Hitters of the Month: June

Hitting over .400 for the month pretty much ensures you will be Hitter of the Month here at What do you do when two players top that magic number? Flip a coin or have John Conniff sort out that mess. We opted for the later.

Portland Beavers
Brian Myrow
Position: 1B

We know he's going to be 31 in September and will probably not see the big leagues with the Padres' over the abundance of left-handed hitters, but his numbers in June are what they are - spectacular. The Padres are Myrow's fourth organization, which is surprising for a player with overall minor-league numbers of .298/.424/.498; the problem is he's limited to first base, which is a brutal position to try to break in. Myrow led the team in every offensive category and may have had the best month of anyone this year. Chad Huffman's big brother Royce had a nice month hitting .354/.410/.542 and catcher Pete LaForrest continues his all or nothing approach with an .187/.295/.507 line. When he hits it, eight of his fourteen hits were home runs; the problem was with the other 61 at-bats.

Myrow has been working on controlling his bottom half through his swing, but noted: "Even at the games, at times, I can't control it. And then, I'll get it right, I'll hit a pitch, and I'll finally put one in play and I'll find a hole."

Prospect Watch: The term "prospect" is a very relative term in Portland. Paul McAnulty really didn't have enough at-bats to write about and right fielder Vince Sinisi, .267/.292/.347, had a down month. Second baseman Craig Stansberry hit well, .289/.341/.447 but not the same big numbers he put up earlier in the year.

Disappointments: Former second-round draft pick first baseman Michael Johnson was sent back to San Antonio a product of some bad performances on his part and the dominance of Myrow. Catcher Luke Carlin is one of the Padres better defensive catchers, but is going to have to hit better .210/.258/.290 to have a chance.

San Antonio Missions
Chase Headley
Position: 3B

Last month we wrote that Headley slowed down a little last year by "only" posting an OPS of .933. Headley corrected that perception in June, earning his first at-bats in the major leagues and absolutely scorching the ball in only 49 at-bats with the Missions, leading the team in extra base hits, home runs and second in RBIs. He's already hit more home runs for the year [14] than he did all last year in Lake Elsinore [12] and if he stays the full year in San Antonio should put up some eye-popping numbers.

"I worked really hard in the weight room," Headley said. "I put on about 10 or 15 pounds and tried to focus more on explosive work so I could hold the weight better. As far as that side goes, it's been going pretty well, but we'll see what happens when the hot summer comes."

Prospect Watch: Catcher Nick Hundley continues to improve at the plate after a slow start with a .280/.345/.560 month, leading the team in RBIs and finishing second behind Headley in extra base hits and home runs. While outfielder Will Venable isn't putting up big power numbers, .280/.368/.320, he's performing the way the Padres believed he would be going into the season, hitting, but not with power. The team is impressed with his progress so far at the plate and in field; he's shown the ability to play both right and center field. It's a huge jump from the Midwest [Low-A] to the Texas League [Double-A] and San Diego expects to see more power from Venable at the end of this year or at the beginning of next season.

Disappointments: Despite being promoted to Portland, centerfielder Drew Macias continues to struggle at the plate in his second time around in Double-A with a .229/.345/.320 line and first baseman/DH Michael Johnson continued to struggle after being sent down from Triple-A with a .188/.264/.417 with 21 strikeouts in 53 plate appearances.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Kyle Blanks
Position: 1B

Some good months by everyone, but not the type of cartoon statistics we saw in May thanks to a wild weekend in Lancaster. First Baseman/DH Kyle Blanks continues his breakout season with the Storm showing the best power he has in his career with nine extra base hits while maintaining solid plate discipline with a very good BB/K ratio of 12/18. Second baseman Matt Antonelli continues to prove that he has some pop in his bat to go along with his considerable leadoff skills hitting.305/.376/.486 line, with four home runs and four stolen bases, but his defense could tighten up a bit with four errors.

"A lot more balance as opposed to being open," Blanks said of his revised stance, which has him seeing the ball better. "It cuts down on a lot of movement and makes for a shorter swing."

Prospect Watch: Right fielder Nic Crosta seems to have recovered from his diet related stint on the DL caused by an allergic reaction to flour, hitting .267/.371/.560, with a team leading five home runs and 12 extra base hits, but 27 strikeouts in 88 plate appearances could use some improvement. Left fielder Chad Huffman had an off month but still managed to lead the team in RBIs with 20, maintained good plate discipline with a 11/17 BB/K ratio while hitting .267/.371/.560. Shortstop Seth Johnston has bullied his way into the everyday lineup sending Matt Bush back to the mound and Juan Ciriaco to the bench with another solid month at the plate hitting .317/.364/.390. Johnston's range is more suited to second base, but with the Padres lack of talent at shortstop he may be the best in the organization at that position right now.

Disappointments: Center fielder Yordany Ramirez reverted back to his form from last year in June, hitting .185/.241/.222.

Fort Wayne Wizards
Sam Carter
Position: Right field

The trade of Kyler Burke for Michael Barrett has opened up an everyday spot in right field for Sam Carter who is making the most of his opportunities by leading the Wizards in extra base hits and slugging percentage. The 6-foot-3 Carter played most of last year in Arizona and was signed as a free agent out of St. Mary's College where he had some good numbers, but could be a little more selective with a 3/19 BB/K ratio.

"They changed my swing a little bit," Carter said of the Padres. "I was kind of hunched over. They stood me up a little taller that way I could get a little more power. Got my hands going a little bit, tried to smooth me out."

Prospect Watch: Cedric Hunter hit pretty much what he did last month with a .275/.296/.343 line, but led the team in RBIs with 14 and played a very good center field. The Padres are happy with his progress and believe the power that we see in batting practice will manifest itself in games once he improves upon his pitch recognition and corrects a few hitches in his swing. Hunter obviously isn't putting up the same numbers he did last year in Arizona, but then again the Midwest League is much more of a challenge than the organized scrimmages in Peoria. First baseman Daryl Jones rebounded with a good month at .271/.319/.435, hitting his first three home runs in June. Finally, in his last month with the Padres, Kyler Burke had his best numbers hitting .260/.373/.360.

Disappointments: Although first baseman Jeremy Hunt had some good peripheral numbers, a team leading four home runs and a 7/18 BB/K ratio, he's going to have to do better than a .211 batting average and a .291 OBP when you are 23 and in the Midwest League.

Player of the Month for June:
Brian Myrow

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