miller, Nathan Culp, Cory Luebke, Corey Kluber, and Ernesto Frieri. Luebke (1st) and Kluber (4th) are ’07 draftees. Both have been inconsistent, although Kluber pitched very well the one time I saw him in person — low-90s fastball down in the zone. I haven’t seen Miller yet.

    Those are my impressions. Hopefully someone else will chime in as well.

  3. In case anyone is intersted, there is a pretty nice blug running about the upcoming draft…

  4. #2@Geoff Young: I think you hit most of them on the head Geoff. Latos in FW and Miller in LE are the two best prospects, but keep an eye on Jeremy Hefner and Jeremy McBryde in FW. Hefner is the more polished and was a steal in the draft but McBryde has the stuff, just not the ability to put it together right now.

    At LE Mike DeMark is having a nice year in middle relief.

    I should be in FW soon and hopefully when I get back I’ll have some more to add.

  5. #4@John Conniff: Hey john can you give us a quick top 5 or 10 padres staring pitchers list at LE or lower?

  6. #4@John Conniff: In regards to Chip Ambres, when do you think it may be time to give him a shot again at this level ? Especially when you consider the fact (though Ambres is two years older) than someone like Justin Huber, who has been so far has been totally ineffective at the major league level (no power /1 homerun in 140 at bats) , no speed, and not selective at the plate & strikes out a ton while Ambres appears to have some speed, doesn’t whiff as often and may even may have more pop in his bat.

  7. I had really high hopes for Vandel after he was drafted in 2005; he tore the AZL up like a used tissue. Since then he’s been nicked and struggled. I don’t know if his stuff has matured the way the Padres hoped; he’s one of those kids who was said to have a 90mph (from the left side) but that’s like saying I can drive a golf ball 300 yards because I do it 1 out of 30 times.

  8. #7@Tom Waits: Hey we had Vandel as our pitcher of the year in 2005 then he went in the tank. The big thing that we could tell is he put on some weight and didn’t seem to have the same focus as he did before, maybe getting married did that…:)

    His peripheral numbers aren’t that bad – K/BB and hits per inning – but he should be doing much better at this stage in his career.

  9. #5@Steve C: I could go 5 – but it would pretty much mirror our Top 20 at the begining of the year

    1 Latos
    2 Miller

    we had Luebke and Breit next, but Luebke is struggling and Breit is out and since you asked for right now I would go

    3 Hefner
    4 Pelzer
    5 McBryde

    but any list will be worth more after the season.

  10. #6@JP: It could – it just depends if you want to give up on Huber. Ambres is ok, but I really don’t see him as that big of an improvement, if at all, over Huber.

  11. #8@John Conniff: It’s the disappearing k/9 that worries me. He came out like such a ball of fire, and got jack to sign, so the news that he may have lost some focus is depressing.

    #6@JP: We’ll never know how good Huber can be unless he plays. He’s had 132 major league at bats, spread across 4 seasons. 78 of those came as a 22 year old, four seasons ago. I guarantee we can find dozens of all-star caliber players who’ve had bad 30-70 at-bat stretches. No, he doesn’t have much speed. He’s a converted catcher. He does have a lot of power and is fairly selective. He’s no world-beater, but he’s probably Bubba Trammell with the ability to play catcher and first base as well as the outfield without embarrassing himself. That’s a good player to keep around for the league minimum. I mean, people were questioning the Gerut decision and lamenting how terrible it looked for the Padres to have to use him; he has a nice week and the noise quiets down. In a season where we’re unlikely to compete, might as well find out what he can do.

  12. #9@John Conniff: Thanks John!

  13. At this point I would not mind seeing Huber everyday in LF against both righties and lefties for a few weeks, IMO Hairston has not earned that spot and P-Mac is a 4th OF at best so why not give the kid a shot to play every day.

  14. Hey John have you heard anyhting about Carvajal? Can we chalk his slow start up to playing in FW and having to play in cold weather for the first time in his life or has he just slowed down due to the higher skill level of the pitchers in A ball?

  15. #14@Steve C: Both Denis and I liked him quite a bit, we had him at #8.

    He’s put up much better numbers in May hitting .298/.358/.340 – although we are still waiting for some power.

    I think the cold weather is a good assumption, but remember it affects most of the team since the majority of guys are from warm weather climates.

  16. MadFriars is reporting “Robert Woodard on the DL.”

  17. I asked this question in yesterday’s review of the minors but wanted to ask again – does anyone think Antonelli’s bad performance can be attributed (in part) to exhaustion? He hit very well in Lake Elsinore and San Antonio, then went to the fall leagues in Arizona where he played bad then spring training then the majors. It doesn’t look like he’s had much rest whereas I think he got some time off between getting drafted, playing in Eugene (or was it Fort Wayne?) and then going in the spring to play for lake elsinore. Any thoughts?

