Stauffer Was Just a Little Better

What a fun win Tuesday night. Ubaldo Jimenez pitched a gem for Colorado, but Tim Stauffer was just a little better, spinning eight shutout innings en route to his second win of the season.

Stauffer also notched a career-high eight strikeouts and collected two hits, including an RBI single in the fifth. Efficient? Try 97 pitches. Works for me.

Alberto Gonzalez “drove in” the first run on a grounder up the middle that plated Kyle Phillips, who had singled with two out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Rockies second baseman Chris Nelson made a diving stop of Gonzalez’s ball but couldn’t come up with it right away.

Phillips, running on contact, came lumbering around third to score. Nelson’s throw to the plate beat Phillips by plenty, but Colorado catcher Jose Morales couldn’t hold onto the ball. [Reader Pat notes that Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki retrieved the ball after it caromed away from Nelson and made the throw home. Thanks for the catch!]

Stauffer then smacked a sharp line drive to left-center that brought home Gonzalez for the game’s other run. I got a kick out of that because during Gonzalez’s at-bat, I kept hoping he would draw a walk and give Stauffer a chance to hit. I’m glad things worked out the way they did, but when Gonzalez hacked at a 3-1 pitch a foot off the plate, I was not quite so happy.

Heath Bell did his thing. Gave up a leadoff single to Todd Helton in the ninth (Helton is amazing, even at this stage in his career; Bell jumped ahead with two curve balls, then tried to put a 95 mph fastball past Helton, who quietly slapped it into left field) and then nothing.

I approve. If the Padres played like this every night (less the Gonzalez at-bats, which are painful to watch), I’d be okay with that.

* * *

Speaking of Gonzalez, yesterday I asked, “Is it legal to send a batter to home plate without a bat in his hands?” Reader Larry Faria mentioned an incident involving Billy Martin in spring training, so I did a little digging and found this gem:

During a 1982 exhibition game against the San Diego Padres, [Oakland pitcher Steve] McCatty stepped to the plate wielding a toy 15-inch bat but was refused by umpire Jim Quick to hit. McCatty was instructed by A’s manager Billy Martin to use the toy bat as a protest, who was furious that the DH rule was not allowed in National League ballparks.

Oh well. It was a nice idea.

* * *

Baseball America has a listing of players taken by the Padres in the draft so far. Some names of note from Day 2:

  • 2nd round: Austin Hedges, C, Junipero Serra HS, San Juan Capistrano, Calif. — Draws praise for his defensive skills; made a nice throw when I saw him at last year’s Aflac All-American Baseball Classic… quoth BA‘s Nathan Rode: “I’m comfortable saying that I can do this for at least another decade and not see defense out of a HS catcher like Austin Hedges” (Rode’s colleague, Jim Callis, notes that Hedges “wants big money or else he would have been a first-rounder.”
  • 4th round: Cody Hebner, RHP, Green River (Wash.) CC — Quoth Rode: “Undersized at 6-feet, 160 pounds. Very good arm speed and touched 97 this spring. Sits 90-94. Slider shows flashes of being plus.”
  • 6th round: Kyle Gaedele, OF, Valparaiso — Grandnephew of Eddie Gaedel; according to Callis, Gaedele has good raw power but there are questions about his bat.
  • 7th round: Matt Wisler, RHP, Bryan (OH) HS — Quoth Callis: “Easily the top high school prospect in Ohio, he has shown a low-90s fastball and promising breaking stuff.”
  • 11th round: Casey McElroy, SS, Auburn — Quoth Rode: “Despite being listed at a generous 5-foot-8, 179 pounds, Auburn middle infielder Casey McElroy slugged .602 for the Tigers.”
  • 20th round: Chris Haney, RHP, Dallas Baptist — Not to be confused with the former big-league pitcher or the co-inventor of Trivial Pursuit.
  • 21st round: Zach Kometani, 1B, USD — Go Toreros!

These Padres draftees ranked among BA‘s Top 200:

  • Hedges, 28 (video)
  • Cory Spangenberg, 29 (video)
  • Joe Ross, 36 (video)
  • Brett Austin, 61
  • Jace Peterson, 71
  • Michael Kelly, 76 (video)
  • Gaedele, 87
  • Matt Andriese, 96
  • Mark Pope, 164 (video)
  • Hebner, 179

I like the Padres’ aggressiveness with the picks after Spangenberg. And given that they needed to sign whomever they drafted at no. 10 or receive zero compensation, I can live with Spangenberg.

Overall, there seems to be more of an emphasis on upside than in some past drafts. Next steps are to sign these kids and hope the player development folks can turn them into big leaguers.