Players of the Month: May

It was a good month for some while others continue to struggle within the system. With the season now two months in, several top prospects are separating themselves from the pack. awards the Players of the Month for May at each leg of the Padres' system.

Portland Beavers
Vince Sinisi
Right field

Coming into professional baseball, Sinisi was a highly ranked prospect until a staph infection in June of 2004 not only nearly ended his career but also threatened his life. Sinisi is finally fully recovered and has been one of the few consistent offensive bright spots for the Beavers this year. He had more extra base hits [14] than strikeouts [12] in 118 plate appearances and the smooth swinging lefty can play all three outfield positions plus a very good first base. The Padres have quite a few left-handed hitters ahead of him, but Sinisi is inserting himself into the mix.

Prospect Watch: Not a lot in Portland. Second baseman and super utility man Craig Stansberry slowed down a little in May .253/.351/.481 after a big April but still showed some pop and good on-base skills. How can you hit .213 and still have a decent month? Ask catcher Pete LaForrest whose BB/K ratio was 16/20 in 91 plate appearances and nine of his 16 hits were for extra bases, eight of them home runs for an OBP of .352 and a slugging percentage of .547.

Disappointments: After hitting .346/.486/.769 in San Antonio, first baseman Michael Johnson slumped badly after being promoted to Portland .119/.240/.143 with 18 strikeouts in 49 plate appearances and only one extra base hit.

San Antonio
Chase Headley
Third Base

Headley slowed down slightly but still continues to hit for power to go along with his excellent on base skills. His BB/K ratio was 19/22 and he tied for the team lead in home runs [3] and RBIs [16] and is hitting .376 with runners on base.

"I feel really good," said Headley. "I feel a lot stronger than I did last year. Everything feels great so far. I think at the end of last year I wore down a little bit and wasn't as strong as I would normally be. A little bit more weight hopefully helps out this year."

Prospect Watch: Catcher Nick Hundley is the player that was tied with Headley for the lead in home runs and RBIs, as he bounced back from a poor April with a better offensive performance this month, .251/.321/.461. The Padres love the job Hundley does behind the plate, they just need a little more consistency from him at the plate.

Disappointments: Second baseman Sean Kazmar continues to struggle in Double-A, hitting an anemic .189/.295/284, and outfielder Will Venable was helped by a few good games at the end of the month but still ended up at .230/.291/.330.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Chad Huffman
Left field

When the Lake Elsinore team averages .295/.379/.511 it's fairly obvious they have a pretty good offense. Four players had an OPS over 1,000 first baseman/DH Kyle Blanks [.340/.388/.691 ], first baseman/DH Craig Cooper [.366/.465/.624], left fielder Chad Huffman [.356/.469/.663] and third baseman David Freese [.356/469/.606], but we gave it to Huffman by a nose.

Huffman nearly had as many extra base hits [15] as he did strikeouts [16] to go along with tying for the team lead in home runs with eight. He's hitting .387 with runners in scoring position with an accompanying slugging percentage of .656.

Prospect Watch: Besides the big four, second baseman Matt Antonelli is having a very good season and improved upon a good April hitting .317/.406/.508 and stealing eight bases in nine attempts. He could tighten up his defense a little with four errors in 28 games, but he has shown the range and athleticism that the Padres want to see. Shortstop Ray Chang was also having his best month ever hitting .378/.429/514 before being promoted to Portland, where he hit there too - .321/.333/.536.

Disappointments: Right fielder Nic Crosta continues to struggle .159/.250/.295, hitting only .204 with runners in scoring position despite batting in the middle of the order. Shortstop Matt Bush, in his final month as a position player, hit .194/.359/.194 showed some improvement in his strike zone judgment but had no extra base hits in 39 plate appearances.

Fort Wayne Wizards
Jodam Rivera

Not really a great month by anyone on the team, but switch-hitting middle infielder Rivera did put up some numbers. Rivera, who bounced between the AZL Padres and Fort Wayne last season, showed some pop with seven extra base hits and had a 11/3 BB/K ratio while playing a solid second base for the injured Tom King.

Prospect Watch: Cedric Hunter isn't really struggling, but he isn't really doing well either with a .267/.320/.362 line. At 19, Hunter is playing against players frequently three to four years older than him and has still shown a good eye with a 9/14 BB/K ratio and should improve as the season goes on. Catcher Matt Stocco [.273/.333/.383] and first baseman/DH Jeremy Hunt [.269/.367/.359] showed some promise but are going to have to hit a little more to get on the radar of management.

Disappointments: Right fielder Kyler Burke struggled more in May than he did in April with an .184/.286/.204 line. He had 37 strike outs in 111 plate appearances. In fairness to Burke, the Padres pushed him a little placing him in Fort Wayne believing it would benefit him more to play against better competition in the Midwest League than extended spring training.

Player of the Month for May: Chad Huffman

"Baseball is one of those games, for me at least, it depends on what day it is," said Huffman. "For one week I will be having getting to the inside pitch and I will be hitting the outside pitch real well. The next week I will struggle with the outside pitch and hit the inside pitch real well. For me, it depends on what week it is and what I am feeling like."

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