August Players of the Month

It wasn't hard to find hitters in the final month of the season. John Conniff didn't need to do much to find candidates at each level, with a monster month by several blowing away the rest of the competition.

Portland Beavers
Mike Baxter

Everyone who has followed Mike Baxter's career was happy to see him get the call to the big leagues on the last day of the Triple-A season and Baxter certainly made his case for promotion with a scorching second half where he hit .358/.450/.610. Baxter led the team this month in on-base and slugging percentage with 17 of his 42 hits going for extra bases. He had a 15/14 BB/K ratio and was 6-for-7 in stolen base attempts.

Prospect Watch: The Beavers had one of their better months due to a much improved offense particularly with a wealth of outfielders for the last month. Independent League signee Wily Mo Pena was a big part of it, hitting .325/.407/.613 and leading the team with six home runs. Aaron Cunningham led the team in RBI with 23, hitting .258/.371/.449. Luis Durango had another solid month hitting .293/.397/.310 and was 5-for-7 in stolen base attempts. Jody Gerut is another player the Padres picked up off of the waiver wire and also hit .364/.432/.455. Cedric Hunter hit .291/.320/.444 and had more extra-base hits, 12, than strikeouts; but only had five walks in 122 plate appearances. Finally, Sean Kazmar had a nice month hitting .324/.383/.514 and was tied for second on the team in hits with 34.

Disappointments: Despite hitting .184/.359/.265, catcher Chris Stewart got the call over Dusty Ryan, who, ironically, had his best month after a tough season, hitting .302/.403/.472.

San Antonio Missions
James Darnell

Darnell finally put together the type of month many in the organization had expected him to all along. He either led or was tied for the lead in every offensive category for the month and had 23 RBI in 28 games with a 16/19 K/BB ratio. His only negative was five errors in the field.

Prospect Watch: Matt Clark, a 12th-round pick out of LSU in 2008, has emerged as a prospect after a solid season in the Alamo City, one of the toughest places to hit in the minors. He finished the season with 28 home runs and 97 RBI and the 6'5" Clark is a load weighing in around 235. He was much better in the second half and August was his best month with a .296/.413/449 line. Although his power attracts attention his most impressive stat this month was a 20/16 BB/K ratio which is very good for a power hitter.

Disappointments: Lance Zawadski and Craig Cooper had tough months after coming down from Portland but Logan Forsythe had his worst month of a disappointing season, hitting .217/.304/.300.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Vince Belnome

All year long, Belnome has been an on-base machine, with three of his four months coming in at above .430. In August, he tied for the lead in extra-base hits and home runs with a 19/29 BB/K ratio. As with Darnell, his only negative was six errors in 27 games.

Prospect Watch: Until he broke his hand, Jaff Decker was on his way to a truly monster month. Decker hit .360/.492/.860 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 14 games and still led the team in RBI despite playing in half the games. Daniel Robertson put up his customary solid numbers of .304/.376/.411; stealing seven bases in seven attempts to give him 30 for the year. Allan Dykstra continued to put up good numbers at .271/.392/.459 finishing second on the team in walks. Dykstra has been much better in the second half with OPS of .913 compared to .692 in the first.

Disappointments: Brad Chalk had his worst month of a bad season, hitting .192/.263/.247.

Fort Wayne TinCaps
Jason Hagerty

If Hagerty can prove that he can handle catching defensively, he could really be someone to watch. Since the All-Star break, he has hit .351, and this month led the TinCaps in hits, extra-base hits, home runs, RBI, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage.

Prospect Watch: Griffin Benedict bounced back from three tough months to hit .282/.417/.385 and Jonathan Galvez, despite having 10 errors in 25 games, continues to show that he can hit with a .315/.398/.461 line. Jedd Gyorko continues to produce with 15 RBI in 25 games and hit .308/.398/.442 with a 13/20 K/BB ratio. Although Everett Williams had a batting average of only .235, his secondary statistics showed some progress with a .362 OBP and .447 slugging percentage.

Disappointments: Jeudy Valdez had a tough month, hitting only .187/.259/.264.

Eugene Emeralds
Wes Cunningham

Many pundits believed that Wes Cunningham had a chance to be the "sleeper" of the 2010 draft and so far, outside of Jedd Gyorko, he has been Eugene's most consistent performer. The Murray State product led the Ems in OPS, hits, extra-base hits, home runs and RBI for August. He can play both corners and first base and there has been some talk that the left-handed hitting Cunningham could even play second.

Prospect Watch: Rico Noel covers a lot of ground and knows how to get on base, .286/.459/.357 and could emerge as a leadoff threat with six stolen bases in eight attempts. Chris Tremblay has some potential with a .327 batting average but only a single walk in 56 plate appearances along with limited power.

Disappointments: Houston Slemp had a brutal month, hitting only .088/.139/.118 striking out 23 times in 36 at-bats.

Arizona Rookie League Padres
Gunnar Terhune

Fellow writer, Gunnar Terhune finally came around with a solid performance after two tough months. The former UC Santa Barbara Gaucho/St. Augustine grad led the AZL Padres in OPS (for players with over 30 at-bats) had an 8/8 K/BB ratio and five of his 11 hits were for extra-bases. He's playing left field now, but was a shortstop in high school. The San Diego native was a 50th round pick he is the type of guy that everyone pulls for. Check out his blog chronicling his progress, it's worth your time.

Prospect Watch: Joe Agreste, the former West Virginia University teammate of Jedd Gyorko and Vince Belnome, put up some good numbers since the Padres signed him out of Independent Ball hitting .253/.358/.456, but at 23 is going to face some stiff competition next year for the first base job in Fort Wayne next season. Jose Dore only got in four games after signing at the deadline but six hits in 17 plate appearances is reason for some optimism. If he produces in the Instructs and spring, he could have a chance to start in the Midwest League next year. Australian Corey Adamson made some significant progress this year in coming from a very raw baseball background and continued with a .294/.357/.373 line. At this stage of his career, he's more of a candidate for extended spring/Eugene than Fort Wayne next year, but at 18 his progress is promising.

Disappointments: Orange Coast College product Mykal Stokes has quite a bit of potential in terms of speed but at 6'3" 185 lbs. is going to have to get bigger. This month he hit .220/.260/.256.

Dominican Summer League Padres
Jairo Gomez

Gomez tied for the team lead in RBI with eight during the month, despite receiving fewer at-bats, as he logged 38 compared to the 62 that Yoan Alcantara had in netting his eight RBI. With a team batting average of .205 for the month, Gomez was a force, reaching at a .434 clip with a 10/6 BB/K rate.

Prospect Watch: Duanel Jones seemed to find his stroke late in the year and posted a 15/16 BB/K rate. Miguel Del Castillo finished a solid year with a .289 mark, drawing nine walks for a .421 OBP.

Disappointments: Gabriel Quintana went 8-for-60 with a .194 on-base percentage, finishing off slow after a torrid start. Ariel Familia managed to hit just .136 while striking out 17 times. Reynaldo Brugeura and Felix Cabrera notched just two hits apiece all month. Player of the Month: Jason Hagerty

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