Padres Prospects: May Players of the Month

The San Antonio Missions posted a .297 average for the month while the Fort Wayne TinCaps drew 159 walks and scored the most runs. The Portland Beavers led the four-team race with 34 homers and the Lake Elsinore Storm notched the most two-baggers. Who took home individual honors? John Conniff takes on the challenge.

Portland Beavers
Chad Huffman

Huffman was first or second in nearly every offensive category for the Beavers and led the team in home runs (6), walks (16, for a 16/19 BB/K ratio) and RBI with 19. He has a better overall OPS number at the end of May than either the more acclaimed Will Venable or Kyle Blanks.

Prospect Watch: Catcher Eliezer Alonso hit .328/.339/.623 with a grand total of one walk in 62 plate appearances. He also finished second on the team with five home runs and 13 RBI. Brett Dowdy jumped between second, third and the outfield while hitting .282/.322/.400. Long time Padres farmhand Craig Stansberry also put up some nice numbers hitting .321/.400/.585 also playing all over the infield.

Disappointments: Matt Antonelli had another tough month, hitting .152/.222/.197 with three extra base hits in 72 plate appearances.

San Antonio Missions
Mike Baxter

How do you have a .617 slugging percentage when you only hit one home run? Baxter hit 17, yes that is correct, 17 doubles in 28 games to go along with 11/20 BB/K ratio and tied for the team lead in RBI with 26. The versatile Baxter is a left-handed hitter that can play all three outfield positions, first, and is an emergency catcher.

Prospect Watch: Craig Cooper continues to pound the Texas League pitching, hitting 377/.450/.535 and leading the team in home runs (4) and tied Baxter for the lead in RBI. Luis Durango continues to hit and draw walks at .355/.452/.393. Durango led the team in walks with 18, the only negative is that his stolen base/caught stealing ratio was high this month, being thrown out nine times in 21 attempts. Cedric Hunter rebounded from a tough April, hitting .298/.319/.351, but had only six extra base hits in 118 plate appearances and four walks. Seth Johnston, .284/.388/.409, and backup catcher/first baseman Michael Collins, .306/.405/.583, rebounded from tough Aprils with solid performances.

Disappointments: Kellen Kulbacki had his typical rough first month after coming off an injury, hitting .155/.234/.190. We'll see if June is also his typical rebound month.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Logan Forsythe

With the exception of some defensive problems on the notoriously tough Diamond infield, it's hard to find a more complete player than Forsythe. He had a 27/18 BB/K ratio, is leading the Cal League in OBP at .481 and his slugging percentage went up by nearly 50 points from April to May. Remember, with the exception of 12 games last year, this is his first year as a professional.

Prospect Watch: Brad Chalk continues to insert himself into the Padres' center field prospect line, hitting .331/.376/.476 and was a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts. While he didn't have any home runs, Chalk was second on the Storm in extra base hits with 12, six of which were triples. Everyone knows what shortstop Beemer Weems can do with his glove, but his bat continues to surprise with a .300/.470/.380 line. The switch-hitting Weems only had one extra base hit in 64 plate appearances but at the end of May was second in the Cal League in on-base percentage at .462. Yefri Carvajal, .270/.333/.451, and Felix Carrasco, .270/.343/.483, put up solid offensive numbers but were a little scary in the field; each with seven errors, which is difficult to do in right field and first base. Catcher Luis Martinez continues to go behind the dish everyday and also produces with his bat at .352/.432/.535, tying for the team lead in doubles with 10 and a very good 9/9 BB/K ratio. Lance Zawadzki had 14 extra-base hits to lead the Storm, finishing off with a .254/.331/.500 line before his promotion to San Antonio at the end of the month.

Disappointments: Danny Payne .176/.386/.294. The on-base percentage was good, but the rest of the numbers aren't for the former Georgia Tech star, a Padres' first-round supplemental pick in 2007.

Fort Wayne TinCaps
Jaff Decker

Decker may be the Padres best teenage prospect in a very long time, as he continues to demonstrate his advance understanding of hitting. His extra-base hits ratio to strikeouts was 11/19 and he finished second to Allan Dykstra in walks with 25. He tied for the lead in home runs with six and runs with 19. Decker also stole four bases in six attempts. His only miscue was that he made his first error of the season in left.

Prospect Watch: The TinCaps can flat out hit, as the team finished at .277/.378/.432. Drew Cumberland was again coming off of an injury, but when he is healthy; wow. Cumberland hit .420/.482/.480 with five stolen bases in five attempts and only one error in 11 games at shortstop. Third baseman James Darnell continues to add to the team's deep draft in 2008, hitting .308/.442/.452 with a BB/K ratio of 24/28. Former LSU slugger Matt Clark showed some pop, leading the team in extra base hits with 18, six of them went over the fence as he hit .269/.363/.546. Dan Robertson, the MVP of the Northwest League in '07, bounced back from a bad April to hit .373/.463/.552. First-round pick Allan Dykstra hasn't shown the power or average the team has expected, but he continues to find ways to get on base at .232/.432/.418, but he tacked on over 200 points to his OPS from last month. Sawyer Carroll rebounded from a tough April and improved his OPS by nearly 300 points, hitting .350/.421/.470.

Disappointments: Blake Tekotte was thought to be the one of the better outfield prospects in the system but has struggled for the second consecutive month, hitting .202/.250/.303 with five extra base hits in 116 plate appearances.

Player of the Month: Mike Baxter

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