Padres Instructional League Notebook II

If Wednesday's game was any indication, the lessons the San Diego Padres are teaching have been heard, as the Padres walloped the Royals 16-4.

  • One of the primary lessons being taught to the young players revolves around execution. Specifically, the Friars' brass want the hitters to move the runners over and, most importantly, score anyone standing on third with less than two outs.

    The Padres went 8-for-8 in the latter category on Wednesday, using productive outs as well as hits to continue the rally.

    "You did an excellent job staying in the game and running every ball out," one coach told the squad afterwards.

  • Fourteen outs – there are 14 essential plays that every player must be able to execute. It is a test of mental ability as much as it is physical. Did the pitcher back up the play? Did the outfielder throw to the right base and on a line that the cutoff man could intercept? Did the shortstop catch a grounder and throw the runner out.

    Runners were on the bags. Pitchers were on the mound throwing a ball to the catcher. Doug Dascenzo handled the bat and called the situation – runner on first, nobody out/ bases loaded and one out, infield in/ etc...

    The drill goes until they can get all 14 outs sans error. If an error is made the count returns to zero. Thirty-two minutes later they were cheering when the drill was finally completed.

    Last time out, incidentally, it took the Padres' Instructional League squad 117 minutes. Things are improving.

    One thing that did not make the coaching staff happy, however, was when a side bet was made when they got to 13 outs and they predicted they would not get number 14. It turned out to be true and the staff felt it was not in the best interest to be cheering for failure.

    "It is OK to have fun with it but you have to know when you step over the line," Dascenzo told the squad. "Every out counts. When you work your butts off for two and a half hours and are in position to win the game with two outs in the ninth and something happens – I bet you won't be cheering then.

    "It is our job to come out here and make these plays."

  • Luis Durango stayed after the morning session to take another bag of balls from Tom Gamboa. He appears to have a better feel for routes than he did in Eugene. Let's see how it carries over to the game when sometimes his head drifts away from the field.

    Gamboa did note, "This is the best week he has ever played in the outfield."

  • Andy Parrino took early work from manager Doug Dascenzo and hitting coach Bob Skube. His mission was to create backspin – an effort that creates more line drives and allows the ball to travel farther.

    Parrino worked on one-handed swings to keep his front side focused on the plane of his path through the zone. Both coaches were pleased with his efforts.

    "You are not even thinking about trying to create the backspin anymore," Skube asserted. "It is just happening now."

  • Jeudy Valdez was in the cage with roving hitting instructor Tony Muser and hitting coaches Skube and Jose Flores. Valdez has had some troubles with the pitches on the outer half of the plate.

    Valdez' front foot was pulling him open and off the ball, forcing him to reach for the outside pitches. The trio worked on keeping him closed and his hands from pulling through the zone.

    "You have way too much ability," Muser said. "The problem is you play too nice. You have to be (angry) out there. Be nice off the field."

    Muser feels he needs to add attitude to everything he does on the field as the passive approach takes him away from his game. If he can attack the ball with both bat and glove, he will be better served and start hitting the balls he is missing and making the plays that are currently getting away at shortstop.

    Valdez had two hits in the game, a single and a double.

  • Mitch Canham opened the scoring with a three-run bomb over the high centerfield wall in the top of the first. His homer left little doubt about his raw power, as he is still working on using his lower body during his swing.

    Canham ended the day with five RBIs and three runs scored, dropping another single while drawing two walks.

  • Javis Diaz accounted for three hits and three runs, doubling twice and adding a single. He also flashed a solid arm when he threw out a runner at home in the bottom of the first.

    Brad Chalk's speed appears to be ‘back'. He tripled down the right field line, showing no ill-affects from a back injury that claimed the start of his professional career. Chalk also walked twice.

    Felix Carrasco showed up as two different players. He mashed two doubles to left-center as a left-handed hitter but looked completely lost from the right side. He ended up with three RBIs, drawing a bases loaded walk as part of the afternoon, and adding two runs scored. He was rumored to be going left-handed full-time but that plan appears to be scrapped.

    Kellen Kulbacki had a very good day in the cages and fought back from a 0-2 count to draw a walk. He ended up with three walks and cracked a double in his final at bat. Kulbacki is a completely different player than the one we saw in Eugene in July and appears to have his timing and rhythm down. He is clobbering any pitch he offers at.

    Zachary Brown added two more RBIs, crushing a double into the left-center gap. Andy Parrino also notched a two-RBI double. Tom King drew two walks – he has been making a concerted effort to see more pitches and attack the ones he can drive.

  • Stephen Faris got the start and allowed all four of the runs over three innings of work, although several were unearned.

    He looked sharp with his fastball but his off-speed pitches found the dirt a little too often, making life unkind to catcher Aeden McQueary.

    Simon Berroa was sharp in his two frames. He worked consistently in the zone and did not get into many deep counts. His fastball ranged from 87-89 MPH and he flashed a feel for a solid breaking pitch. His delivery was also relatively smooth – a surprise from a newcomer. It took him 28 pitches to breeze through his outing with only one man reaching base.

    Mat Latos overmatched the Royals. He spotted each of his pitches well, keeping them down and in the zone. Latos went out of the zone – but not by much – when he wanted to and saw success. He faced six batters over two frames with a fastball that sat 92-95 MPH and a changeup that came in at 83 MPH.

    Pablo Menchaca was back on the hill after missing most of the season. He was effortless with his motion and had command of his pitches. Two runners reached base in his two scoreless innings of work, although one was due to poor defense. He erased one on a double play grounder and fanned two, hitting 92 MPH on the radar gun.

  • Lifete Jose appeared to break his jaw when he was struck in the face with a pop up down the left field line that ended up going for a double. He was called off at the last minute by a teammate who missed the ball and the thud could be heard from the other side of the field.

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