Padres' Pitchers of the Month May

A week later than we hoped, has the Pitchers of the Month of May. One player isn't on his the team he began the month with, another just joined his club, a reliever picks up an award, and the fourth is an unlikely candidate if you remember last year at all.

Portland Beavers

Brian Sikorski
2-1, 2.92 ERA

Some solid middle relief for the Beavers this month, the best of which came from Brian Sikorski. Signed out of Japan in the off-season to shore up the Padres' middle relief corps, Sikorski struggled in spring training and was sent to Portland to refine his mechanics.

Sikorski who throws a hard sinking fastball has posted the type of numbers that one wants to see from a middle relief pitcher, a good BB/K (3/18) ratio to go along with a passable hits in innings pitched ratio (12/13). He is now back in San Diego.

Cla Meredith, who was acquired in the Doug Mirabelli trade, also had a strong May going 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 13.1 innings and only one walk.

Prospect Watch: Former number one pick Tim Stauffer rebounded from a tough April, but his numbers still indicate that a promotion to the majors shouldn't be in the near future, a 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA and he has allowed 40 hits in 34.2 innings.

Journeyman Eric Junge has posted similar numbers, 3-2, 3.77 ERA. Although he has allowed 35 hits in 28.2 innings, he had a much better BB/K ratio of 6/28. If the Padres need an emergency starter in the next month and don't think Brian Sweeney is up to it, one of these guys could get the call.

Disappointments: Since being removed from the Padres' rotation and subsequently demoted Dewon Brazelton has shown little in Portland with an 0-1, 4.48 ERA and a pedestrian 6/13 BB/K ratio. This is Dewon's fourth visit through Triple-A; he should be putting up better numbers.

Mobile BayBears

John Hudgins
3-0, 1.14 ERA

When the Padres dealt center fielder Freddy Guzman the big name to come over was outfielder/first baseman Vince Sinsi, although the best one may be starting pitcher John Hudgins. In three starts in Mobile, he held opposing hitters to a .115 batting average while winning 3 of his 4 starts. The one no-decision he had was a no-hitter over six innings. In 23.2 innings pitched he only 9 hits, while striking out 23 and only walking 10.

Hudgins, a Stanford graduate, is somewhat similar to current Padres pitcher Chris Young in that he posses an average fastball, but a good change and solid curve. Like Young he relies on deception and intelligence to get batters out. He is also much more of a flyball pitcher, which is a big plus for a major league team that plays in spacious PETCO Park as opposed to Arlington.

Prospect Watch: Starting pitcher Cesar Carrillo was promoted to Portland to replace Mike Thompson who was called up to the Padres, despite two mediocre starts in May. Jared Wells was nearly as impressive, after a brief stint on the injured list, as Hudgins, finishing the month with a 1-0 record and a 1.29 ERA in four starts. He is beginning to improve on going deeper into games, going seven innings in his last two starts. The big battle Jared has with the Padres is they want to see a greater differential in his BB/K ratio than 8/14 in 21 innings, especially for someone with his ability.

Disappointments: LHP Sean Thompson is going to have to catch a break. He has good stuff, good peripheral statistics - 10/33 BB/K ratio, but he just keeps making a few mistakes a game which kills an otherwise strong performances. In two of his starts this month, he pitched seven innings and the other eight, in which was a no-decision despite striking out eight batters. He's close, but just not quite there yet.

Lake Elsinore Storm

Neil Jamison
1-1, 1.98 ERA, seven saves

Neil Jamison may be the best closer in the Padres system. He has a good fastball to go along with a hard sinker, everything is down in the zone. He held batters to a .160 average, and only allowed eight hits in 13.2 innings.

Prospect Watch: Mike Ekstrom continues to make a case for being moved up, posting a 3-1 record in six starts and holding batters to a .256 average in the hitter-friendly California League. In 12 starts he's only failed to go more than five innings once. Although Ekstrom is still hittable (33 hits in 33 innings) and his BB/K numbers (10/22) aren't great, his biggest attribute is that he competes and wins.

Disappointments: Despite being picked in the supplemental first round of the 2005 draft, the "other Cesar" has yet to show the same promise as his counterpart Cesar Carrillo. Ramos finished the month 1-2, with a 2.70 ERA and a bad BB/K ratio of 12/13. Batters hit .279 off of him and he allowed 29 hits in 26.2 innings.

Fort Wayne Wizards

Fabian Jimenez
4-1, 1.65 ERA

A big left-handed pitcher who is only 19 with a lot of promise and also a lot of bumps. Jimenez turned around a tough April with a 5.03 ERA, to come back with a dominating May. He held batters to a .198 average while only allowing five earned runs in 27.2 innings. As always, Fabian's biggest problem is trying not to beat himself with his control, which flickers in and out (13 walks against 19 strikeouts).

Prospect Watch: Big Steve Delabar (6-foot-5, 220 lbs) was 3-2 in five starts. Delabar held batters to a .227 batting average and only 22 hits in 26 innings pitched.

Disappointments: Grant Varnell was 0-4 in five starts with a 5.68 ERA allowing 38 hits in only 25.1 innings pitched with the opposition hitting a blistering .349 against him.

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