DSL Padres Pitcher of the Year

Summary: This year's team featured a lot of raw arms that are still working their way through command issues but present a significant amount of upside.

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 of not what the players did this year, but their age and ability to improve.

Level: The Dominican Summer League is where many Latin American players get their first taste of professional baseball. Games are played during the day and this year featured realignment within the divisions, adding a bigger rotation of teams.

Savage Sub-Rosa

Pitcher of the Year:
Esteban Javier
1-2, 3.25 ERA
Left-handed starter

Javier, a left-hander out of the Dominican Republic, spent the majority of the year in the pen as a long man before getting two starts down the stretch. A strike thrower that averaged a strikeout per inning, the left-hander allowed just 26 hits in 36 innings and was terrific with men on base, stranding 16-of-20 inherited runners while holding the opposition to a .150 average. With a solid two-seam fastball, he gets his share of ground balls. He could debut stateside next year at 21.

Runner-up:
Jeury Castillo
2-1, 3.15 ERA
Right-handed starter

A right-hander that split time between the rotation and the bullpen, Castillo was the most consistent pitcher on the roster. He did not allow more than two runs in any outing, working at least four frames in five of his 14 appearances. He held the opposition to a .234 average and limited opponents to nine hits in 65 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Conniff Confidential

Pitcher of the Year:
Esteban Javier
1-2, 3.25 ERA
Left-handed starter

Another thin young left-hander at 6-foot-1 and 155-pounds, he struck out 36 batters in 36 innings against only 13 walks and 26 hits. Additionally, he allowed only 13 earned runs, which was tied for the least among pitchers that threw over 30 innings and held batters to a .200 batting average. Javier was used mainly as a relief pitcher this year, making only two starts.

Runner-up:
Pedro Martinez
2-3 4.95 ERA
Left-handed starter

Watching Martinez, 19, and Javier enter a room must be similar to watching Laurel and Hardy in the 1930's. Although both are lefties, Martinez weighs in around 6-foot-3, 251-pounds. This year, he struck out 47 in 40 innings pitched against only 20 walks and 33 hits while holding batters to a .216 average.

Others of Note: Left-hander Juan Herrera took a step backwards this season. Blessed with a terrific arm, his maturity has been called into question and his command got worse as the season ripened. Severino Perez has the arm but can't seem to stay on the field long enough to give the Padres a sense of his true potential. Amaury Ceren has command of two pitches but needs to add weight to a skinny frame that could add 50 pounds and still leave room for growth.

Manager's Comments: "Castillo is very aggressive. He always attacks the zone and attacks the hitters." – Evaristo Lantigua on Jeury Castillo.

Top Prospect: Pedro Martinez

The left-hander still lacks pristine control, but he throws in the low-90s and took another step forward this season as an 18-year-old. Fastball command, particularly down in the zone, will need to improve, as he will go deep into counts. He has a terrific changeup and his curveball continues to improve. Martinez misses a lot of bats but the bouts of wildness can be the difference between a good outing and a poor one. Pitch sequencing will also be vital to his development.

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