Padres Prospects: Over/Under Part II

In Las Vegas fashion, we set various over/under marks for Padres prospects in 2008 and will continue this discussion in our subscribers-only forum. Will this be the year of Tim Stauffer? Can Luis Durango steal his way to prospect status? Can Chad Huffman reproduce the success of last year? Will Drew Cumberland curtail the errors? We discuss all this and more.

ERA Mark for Tim Stauffer – 4.00:

Stauffer has seen time in Portland for three straight years and his lowest ERA came last season – a 4.34 mark. There has to be some sense of urgency with the righty, and he should benefit from the departure of pitching coach Gary Lance. Getting to work with Glenn Abbott should be a welcoming sight – Stauffer has always had the ability and Abbott has a way of bringing out the best in people. UNDER

Stolen Bases for Luis Durango – 40:
There is no doubting the speed that Durango possesses but every doubt still exists regarding his instincts. The outfielder will certainly benefit if he is paired up with Doug Dascenzo in Fort Wayne and this if, of course, assuming he heads to full season ball. Javis Diaz made tremendous strides while working with Dascenzo but it took time. We expect it to take even longer with Durango. UNDER

Homers for Rayner Contreras – 14:

With just 11 homers coming into the year, 14 would seem to be an insurmountable accomplishment. But, seven of his bombs came last season over 73 games and simple math and a healthy off-season of getting stronger says he could double the total over a full year. Contreras has incredible raw strength and a swing that produces power. As one talent evaluator was never afraid to say, ‘we are sticking our neck in a noose.' OVER

RBIs for Chad Huffman – 100:

As the RBI leader in the Padres system with 104 last year, Huffman comes into 2008 as the odds on favorite to accomplish the feat again. Nagging injuries down the stretch took away some of his opportunities but he is out to prove he can be a viable option at the big league level in 2009. With a "contract year" in mind, Huffman will reach his goal. OVER

Wins for Matt Buschmann – 12:

In his first full season of professional ball, Buschmann hit the high water mark with 12 wins in the California League. It took an impressive second half to accomplish the feat and he did miss time at the end of the season. Healthy and with his mechanics refined in '08, Buschmann should be a lock to reach the 12-win quota on another strong team. OVER

Errors for Drew Cumberland – 35:

There is no doubting that Cumberland can hit but the biggest steps forward we want to see concern his defense. Thirteen errors in 25 games translate to 73 over a 140-game season. Based on that 35 should easily be within reach. Here is hoping he proves us wrong. OVER

First Half Batting Average for Mike Baxter - .280:

Over the last two years, Baxter has struggled out of the gate. In successive seasons, he was barely over the Mendoza line at the All-Star break. While we expect him to be better this year – and he dedicated his off-season to working out the kinks and coming out strong – the average may not hit that high of a ceiling, especially if he ends up in San Antonio. UNDER

Starts for Drew Miller – 20:

Miller battled injuries in 2007 and fell four starts shy of hitting the magic number. He enters 2008 with a clean bill of health, but there is no telling how that will bear out during the season. A strong off-season program and a relatively clean delivery should keep him off the disabled list this season, barring anything unforeseen. OVER

OPS for Kellen Kulbacki - .850:

If the 2007 season was any indication, Kulbacki showed he has some power and some patience. Combining the two while skipping a level may prove to be a challenge early on, but we expect his bat to come around and provide more consistency than it did in '07. He needs to be a tad more selective to reach this high water mark with Lake Elsinore but should manage. OVER

Homers for Will Venable – 16:

Everyone has been pining for the power of Venable to come and there are certain insiders that expect this to be the year. Venable made a significant jump last year from Low-A to Double-A and produced eight bombs. He hit 11 in Low-A, most of them coming near the end of the year. He is a solid hitter that will produce a good average but homers have been elusive. At 25, he has to hit for power to take the next step, and we bet he comes close but just misses out. UNDER

Special thanks to the subscribers who posted questions for this article on our subscribers-only message board.

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