Padres Prospects August Pitchers of the Month

The San Antonio Missions posted the top ERA in August while the Fort Wayne TinCaps racked up the strikeouts. The AZL Padres limited the opposition to the lowest batting average while the Portland Beavers and Eugene Emeralds notched 27 rally killers apiece. Who won individual honors? John Conniff finds the hidden gems.

Portland Beavers
Wade LeBlanc
2-1, 3.23 ERA

By this time, all of us know that LeBlanc can pitch in the minors, it's whether he do it on the major league level is the question. The organization appears split between those who have seen him pitch quite a bit in the minors who believe it's all a question of confidence with LeBlanc and others who have mainly seen him on the big league level and are unsure if he has the "stuff" for the big leagues. In August, he had a 25/6 K/BB ratio, allowed 24 hits in 30.2 innings pitched and only 11 runs in five starts. LeBlanc, who was also the pitcher of the month in July, has little left to prove in the minors and how well he performs in San Diego in September could determine his future.

Others of Note: Josh Banks averaged nearly seven innings an outing and allowed slightly over three runs a start with a 29/7 K/BB ratio. He was hittable, allowing 49 hits in 47 innings and is going to have to do better to shed the "4A" tag.

Disappointments: Aaron Poreda was a major component of the Jake Peavy trade and had problems finding the strike zone, issuing 29 walks in 27.1 innings against only 22 strikeouts to go along with an 0-3 record and 7.57 ERA. Josh Geer also had some rough outings with a 1-3 record and 5.34 ERA, giving up a team high five home runs this month.

San Antonio Missions
Will Inman
2-3, 3.72 ERA

After being demoted from Portland, Inman came back and put together a solid month, averaging six innings an outing with a 20/8 K/BB ratio and allowing 33 hits in 36.1 innings. Inman has talent, with him its all abut finding the consistent mechanics.

Prospect Watch: The only negative with relief pitcher Mike DeMark is a few too many walks, allowing five in 10 innings against eight strikeouts and a 2.78 ERA. Despite going 1-3 with a 4.80 ERA, Ernesto Frieri had some interesting peripheral statistics, striking out 28 in 30 innings and only allowing 16 earned runs in six starts, what hurt him was allowing 14 walks.

Disappointments: Corey Kluber walked 20 in 22 innings against only 15 strikeouts for a 1-3 record with a 6.95 ERA.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Wynn Pelzer
2-2, 3.72 ERA

Pelzer had a strong IP/hits ratio at 29/22, but walked a few too many with a 24/16 K/BB ratio. Still he averaged nearly six innings a start and averaged slightly over two runs an outing. Everyone who watches him on a regular basis is very high on him, as he is still relatively new to pitching, being a converted catcher from high school.

Prospect Watch: Aaron Breit has always had a world of talent and continued to improve. Although his K/BB ratio wasn't good at 15/12, he only allowed eight earned runs in five starts for a 2-0 record and 2.48 ERA. What is becoming apparent is Breit may finally becoming more of a pitcher than a thrower. Colt Hynes struck out 15 in 18.1 innings of relief against no strikeouts. Relief pitcher Craig Italiano, one of the pitchers that came over in the Scott Hairston trade, struck out 18 against two walks in 11.1 innings, holding batters to a .205 batting average.

Disappointments: Padres' 2007 first round pick Nick Schmidt was hammered with a 0-4 record and 12.86 ERA as Cal League batters hit .471, yes, .471 against him across four starts.

Fort Wayne TinCaps
Alexis Lara
1-0, 0.77 ERA
RHP/Relief Pitcher

Lara was unbelievable out of the pen, striking out 17 in 11.2 innings pitched against only two hits and three walks for an 0.77 ERA. He gave up one earned run for the month, as batters hit .057 against him.

Prospect Watch: Erik Davis struck out 35 batters in 32.2 innings against only 12 walks, holding Midwest League batters to a .223 average. He went 5-1 with a 3.31 ERA as he only allowed two earned runs a start. RHP Simon Castro went 3-2 with a 3.52 ERA, striking out 29 in 30.2 innings against only seven walks. Relief pitcher Rob Musgrave was very tough out of the bullpen striking out 28 in 16.2 innings against only three walks. He only gave up four earned runs, two of them off of home runs as batters only hit .207 against him.

Disappointments: Big right-hander Dexter Carter, another industrial size pitcher that came over in the Peavy trade, struggled in his first month in the Padres' system with a 1-4 record and 12.86 ERA. He allowed 34 hits in 21 innings against 15 walks as batters hit .370 against him.

Eugene Emeralds
Chris Fetter
1-0, 0.00 ERA

In 18 innings, Fetter didn't allow a single run as he struck out 30 against only three walks before being sent back to Fort Wayne. Another very tall pitcher (6'8") out of the University of Michigan, batters hit .113 off of him as he was 6-for-7 in save opportunities, bouncing between starting and closing.

Prospect Watch: After struggling in July, Jerry Sullivan, the Padres third-round pick in the 2009 draft out of Oral Roberts, put together a nice month with a 2-0 record and 3.54 ERA. Sullivan struck out 34 against 13 walks and only allowed 20 hits in 28 innings. He gave up under two runs a start and held batters to a .192 average. Nick Greenwood has pitched well all year and the organization has moved him to the bullpen to limit his innings. Greenwood notched five saves in six opportunities, as he finished the month with a 1.37 ERA, striking out 13 against only five walks in 19.2 innings.

Disappointments: Matt Jackson struggled with a 0-4 record and 7.48 ERA as NWL batters hit .330 against him.

Arizona Rookie League Padres
Pedro Hernandez
3-0, 3.76 ERA
LHP/Starting Pitcher

Hernandez led the AZL Padres in innings pitched with 26.1 and only allowed a single walk all month against 27 strikeouts. The stocky Venezuelan (5'10", 200 lbs.) held batters to a .248 average and only gave up 11 earned runs in five starts.

Prospect Watch: James Needy out of Santana High School pitched well in his first full month of pro ball, going 1-1 with a 2.65 ERA. Needy struck out 13 in 17 innings against only five walks in the Arizona heat. Adys Portillo continues to get the punchouts with 20 in 20.1 innings, but catches too much of the plate, allowing 27 hits as batters hit .318 against him; but again it important to remember he is only 17, a high school junior. Rafeal Arias struck out 19 in 17.1 innings pitched against only three walks for a 2-0 record and 1.56 ERA. Finally, the Padres let fourth-round pick Keyvius Sampson into a couple games. Over three innings, he gave up only one hit against three strikeouts and no walks. We'll be talking about him more in the future.

Disappointments: None.

DSL Padres
Amaury Ceren
0-2. 0.56 ERA
RHP/Relief and SP

Ceren was a hard luck loser in two games but over 16 innings he yielded just one earned run. The right-hander posted a 13/2 strikeout/BB ratio while netting two double play grounders. The opposition hit .259 off him and he earned the DSL Padres only save of the month.

Prospect Watch: Freddys Henrique posted a 2.77 ERA across 13 frames, striking out 16 while not issuing a walk. Pedro Martinez struck out 20 in 12.2 innings but also gave up 10 runs, unable to avoid the big inning. Esteban Javier gave up four runs in 11.1 innings, earning one of the DSL Padres four wins in the month.

Disappointments: Juan Herrerra worked just 2.1 innings, giving up four runs on six walks and two hits. Francisco Flores went 0-3 with a 13.50 ERA, giving up 14 runs in eight innings. Eugenio Reyes saw the opposition hit .356 off him, giving up 16 hits and seven walks in 10.2 innings.

PItcher of the Month: Alexis Lara

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