Padres Prospects: May Players of the Month

It was a good month for positional prospects on the San Diego Padres farm, as several top prospects bounced back from sub par Aprils to see success. John Conniff pulled out the best of the bunch from the hitting ranks.

Portland Beavers
Chase Headley
.357/.418/.619
LF/3B

After a disappointing April, Headley improved his OPS by over 300 points, led the Beavers in hits [45] and home runs [7] and started a ‘call-up Headley now' movement on the Padres home radio station. Is he ready? Yes and no. Headley needed to put together a solid month and it appears that the power numbers that he put up in San Antonio were no fluke, but he's still striking out a little too much for his and the Padres liking with 29 Ks in 30 games. Padres' fans that are anxious for a call-up should be aware that Headley profiles more as a gap and OBP guy than someone who will hit 40 home runs than is being portrayed by some of the less informed San Diego media.

As good as Headley's statistics are what sets him apart from other young players is the quiet unshakable confidence that he has in his ability to succeed which manifests itself in his ability to make adjustments. At the end of a tough April, Headley predicted that May would be much better.

"Pitchers are going to start missing with that 0-0 changeup or the 0-1 breaking pitch and sooner or later they are going to start missing and then I'm in my counts and I'm going to do what I want to do," said Headley.

Prospect Watch: Every year, Peter Ciofrone starts out the same way, he's a utility guy that may get to play once or twice a week and ends up somewhere in the lineup everyday because of his bat. This month he hit .337/.418/.616 – we've seen the average and OBP before, but the power is a big surprise; he finished with six home runs, second only to Headley. Ciofrone primarily logged in time at 3B and RF, but also saw some action in first and left. Chip Ambres hit .307/.365/.579 and tied for the lead in RBIs with 27. Brian Myrow, who, as usual, just keeps on chugging along at.343/.443/.574 and with Adrian Gonzalez and Tony Clark in San Diego still isn't closer to the big leagues. Somewhere in the major leagues there is a spot for this man. Will Venable hit well, .301/.358/.493, but was only able to play in 10 of 22 games in centerfield – which is the big question mark and key to his future in the majors.

Disappointments: Matt Antonelli's performance so far this year has to be the biggest question mark in the entire organization. What has happened? This month he hit .170/.300/.210 and saw his OPS go from .710 in April to .510 in May. The bad part of this analysis is this is starting to not just appear as an isolated bad month. He hit .229 in August for San Antonio, .214 in the Arizona Fall League, .150 in spring training, .195 in April and now this. Now you can make some good arguments that he was pretty tired in his last month at San Antonio and in the AFL; spring training statistics are worthless, and not many people were hitting in Portland in April, but now others are starting to hit and Antonelli had a worse month than before. He still tied for the team lead in walks with 19 but only had two extra base hits in 119 plate appearances.

San Antonio Missions
Chad Huffman
.357/.468/.551
LF

The most impressive statistic that Huffman put up this month was only striking out 11 times in 119 plate appearances when hitting with the type of power that he does. Earlier this year, we wrote that Huffman may have the best combination of power and patience in the organization, and he proved it this month, leading the Missions in walks [21] and extra base hits [11].

"I am hitting the ball to right field with consistency and on a line plus I have a little more power," said Huffman.

Prospect Watch: Even though he is in his third year in Double-A, Drew Macias is still the Padres best major league defensive option in center field. This month, he rebounded from a poor April where he hit .215 to .302/.367/.453. He stole six bases in eight attempts and had a 11/15 BB/K ratio. If he can continue to get on base and put the ball into the gaps, he'll be back in San Diego by the end of the year. Kyle Blanks continues to hit for average and getting on-base at .284 and .368, respectively, but his power numbers still haven't show up with a .363 slugging percentage. Brett Dowdy's strong April and solid May - .315/.340/.370 and earned a call-up to Portland.

Disappointments: Shortstop Sean Kazmar has all the defensive skills in the world and potential in his bat but so far has yet to show it offensively in Double-A. This month he hit .193/.250/.325.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Cedric Hunter
.322/.360/.504
CF

Hunter's slugging percentage went up 140 points from last month getting 13 of his 18 extra base hits in May. Defensively, he continues to play a solid centerfield and was errorless this month. He's still about two years away from being considered for the big leagues, but the organization has to like what they have seen so far this year in the California League.

"It is a great experience to see a lot of breaking balls," Hunter said. "You learn from it and have to adjust to it. I know I am going to see a lot of breaking balls again this year. I have to be ready for it. You still have to look fastball and react to everything else you see.

Prospect Watch: Mitch Canham continues to impress with his bat, hitting .303/.455/.382 but has not picked it up throwing out runners at only 16 percent. Eric Sogard, after a monster April, came back down to earth in May, hitting .243/.361/.262.

Disappointments: After Matt Antonelli, Kellen Kublacki has also been the biggest mystery in the Padres system, showing little of the patience and power he had in Eugene this month in Lake Elsinore, hitting .221/.361/.309. Although midway through the month he was much worse off at .154 and has started to pick it up. Javis Diaz saw his OPS drop from .885 to .428, hitting .178/.250/.178 in May, and Robert Perry, after a promising start last year, was sent down to Fort Wayne after hitting .136/.345/.182.

Fort Wayne Wizards
Felix Carrasco
.288/.367/.575
1B/DH

Baseball Prospectus has an infamous stat known as the "three true outcomes," which was defined as either a home run, strikeout or walk, a statistic that is solely about pitcher versus batter without any other factors. In 90 plate appearances, first baseman Felix Carrasco saw 40 of them end up as either a home run [5], walk [10] or a strikeout [25]. Additionally 13 of his 23 hits were for extra bases, so when Felix is at the plate something definitive is usually going to happen. Carrasco led the Wizards in extra base hits [13], home runs [5] and RBIs [18].

Prospect Watch: The rest of the Latin contingent in Fort Wayne must have reacted to being put in the disappointments column because all of them responded this month. Yefri Carvajal still is not putting the ball over the wall yet, but clocked in with a .317/.351/.413 ,which is very impressive for someone that is 19. The power could be coming soon with Yefri hitting seven doubles this month. Luis Durrango rebounded in May, hitting .295/.400/.352. The only downside was being caught in 3-of-4 stolen base attempts. Continuing with the Latin trend, Angel Mercado hit .295/.389/.525. Shane Buschini also had a nice month, finishing at .286/.356/.494, finishing second on the team in RBIs with 16.

Disappointments: After hitting .293 in April, Brad Chalk saw his average plummet to .196 but still was able to maintain a .326 OBP with 10 walks in 61 plate appearances.

Player of the Month: Chad Huffman


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