Players of the Month: June

The Double-A and High-A squads saw some of the hottest hitters in the system scorch the ball at a record pace. John Conniff looks through the hitting mania to find the top batter at each level during the month of June.

Portland Beavers Position: C/1B
Chris Stewart

Stewart signed a minor league contract with the Padres from the Yankees organization this past winter and has supplanted Eric Munson and Dusty Ryan as the Beavers everyday catcher. Eleven of his 27 hits were for extra-bases and he posted a 8/9 BB/K ratio.

Prospect Watch: Mike Baxter keeps up his steady production with a .288/.342/.481 line. The versatile Baxter tied for the team lead in hits, was second in extra-base hits and led in home runs and RBI, as he makes a strong push for a September call-up. After a tough April, Lance Zawadzki returned to his normal self, hitting .286/.306/.400. Also, Sean Kazmar continues with a good rebound season, hitting .300/.343/.390. If Kazmar can continue to show that he can put the ball in play and get on base, his glove could find a spot for him on a major league roster.

Disappointments: Luis Durango had a tough month, hitting .233/.309/.301 but was successful in 7-of-10 stolen base attempts.

San Antonio Missions
Position: CF
Cedric Hunter

Before being promoted to Portland, Hunter was having his best month with a 13/5 BB/K ratio with eight of his 30 hits going for extra-bases along with playing flawless defense. The only downside of his month was being caught stealing three times in five attempts but he has come a very long way since last summer.

Prospect Watch: The organization has put Michael Collins at three different levels this season, Portland, San Antonio and Lake Elsinore, and he has hit at all three when given a chance. This month he hit .355/.403/.548 in 66 plate appearances. Sawyer Carroll hit for average at .293 but his secondary numbers, .343 OBP and .348 slugging percentage were not as strong with only four extra-base hits in 99 plate appearances. Logan Forsythe was an on-base machine at .405, but had trouble making solid contact with a .258 batting average and a .269 slugging percentage.

Disappointments: James Darnell was limited to only 51 plate appearances but still performed far beneath what most pundits predicted for him this season coming in a .205/.314/.295.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Position: 2B/SS
Cole Figueroa

When people first watch Figueroa the first thing they always notices is his defense, particularly his range. However, Figueroa can also really hit and does everything well on diamond. He had a 22/6 K/BB ratio and eight of this 30 hits were for extra bases to go along with being successful in 5-of-6 stolen base attempts in 103 plate appearances and could be the most underrated prospect in the system. A 47-game on base streak ended on June 16.

Prospect Watch: Before being promoted, Drew Cumberland was hitting .350/.373/.450 and because of his speed and athletic ability may be one of the Padres' most exciting prospects. The big question on Robert Lara has always been his bat, because he probably is the system's best defensive catcher, and this year, his bat is catching up with a .345/.387/.535 line in June. After a tough first couple of weeks, the Jaff Decker that we all know returned with a .282/.372/.500 with nine of his 22 hits going for extra-bases and a 12/19 BB/K ratio. Allan Dykstra had his best month, hitting .263/.432/.421. although the organization would like to see a little more power from him.

Disappointments: Cody Decker had a tough month, hitting .179/.256/.372 with 26 strikeouts in 87 plate appearances.

Fort Wayne TinCaps
Position: 1B
Nate Freiman

Freiman has been the anchor of the TinCaps lineup all season, and while June was not his best month, it is typical of what he has done all season, giving his team a quality at-bats. Fourteen of his 29 hits were for extra-bases along with a 10/18 BB/K ratio which is very good for a 6-foot-8 power hitter and was second on the team in runs scored with 16.

Prospect Watch: Jason Hagerty barely missed being the player of the month with a .254/.393/.465. Hagerty led the team in home runs and RBI this month along with a 15/16 BB/K ratio. He reached base in every game he played in during June. Jonathan Galvez had some problems in the field with five errors in 20 games, but the bat appears to be real with a .288/.369/.465 line. Edinson Rincon has also struggled in the field but his bat is also playing in the Midwest League at .326/.382/.500, leading the team in hits with 30 and OBP.

Disappointments: Danny Payne was a supplemental first-round draft pick in 2007 but has struggled with injuries throughout his career. This month, he hit .230/.343/.356.

DSL Padres
Position: OF
Yoan Alcantara

The outfielder, a July 2 sign from 2009, hit .295 for the month with 10 extra-base hits, including five homers, while leading the team with 18 runs scored and 17 RBI. He also drew seven walks for a .378 on-base percentage. Alcantara has a live body that possesses a plus arm, tremendous bat speed and blossoming power.

Prospect Watch: Gabriel Quintana has proven to have a mighty stick, hitting .293 with nine doubles. He also swiped five bags. Quintana strikes out too much (3- in 92 at-bats) and must find a position after making 15 errors in 19 games at third base. Albert Martinez notched a hit in all eight of his games played with a 6-to-4 walk-to-strikeout ratio.

Disappointments: Jacob Beltre, signed cheaply after originally demanding a huge bonus, hit jst .148 in 27 at-bats. Fabel Filpo managed to hit .165 across 79 at-bats. Ariel Familia was 9-for-52 but did draw 12 walks for a .326 on-base percentage. Jairo Gomez posted a .258 on-base percentage in 16 games.

MadFriars Player of the Month: Cole Figueroa

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