  18. #11@Tom Waits: One clarification – I think people were generally nervous about the 30 year old Gerut as a everyday center fielder more so than Gerut as an extra outfielder. But things are indeed different now.

    Also, Huber is selective ? He hasn’t walked much at any level. My strong hunch is that Huber is not and will not be a servicable major leaguer but you’re right, now is the time to find out. Which is another reason why it would be nice a little more about Ambres.

    Things are indeed different now. No doubt,as a rabid Padres fan, I have to change my paradigms and perception -the next 75% of the 2008 season is tryout camp. I am just having flashbacks to Padres 2002 and it makes me queasy.

  19. BTW – Denis has a nice interview on with Mat Latos today.

  20. #13@Steve C: I’m definitely with you on that. He’s still pretty young, only 25, and he’s hit well in the minors (better then McAnulty, hard to compare him to Hairston since he’s always played in extreme hitters parks). However, he might not be playing as much because he can’t really handle the OF defensively.

    I also think it’s time to trade Tony Clark (if he wants to be traded since he might enjoy playing in his hometown). He just seems like an unnecessary luxury right now and his job could be taken by either Huber or by calling up Myrow from Portland. It’s probably now or never for Myrow as he got a late start (didn’t play his first professional season until age 24) and seems to be injury prone (missed most of 2006 and didn’t play in a lot of games last season or 2005).

    #18@JP: I’m just curious why you like Ambres so much? Are you friends with him? I’m not criticizing you in any way as I’d sure like one of my friends (or classmates) to get a shot but there is absolutely nothing in his performance record that says he’ll be successful in the majors. Granted we’re in the grasping at straws stage and it’s not like the team could get any worse.

  21. #18@JP: Huber’s not a huge walk guy, but there is an 80 point gap between his batting average and his OBP. In about 5 full seasons worth of minor league at-bats he’s walked 292 times, so call it 60 walks a year. That’s Adrian Gonzalez territory. Not hyper-selective, but “fairly selective” seems accurate. Just to be clear, I wouldn’t really mind Ambres getting a look either, but if all he’s auditioning for is next year’s 4th or 5th outfielder, the organization is probably better off letting McAnulty and Hairston get the at-bats.

    #17@Loren: I wish his dad Jack would show back up here at Ducksnorts. I doubt he’s tired. He’s just hit into some bad luck. Another poster pointed out that his ISO is still pretty good.

    #20@Schlom: Ambres has an okay minor league record, but there’s not a lot of there there. He didn’t hit for power in the high minors until he was older than his competition.

  22. #19@John Conniff: I don’t know if this comes up in the interview, but Latos is a friggin’ physical specimen. He has the shoulder span of a young Tom Gordon, but proportionate to being 8 inches taller. If someone was looking for the prototypical frame of a major league SP, he’s not a bad template. That’s also true of Jared Wells, but still.

  23. When is the break off point as far as when do we or can we accurately guage a players it based wholly of their minor league stats combined with their age ? How does where and how they play defensively factor in ? Ambres has had the same number of at bats in the majors as Huber and has been better. When do we judge the performance at this level ? 200 PA’s…300 PA’s and will 3 years in age always be the big factor ?

    #20@Schlom: Not friends with him ~ I understand why you would ask, though I didn’t know that I ‘bandstanded’ for him that much ! :) Because the odds are long – It’s a 5% chance that Ambres can contribute in a positive way for a prolonged period and I feel that there is a 1.6% chance that Huber contributes anything which is off the cuff and flys in the face of logic because Hubers numbers over many,many at bats has been quite a bit better.

    Yet, Ambres is much more athletic than Huber -with much better speed and defense….Huber is a butcher at first base and is NO longer a catcher so where is the value to a team game. Ambres can be Trinidad Hubbard….while Huber is Jon Knott.

  24. #23@JP: There is no one break-off point.

    Their major league at-bats are virtually irrelevant. Ambres has 148 at-bats, all but 3 of them in 2005. That’s even more true when the at-bats are scattered all over the place.

    Ambres in the minors has not been a better hitter than Huber. In fact he’s been substantially worse, and Ambres’ best years in the high minors have been when he was either old, or really old, for the league.

    I haven’t seen anyone say that Huber is a butcher at first base. An emergency catcher, a RH bat to give Adrian some time off, and a younger guy who has not embarassed himself in the outfield (quite the opposite) is worth more to me than a generic 5th outfielder. Between Trinidad Hubbard and Bubba Trammell with more position flexibility, Trammell wins going away.

  25. #23@JP: It was just a weird player to champion, not that he’s not good (of course he is, he’s played in the majors which we wish we could do) it’s just that his stats in the minors are so average and he’s not young.

    I also think you are seriously underestimating Huber — he was playing in the majors before Knott ever played professionally. Huber had an awesome age 22 season in Double A at Wichita for the Royals, at the same age Jon Knott was playing for Mississippi State.