Level: The San Diego Padres High-A affiliate in the California League is mainly comprised of second and third year players – some of the hitters have never experienced full season ball. While Lake Elsinore is a pitcher's park, many of the other venues throughout the league favor the hitters. A credit to the staff, they had a two-point difference between their home and road ERA.
Pitcher of the Year:
5-2, 2.47 ERA, 41 saves
The California League Pitcher of the Year set a league record in saves as a sure thing finishing out games. The right-hander works quickly, disrupting a hitter's timing and throws strikes. Working ahead in the count, he can move to any pitch in his arsenal with success. Brach has no fear on the hill. Perhaps the most impressive statistic is the 16-of-20 inherited runners that he stranded.
4-0, 1.87 ERA
Vincent may not be a fireballer, but the man works down in the zone and was key to the Storm in crucial situations. He limited the oppositon to a .201 average against and used his off-speed pitches to keep hitters off-balance. His ability to spot his fastball to all quandrants was also vital. Over his last 22 outings, he posted a 1.17 ERA.
Pitcher of the Year:
Brach was a starter nearly his whole career at Division III Monmouth College in New Jersey, but since the Padres put him in the closer's role, he has saved 78 out of 83 games in three years in the organization. Brach's velocity has crept up each year to around 93 to 94, but what gets him outs is an ability to consistently place his four-seam fastball on the outside corner of the strike zone. His success at higher levels is going to be determined by how much he can improve his splitter/change and develop a pitch that he can throw on the inside portion of the plate.
4-4, 2.48 ERA
Musgrave, 24, rebounded from a tough 2009 to post impressive numbers in a dual role. He stranded 8-of-11 inherited runners and fanned 113 in 98 frames as he bounced between relief in the first half and the rotation in the second half. Musgrave's biggest problem is that he may throw a few too many strikes, as a starter he gave up 32 hits in 31.2 innings, but then again he also struck out 35 batters as well. To say the least, he put up some solid numbers, and after Cory Luebke, Musgrave may the organization's most impressive left-hander.
Others of Note: Anthony Bass had 16 outings where he allowed two runs or less while posting a better than 5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Erik Davis posted nine wins with his ability to spot his fastball and command his secondary pitches. Juan Oramas came two outs from a perfect game and was dominant for much of the year before tiring out near the end. Nick Schmidt took a step forward in his return from Tommy John surgery. The next step is improved command. Jorge Reyes had bouts of dominance before being shutdown in July.
Manager's Comments: "He can't be much better than what he has already done. He has the makeup, throws 94 at times. He is aggressive and goes right after the hitters." – Lake Elsinore manager Carlos Lezcano on Brad Brach.
Top Prospect: Juan Oramas.
Oramas blew away the competition in the Mexican League and was a bit of an unknown coming into 2010. Not anymore. The left-hander has a fastball that hits 94 mph and a devastating changeup, making him a candidate to move quickly. He will have to improve his breaking ball but has the makeup and mechanics to make quick strides. He worked hard on fastball command this year, moving away from the middle of the plate to attack the corners. What separates him is his mound presence and no fear attitude.
Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards
Join MadFriars.com on Twitter at http://twitter.com/madfriars