MadFriars May Hitter of the Month

Each month, we take a look at the top performers in the system. As the weather heated up in May, so did hitters at each stop in the system. From a former first-rounder to a late-round sleeper, a speedster to a young slugger, there were a variety of strong performances to consider for the Hitter of the Month.

MadFriars May Player of the Month Tucson Padres

Dean Anna continued his strong 2012 campaign, posting a 336/413/505 line while providing solid defense at both second base and shortstop. For the month, he paced Tucson in hits and on-base percentage and tied for the club lead in homers. The 26-year-old, a 26th-round selection out of Ball State in 2008, has put up above-average offensive numbers at every stop through the minors, and has been a strong organizational guy along the way.

Cody Decker took a detour through San Antonio at the start of the month, but after returning to Tucson on May 9, he blasted the ball to the tune of a .659 slugging percentage. The UCLA alum even made a few appearances at catcher as he works on his versatility. Jonathan Galvez hit .306 for the month, but his power receded.

May Player of the month: Dean Anna

San Antonio

Kalian Sams was out of a job back in April, but after signing a minor league deal with the Padres, he came out of the chute with a bang. The 26-year-old Dutch native blasted nine homers in 21 games mashing his way to a 270/425/794 line. Always a prodigious power hitter, Sams struggled to make consistent contact throughout his six years in the Mariners system. Even in the midst of his strong May, Sams was the quintessential three-outcomes player. He had only two singles among his 17 hits, and 41 of his 79 plate appearances ended in a strikeout, walk or homer. As long as this large a portion end with the latter two, he'll be in great shape.

While Sams is a nice story, the development from San Antonio in May that should have the Padres thrilled is Rico Noel hitting .326 for the month. He still shows very little power – four doubles were his only extra-base hits in 122 plate appearances – but the threat of his speed is disruptive enough when he's in the box that he drew 16 walks against 19 strikeouts. Once on base, he continued to rank among the most dynamic players in the game, swiping 17 bases in 22 attempts. Randy Smith noted that if Noel can hit .250, he'll be an above-average big league player, so a month like this at the Double-A level is important to see.

Reymond Fuentes didn't stay quite as hot at the plate as he was in April, but 300/397/430 with nine stolen bases is certainly better than any month he posted in 2012. After a miserable April, Jeudy Valdez also had a strong showing in May, posting a 320/353/495 line and cutting his strikeout rate to under 20 percent for the first time in recent memory.

May Player of the Month: Rico Noel

Lake Elsinore After a spike in his strikeout rate in April, Yeison Asencio virtually eliminated the K's in May, posting a .320 average in the process. The 23-year-old only whiffed nine times in 134 plate appearances – though of course he only walked six times as well. After having a power outage through the first half of the month, he came on strong over the last two weeks, raising his slugging percentage for the month to .440. Asencio seems poised for a massive run right now, and may find himself in San Antonio before the next monthly wrap-up if things go well.

Cory Spangenberg spent May showing the skillset that made him the club's top pick in 2011. The 22-year-old hit .297 and posted 15 extra-base hits to support a .534 slugging percentage. His 2012 counterpart Travis Jankowski managed only a 252/300/270 line in May. Although he only reached base 36 times, he swiped a bag 18 times, pushing him into a tie with Noel for the system lead.

May Player of the Month: Cory Spangenberg

Fort Wayne Catcher Rodney Daal limped into the month with an OPS of just 529, but the 19-year-old found his stroke in limited action in May, posting a 304/328/571 line across 59 plate appearances. Splitting time with Dane Phillips – who carried the weight for the club's catchers in April – Daal put up a team-best 899 OPS, though the 15:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is a bit alarming.

Third baseman Gabriel Quintana finished May on the disabled list, but until he went down on May 28, he was having a great month. The 20-year-old hit 333/344/517 – his 21:1 strikeout ratio kept his on-base percentage in check – with some improvement on his defense as well. Outfielder Alberth Martinez is having a much better go of things in his second attempt at the Midwest League. The 22-year-old foundered last year, but now is leading the TinCaps with an 836 OPS. In May, he was even better than that, thanks to a solid .505 slugging percentage. He continues to play solid defense in all three outfield slots as well.

May Player of the Month: Rodney Daal

May MadFriars Player of the Month

The competition wasn't nearly as stiff in May as it was in the season's first month. However, Rico Noel's breakout was both a pleasant surprise and promising harbinger, earning him the title.

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