DSL Padres Pitcher of the Year

Summary: The Dominican Summer League Padres lowered their team ERA by more than a full run from the 2007 season, adding 12 more victories as a result.

With fewer hits per innings pitched and over 100 more strikeouts from the prior season, the DSL Padres pitching staff vastly improved its numbers. They avoided the big inning many times and played in 23 one-run games, keeping the game close.

They went 16-2 when leading the game going into the final frame and four pitchers held an ERA under 2.00.

Overview: We used a simple formula for the awards, whichever team the player appeared at the most determined their eligibility. For the top prospect we took into account not only what the players did this year, but their age and potential to get better.

Savage Sub-Rosa

Pitcher of the Year: Juan Oramas
Left-hander – 3-2, 1.02 ERA

Runner-up: Pedro Hernandez
Left-hander – 7-2, 1.42 ERA

Oramas, 18, was unbelievably effective throughout the season. After surrendering two earned runs in his first outing and four hits – both season-highs – he allowed just four earned runs over his next 50 innings of work – a 0.72 ERA. He held the opposition to a .125 batting average and allowed just 18 hits in 168 at-bats to right-handed hitters. With men in scoring position, the left-hander out of Mexico was even stingier. Oramas surrendered two hits in 61 at-bats with runners in scoring position, a paltry .033 average.

Oramas is another mature pitcher that has a strong physical frame with pitchability. He has a very good changeup for his age, and that is a big equalizer at the DSL level. He can also get his breaking ball over the plate, which can be a rarity down in the DSL. Oramas doesn't have a great fastball but does have command of the pitch and can work it to both sides of the plate.

Hernandez, 19, won each of his first five games and turned into a durable presence that went at least five innings in all but one of his eight outings as a starter. A control pitcher that pounded the strike zone, the southpaw from Venezuela walked just six batters across 63.1 innings while fanning 74. He spent some time in relief where he was not as effective, posting a 2.75 ERA in six relief appearances compared to a 0.82 ERA as a starter.

Hernandez won't blow anyone away with his stuff but has a great feel for pitch sequencing early in his career. He commands the fastball well, hitting 90 MPH on the radar gun, and has a plus two-plane curveball with a developing changeup. He should be in the states next season and is similar to Stiven Osuna but from the left side.

Conniff Confidential

Pitcher of the Year: Pedro Hernandez
Left-hander – 7-2, 1.42 ERA

Runner-up: Juan Oramas
Left-hander – 3-2, 1.02 ERA

Both Oramas and Hernandez are mature, relatively short for pitchers [5-foot-10] and rely upon fastball command and change of speed. Hernandez got the nod in a very close race because the total amount of batters he allowed to reach base on either a walk or hit per inning, (WHIP) was slightly better at 0.88 to 0.89.

Hernandez also put up better K/BB ratios of 74/6 compared to Oramas' 74/24. It is tough to recall the last time that a starter allowed 20 less hits than innings pitched, 53 IP/23 hits.

Others of note: Erick Ojeda posted a 1.21 ERA across 37.1 innings, allowing 24 hits while striking out 21 – holding the opposition to a .185 average. Freddys Henrique came back from a shoulder injury to surrender just six hits in 17.1 innings. Juan Chavez surrendered eight homers but has plus stuff, holding the opposition to a .198 average. Luis De La Cruz walked 30 in 47 innings but is a ground ball pitcher with good late movement, recording nine ground ball outs. Pedro Martinez played the season at 17 and had trouble harnessing plus pitches, walking 41 and tossing 15 wild pitches. Juan Herrera began the year at 16 and turned 17 during the season. He also had his share of control issued, walking 31 in 30.1 innings.

Manager Commentary: "I see this guy, if he gets the curve ball working, I see this guy pitching in the big leagues very soon. For me, he is the best pitcher out of the Latin groups." – DSL Padres manager Evaristo Lantigua on Pedro Hernandez.

Top Prospect: Pedro Martinez

A strong-bodied southpaw that has already hit 94 MPH on the radar gun, the 6-foot-3 specimen still has room to grow and mechanics to refine. He has a quick arm with a loose feel, making the Padres believe he might even add more velocity to his pitches.

Right now, they are trying to calm his efficiency down so he is not a max-effort guy in hopes of adding more control to his arsenal. He has an average curveball that has a chance to be a plus pitch and needs to work on the changeup. Martinez is a pitcher to watch in the coming years.

Both Denis and John agreed on the top prospect

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