2004 Padres Awards: Portland Pitching

<b>2004 Padres Position Players - End of the Year Awards</b><br><br>The pitching in Portland surprised many. Brian Sweeney, the elder statesman, turned in a spectacular year and earned time with San Diego. Justin Germano and Dennis Tankersley also saw time with the Padres.

Pitchers such as Justin Germano, Tim Stauffer and Dennis Tankersley all emerged as future major league players.

In the coming weeks, we will review the top position players and pitchers on each of the six Padres' minor league affiliates this year.

Pitcher of the Year for Portland

Justin Germano

2004 Season: Germano started the year in Mobile, and quickly earned a promotion to Portland by mid-season. At Portland, Germano formed one of the best rotations in AAA, with Dennis Tankersly, Chris Oxspring, Mark Sweeney and Tim Stauffer. Germano had the best year winning 9 games and losing 5 with an ERA of 3.38 in 123 innings. He had a nice BB/K ratio of 25/98. Germano was called up to the big club twice, the first time being better than the last.

In May he started two games for the Padres, winning one with an ERA of 3.27 in two hitters parks, Philadelphia and Colorado. However, he struggled in June and September, and the Padres went to four man rotation down the stretch.

Background: Germano is only 22, and has progressed rapidly through the Padres minor league system since being signed out of Claremont High School in 2000. Germano has usually been the youngest player in the league at each stop, and has impressed the Padres with his maturity and approach at each level. Germano‚s best year came at Fort Wayne in 2000 , where he went 12-5 with a 3.18 ERA, striking out 119, while walking only 19. Still despite those gaudy statistics, Midwest League battrs still hit .269 against him. Germano throws a lot of strikes, he is usually around the plate. The key to his success on the MLB level will be getting batters to swing at pitches not over the plate.

2005 Outlook: Germano had one of the better years in AAA, and according to the Padres will be given a chance to win the #5 spot in spring training. A lot depends not only on if the Padres sign or trade for another pitcher, but also from competition from the runner-up Dennis Tankersly and maybe even Andy Ashby. Germano has the ability to throw strikes, and uses a curve ball, slider, fastball and a good change. His curve is his best pitch, but he needs to have all four pitches working in order to be effective at a MLB level. Germano will probably start the season at Portland again in 2005, and if he continues to refine his control he could develop into a Brian Lawrence type pitcher.

Runner Up

Dennis Tankersley

2004 Season: Might be the biggest enigma in the Padres system. According to Daren Balsley, the Padres pitching coach, Tankersley has as much talent as anyone on the Padres staff. This year Tankersley pitched very well for the Beavers, emerging as one of the Pacific Coast league leaders in ERA at 3.15 and having another excellent base on balls/strike out ratios. He came up to the big team in May and June and pitched very well, a 2.00 ERA in May and a 3.86 ERA in June over 4 starts. Inexplicably, he was sent down when Peavy came off of the disabled list so the Padres could continue to trot Ismael Valdez out there every five days. After the Padres gave up on Valdez and Hitch, Tank was given another chance. Unfortunately, he didn't‚t deliver as he had earlier in the year with two very bad starts in August and September.

Background: Tankersley has long been one of the Padres top pitching prospects. Before 2002, Tankersley was the most hyped of all of the Padres prospects. He started 9 games in 2002, and one memorable start in 2003, where he didn't‚t get anyone out. He‚s put together two solid years in Portland, and the Padres will need to make a decision soon.

2005 Outlook: Like Germano, Tankersley will probably either be given a chance to win the fifth starter slot or be part of a trade. He‚s 25, and starting to run out of chances with the team. Of all the young pitchers in the Padres‚ system, including the major leagues, Tankersley "stuff" is as good as anyone's. Real question is how many in the Padres organization are willing to give him the ball every fifth day in 2005?

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