Prospect Scouting Report: Greg Sain

Greg Sain set a new record for home runs with the Mobile BayBears, swatting 28 dingers to eclipse the mark of 27 established by Jon Knott the year before.

The slugger actually had 27 homers on August 5 but went homerless in the next 25 games, by far the longest stretch of the season without a homer.

With fans asking if Greg Sain could hit a homer for their birthday or because it was Fireworks night, the weight of it all changed Sain's approach at the plate and had him pressing. It also resulted in his lowest output of RBI's in a given month with eight.

They say that power can forgive a number of things but Sain hit just .235 for the year and had an on base percentage of .331. He started out hitting .261 in April but hit a lull in May, batting just .181 and it wasn't much better in June when he hit .218. He bounced back in July to hit .293 but fatigue and the chase for the home run title limited him to .221 in August.

"The power is there," Tye Waller, the Padres' Director of Player Development, said. "More patience and more discipline at the plate is something he has to master. If he does that, he could be a bona fide Major Leaguer."

While his .467 slugging percentage was better than the year Alex Rodriguez had, Sain struck out once every 3.2 at bats.

His strikeout totals have increased from 77 to 119 to 140 over the past three years as he has ascended the minor league ladder but the number of games he has played has not gone up as steadily, from 105 to 123 to 133.

In Double-A, Sain found out that he was getting very little to hit. His walks increased to 66, 23 more than his previous season high, but his pitch selection still wasn't where he or the Padres staff wanted it to be.

Rather than taking the walk, Sain would try for the RBI hit. It prompted him to hit a meager .223 with runners in scoring position.

"The toughest thing in teaching a player is really how to be patient and aggressive at the same time," said Waller. "That is a special skill and that will be the difference maker for Greg. "

Ironically, Sain never went more than four games without a hit. They just weren't coming in bunches.

He played the majority of games at first base in 2004 while seeing a couple games at third and a few at catcher. The move was prompted by need, as Sain broke into the minors as a third baseman. Jake Gautreau was manning the third base spot when he arrived. He performed well at the position but could eventually be moved back to third because it is a weakness in the organization.

Sain has spent the bulk of the offseason working on his body to increase his stamina and mobility. His hope is to avoid the breakdowns that are associated with a long season of ball. Just as important, however, will be his mental approach. He is physically gifted and if he can hit his pitch rather than chasing what the pitcher wants him to swing at he can take the next step.

Sain will likely begin the year in Mobile and where he plays is a mystery. He has experience at multiple positions and that will keep him in the lineup everyday. If Portland wasn't so loaded, it is conceivable he could have been put in Triple-A, ala Jon Knott the year before.

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