Padres Prospect Report: Peter Stonard

Peter Stonard was picked up in the fourth round of the 2003 Draft by the San Diego Padres. He was rated higher before facing trouble at Alabama and San Diego State. The Friars were able to do their homework on Stonard and picking him up in the fourth round could turn out to be a bargain if he develops as projected.

The Padres did extensive research into choosing Peter Stonard in the draft. They were able to speak with Padre Legend and coach of the Aztecs Tony Gwynn to get a better read on the troubled youngster.

Stonard was twice dismissed from a university after failing a drug test at San Diego State and a year earlier leaving the University of Alabama under similar circumstances.

"We like him as a ballplayer," Padres director of scouting Bill Gayton said. "He's got good action, soft hands and he can hit."

One of the major plusses to Stonard is his knack for contact. At 21 he has a good handle on his bat and can spray the ball to all fields. He has .300+ potential at the plate. If he can harness that contact, he strikes out once every 10 at bats, and take a few more pitches he can push his on base percentage well over .350.

He is a former Cape Cod League batting champion, has played outfield and second base through his career and hit .411 his sophomore season, adding in 22 doubles and 18 stolen bases.

"He is a guy that just understands the situation," said one Padres scout. "You don't have to pull it all the time, just serve it into left field a lot like a Tony Gwynn. Especially when he was younger and he would just go up there and you could almost see him – ‘I am just going to get a hit. There is a guy at first base right now. I am going to put this thing in play and hit it to left field.'"

Stonard will have to add a little more power to his game to continue his trek up. He currently has doubles power, but Padres staff would like to see him turn some of those into homers. They believe it can happen.

He has speed, evidenced by his 18 thefts as a college sophomore, but needs to refine his base stealing skills and start turning those hits in the gap into doubles, especially at the Minor League level.

"I think as he gets a little more knowledge about what he can do with the ball and as he gets stronger, he will be able to hit the ball," a Padres scout said. "I don't know about power numbers, but he will be able to put the ball in play very hard."

Stonard wrapped up his debut season in Fort Wayne with solid numbers. Batting between third and sixth in the lineup he put the ball in play but did not produce enough runs scored or RBI's for what was considered a weak hitting Wizard club.

He also possesses solid range at second, but his best path to the Majors will in the outfield or as a utility guy. There is just too much in his path to make waves at second base.

To build upon his success at the plate, Stonard is working on his patience at the plate, according to Padres sources. With Josh Barfield moving up from Lake Elsinore, it could open up a spot for Stonard. What he does with it is up to him.

He hasn't erased all thoughts of his checkered past and may never fully leave that behind him, but the Padres are confident he has turned it around and can be a solid piece of the future of the team.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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