Padres prospects in the Arizona Fall League

Friday was a day dominated by the Padres prospects in the Arizona Fall League. Three players were among the contributors to a win for the Javelinas. Chris Oxspring, by his own admission, was solid and he was supplemented by the hitting of Josh Barfield and Paul McAnulty.

Chris Oxspring hadn't been exactly crisp on the mound in the Arizona Fall League – until Friday. He lasted five innings and allowed one hit, an unearned run and walked none. A far cry from his previous two outings.

Oxspring had given up 11 runs, six earned, over his last eight innings of work. Over that span he allowed three homers.

A one-hitter over five will do wonders and it brought his ERRA down to 3.45.

"I am pretty happy with the way I threw," the Aussie said as he made the short bus trip back to Peoria.

Oxspring has had a strange season. He had high expectations coming in and an injury derailed part of his season. He lost a little confidence before starting to pitch well just prior to his Olympic tour. At the Olympics, Oxspring was a man amongst boys. He was flat out dominating.

And now he is in the Arizona Fall League.

"Iron out all the kinks," Oxspring said in response to a season of ups – and they were really up – and downs.

It was Josh Barfield and Paul McAnulty who provided much of the offense on Friday. McAnulty knocked in two and Barfield added a two run homer.

McAnulty is 9-for-23 over his last six games. He has RBI's in five of his last six, knocking in nine over that span. He has also reached base safely in each of his last ten games – helping to bring his average up to .314. The only thing that is un-McAnulty like is his five walks in the AFL. Three of those came in one game and over the last 12 games, those three walks represent the grand total. McAnulty tied for the California League lead in walks during the 2004 season.

Barfield's homer was his first of the AFL season. Through 14 games he is hitting .302, rebounding from a slow start. He has hits in seven of his last eight games and has reached base safely in eight straight. He is 10-for-25 over that eight game span. Better still, Barfield has struck out just three times over his last eight games and eight times total through 14. His best day was a 3-for-3 outing where he also knocked in three runs.

Ben Johnson had the day off on Friday but has been a catalyst for the Javelinas offense.

Johnson is tied for the team lead in games played with 16. He has been moved around in the order and has gotten significant time batting leadoff. The results have been outstanding as Johnson leads the team in runs scored (15), is tied for the team lead in extra base hits (10), is second in RBI's (15) and walks (8), but is first in strikeouts (17).

His on base percentage is a robust .417 and his four homers show this has been an extension to his strong second half with Mobile.

The pitching by Padres' prospects has also been rock solid. There are 17 pitchers on the team, battling for time on the hill. Amazingly, only two other pitchers on the entire team have an ERA that rivals the four Padres' prospects pitching in the Fall League.

R.D. Spiehs has the highest ERA among the Padres prospects in attendance. His ERA sits at 3.86. Minus the other five pitchers performing well, three of them being part of the Padres' system, the next closest pitcher has an ERA that is 1.79 higher at 5.65. It gets uglier after that.

Spiehs is tied for the team lead in hit batters and has given up a hit in eight straight games but has been able to limit the damage. He is 1-0 and has a save while appearing in nine games – good for second most appearances on the team.

Brad Baker continues his Most Outstanding Pitcher of the Year season. A title he earned from the Southern League for his unbelievable season, Baker has made it into six games and has yet to allow a run. In two of his six outings, Baker has struck out the side. He has nine K's on the year compared to just one walk.

Wilmer Villatoro was a late addition and he may be an injury replacement, although no details are available on whom he may have replaced – thus it remains speculation on our part.

Villatoro has made one relief appearance, going an inning and two-thirds and not allowing a run. Villatoro had an excellent year pitching for Lake Elsinore of the Cal League. After a slow start, he became confident in his game and became unhittable.

J.J. Furmaniak is playing down in the Mexican League. He has seen a lot of time at second base after playing shortstop in Portland. He has also made some spot starts at third and short. His only two errors came in a game where he was playing third base.

At the plate, Furmaniak has continued his solid bat. He is hitting .323 with three homers and nine RBI's. Four of those RBI's came over the last two games as Furmaniak has strung together two successive multi-hit games.

Jose Nieves has played in 13 games in the Venezuelan League. He leads his team in hits, runs scored and is batting .364. His .390 batting average is second on the team for those players who have played in five or more games.

Freddy Guzman is also playing ball in the Dominican League and at last count he was hitting .400. Others have also made brief appearances in various leagues down south but none have accrued enough plate appearances to warrant a discussion.

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