Players of the Month: May

Anthony Rizzo, James Darnell and Jedd Gyorko all put up huge numbers in May, but in the classic words of "The Highlander"..."there can be only one."

Tucson 1b Anthony Rizzo .344/.435/.698

Seriously could anyone imagine picking anyone else? Thirty RBIs in 27 games with 18 extra base hits. His only negatives were a slightly high strikeout rate with 28 and five errors at first but with a 1.133 OPS no one is that overly concerned. Rizzo hit .207 against lefties in AA last year so the Padres probably want to see a slightly bigger sample size than the 37 overall plate appearances he has now; but he's also hitting .324 in that category. WIth Brad Hawpe bouncing back with the big club in May he will probably be down for a little longer but we are kind of starting to run out of things he needs to work on.

Prospect Watch: CF Cedric Hunter hit .283 but his secondary numbers, .330 OBP, .406 slugging percentage and three stolen bases in six attempts could use some work. With James Darnell and Jedd Gyorko putting up great numbers at the levels below, 3b Jesus Guzman is quietly having a very good year and this month was no different as he hit .324/.415/.559. He'll be 27 in mid-June so he's not really a prospect, but he can hit, play several positions and is the type of player teams should have available in AAA. OF Aaron Cunningham had a solid month and earned a call-up hitting .298/.392/.442 with 22 RBIs and a 16/14 BB/K ratio.

Disappointments: OF Luis Durrango hit .203/.267/.228 and with a suddenly crowded outfield of Hunter, Matt Clark, Will Venable and possibly Kyle Blanks in the near future, playing time could become an issue.

San Antonio 3b James Darnell .337/.424/.594

Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus had a great comment in his Future Shock column that May was Darnell's bad month compared to what he did in April. This month he led the Missions in hits, on-base percentage, tied for the lead in home runs with 6 and posted a very good 15/18 BB/K ratio.

Prospect Watch: After shaking off the rust in April Blanks showed that he is nearly all the way back with a .333/.404/.586 line leading the team with 17 extra-base hits in 24 games and 21 RBIs. He still has only 3 home runs in 38 games but 14 doubles/triples should be an indicator that he is not far away from sending balls a little further. Additionally at the end of the month he had his first start in the outfield. 2b Vince Belnome hit .323/.407/.576 tying with Darnell for the team lead in home runs with 6. This year he has hit .350 with runners in scoring position and two outs. How good a season is SS Beamer Weems having with the bat? He tied Blanks for home runs this month with 3. Weems has become very effective hitting at the bottom of the order and this month he continued the trend hitting .281/.407/.506 to go along with his great defense.

Disappointments: The "brothers" Decker. In April Jaff and Cody combined for 32 extra-base hits and were one and two in the Texas League in home runs. In May DH/1b Cody went on the DL midway through the month but not before going through a horrific slump that saw him hit .155/.234/.328 with 21 strikeouts in 18 games with only one home run, on May 1. Last year OF Jaff Decker got off to a slow start missing all of spring training and the first six weeks of the season with a bad hamstring. This month he just had a bad slump hitting .170/.33/.260 with only 5 extra-base hits in 123 plate appearances. He still posted a good BB/K ratio at 23/31. What is really strange about his numbers is that he is hitting .315/.469/.575 at home, which is a very difficult hitting environment, and .179/.321/.415 on the road.

Lake Elsinore 3b/DH Jedd Gyorko .361/.428/.672 Gyorko played in all 29 of the Storm's games and led the team in every offensive category. He had an unreal 44 hits, 23 of them for extra-bases and 7 home runs for a total of 142 total bases. The former college shortstop has a strong arm, good hands and surprising range at the hot corner. This season he is hitting .424 with runners in scoring position.

Prospect Watch: While DH/3b Edison Rincon's struggles with defense are well documented not many people, if any, are questioning his bat. Rincon, who is going to be 21 in August, is simply destroying Cal League pitching hitting .331/.333/.488 but one walk in 122 plate appearances is something to keep an eye from the usually patient Dominican. C Jason Hagerty put up the type of numbers he did in the second half of the Midwest League hitting .338/.414/.584 with 14 of his 26 hits going for extra-bases and a very good 8/12 BB/K ratio. 2b/SS Dean Anna has played his way into the rotation at second and short hitting .350/.438/.525.

Disappointments: OF Rico Noel struggled in the Cal League hitting .226/.333/.290 before being sent down to Fort Wayne.

Fort Wayne LF/RF Luis Domoromo .318/.398/.443

Only 19 he has been one of the few offensive bright spots on a team that is struggling to score runs. He finished first on the TinCaps in on-base percentage, second in hits with 28 and a 13/12 BB/K ratio. For a corner outfielder you would like to see a little more power than five extra-base hits in 101 plate appearances and do better than two steals in six attempts, but at his age there is quite a bit to be excited about.

Prospect Watch: Last year the Padres skipped CF/RF Rymer Liriano to Fort Wayne, he struggled, was sent to Eugene and had a good year. This year they again attempted to skip him a level to Lake Elsinore, he struggled and now is producing with the TinCaps at .276/.336/.486 leading the team in hits, extra-base hits and RBIs. He still can work on his plate discipline with 28 strikeouts in 114 plate appearances against only 9 walks, but he is a true five-tool talent who could develop into a special player.

Disappointments: 2b Chris Bisson, a fourth round pick in the 2010 draft, struggled at the plate with a .197/.323/.263 line.

Player of the Month: Anthony Rizzo

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