Tool Time: Best Plate Discipline

The San Diego Padres stress of plate discipline and being aggressively patient is consistently on display, especially with the team continuing to look for hitters that display this attribute each year in the MLB Draft. Here is the best of the bunch currently in the system:

1. Matt Antonelli

Not afraid to swing the stick, Antonelli waits for the pitch he wants and if it isn't being offered he will gladly take the free pass. Few can execute a hit-and-run like Antonelli.

After drawing a walk in each of his first ten games, Antonelli would go on to have a hit or a walk in all but three of his contests with the Eugene Emeralds.

2. Cedric Hunter

When you have an on base streak of 48-games, you are showing a patient approach and an ability to hit the ball where fielders aren't.

Only three times on the season did he strike out more than once in the same game. He puts bat to ball with the best of them and when he doesn't the odds are pretty good he isn't swinging.

3. Clint Naylor

How often do you see a player with a .167 have a .462 on base percentage in 20 starts? He drew 23 walks on the year while only registering 42 official at bats.

Naylor lacked the strength last season to be more of a threat with the pitches he did hit, but he rarely misses a pitch. There is some concern he was too choosy because of his lack of strength.

4. Josh Alley

Another one of the rare few with more walks than hits. Alley's strength is in his patient approach and ability to reach base. While he struggled with the stick last year he still managed a .400 on base percentage.

Alley has been perhaps too patient, putting himself in bad hitter's counts and then having to swing at borderline pitches. If he can add a tinge of aggressiveness he may see better results.

5. Josh Howard

One of the best hit-and-run candidates and a player who can move a runner over at will because of his fantastic bat control, Howard is a combination of patience and aggressiveness.

There will be games when he just isn't seeing the ball well and he tries to compensate by swinging freely – four of his contests accounted for 13 of his 47 strikeouts and he only had four other multi-whiff games.

Also in consideration (alphabetical):

Tim Brown
The first baseman has a solid approach and understands how he is being setup by a pitcher.

Luis Durango
A great eye, uncanny bat control and a nose for putting the ball where there are no fielders.

Chase Headley
He doesn't care what pitch is being offered – Headley can handle them all while also waiting for his pitch.

Kody Valverde
A good eye but could stand to be more aggressive at the dish – he sometimes puts himself into bad counts.

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