Padres Prospects: May Pitchers of the Month

The San Antonio Missions pitching staff led the way in ERA and average against while three of the four teams posted winning records. The Lake Elsinore Storm staff issued the fewest walks and fewest homers. But who took the individual honors? John Conniff sorts through the arms race.

Portland Beavers
Mike Ekstrom
1-0, 1.53 ERA

Ekstrom put up a nice K/BB ratio of 12/4, allowing 11 hits in 17.2 innings pitched as PCL batters hit a measly .196 against him. Although he is not on the current 40-man roster, things can change and in September of last year he did show some ability.

Prospect Watch: There isn't much to get excited about, although Will Inman did show some promise in his two starts this month with a 13/3 K/BB ratio but caught a little too much of the plate in allowing four home runs in 11.2 innings. Left-hander Cesar Ramos may be the best pitcher this season with a 2-3 record and 3.51 ERA. As always, the peripheral numbers aren't that impressive, K/BB ratio of 19/13, but he is allowing less hits than innings pitched, 33.1/32.

Disappointments: Matt Buschmann had a tough month, going 1-3 with a 7.92 ERA, allowing 44 hits in 30.2 innings, as PCL batters hit .346 against him.

San Antonio Missions
Will Inman
3-0, 2.13 ERA

Last year he led the Texas League in strikeouts but also walks. A big goal going into the season was to become more efficient and show he could manage a game well enough to remain a starter. In four starts this month, he averaged a little over six innings an outing, striking out 19 in 25.1 innings pitched against only five walks and 12 hits. That was good enough for San Diego, which promoted him midway through the month.

Prospect Watch: It's slow, but former number one pick Cesar Carrillo is finally starting to come back from Tommy John surgery. Although a 1-2 record with a 4.58 ERA isn't anything to get too excited about, he had a solid 20/9 K/BB ratio and a very good hits/innings pitched ratio of 31/37.1. On May 18, he had his best outing ever, allowing one hit and no runs over seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk. Ernesto Frieri was 4-1 with a 3.91 ERA, a 24/12 K/BB ratio, and allowed 19 hits in 25.1 innings, as Texas League batters hit .198 against him. Mike DeMark is back at it again. Last year's Pitcher of the Year did not allow an earned run in 12.1 innings pitched while striking out 14 against only six hits. The only blemish may be a slightly high walk number with six. Closer Evan Scribner was 5-for-6 in save opportunities and went 3-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings with an outstanding 13/1 K/BB ratio.

Disappointments: Stephen Faris had a brutal month, going 0-5 in six starts as batters hit .327 against him, and he allowed a team high 28 earned runs.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Jeremy McBryde
4-0, 2.75 ERA

Last year, McBryde posted some incredible K/BB ratios but also allowed a ton of hits, as he was unable/unwilling to throw his changeup more to keep batters off balance. This year, things have changed. McBryde is changing speeds more and he is emerging as one of the better pitchers in San Diego's system. He struck out 35 batters in 39.1 innings, as he averaged nearly seven innings an outing against only 11 walks and 32 hits. In the hitter-friendly Cal League, batters could only muster a .224 average against him. To beat him, you pretty much need to hit the ball out of the park, as six of his 12 earned runs were the result of home runs.

Prospect Watch: Cory Luebke had a great month, going 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA, with a 30/7 K/BB ratio and allowing 33 hits in 37.1 innings. Wynn Pelzer continues to impress with a 34/9 K/BB ratio and also allowing less hits than innings pitched, 29.2/27. Closer Bryan Oland may be the best in the system; he went 7-for-7 in save opportunities with a 0.75 ERA and a 14/3 BB/K ratio.

Disappointments: Allen Harrington struggled in long relief with a 9.26 ERA, allowing 22 hits in 11.2 innings, as Cal League batters teed off at a .407 clip.

Fort Wayne TinCaps
Mat Latos
3-0, 0.36 ERA

After being held out of the first month of the season with a sprained ankle, Mat Latos returned and showed why he may be the brightest Padres' pitching prospect in a long time. Posting a 27/3 K/BB ratio and allowing only 10 hits in 25.1 innings, he simply blew away the Midwest League with batters only hitting .150 against him. Because of his dominance, the Padres accelerated their plans for him and skipped a level to put him in Double-A San Antonio.

Prospect Watch: Right-hander Simon Castro keeps coming, although he went 2-2 with a 4.41 ERA, but struck out 31 in 30.2 innings against only eight walks and 27 hits. In three starts, Nick Schmidt was 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA with a 17/7 K/BB ratio. Former starter and late round draft pick Brad Brach continues to settle into his closer's role, saving 8-of-9 with a 1.93 ERA. Brach struck out 22 batters in only 14 innings. This season in 49 at-bats in the first two months, right-handed hitters are batting .082 against him.

Disappointments: Rob Musgrave went 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA, allowing 33 hits in 21.1 innings, as batters hit .344 against him.

Pitcher of the Month: Mat Latos

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