Pitcher of the Month: June

Two closers have impressive months while three starters, including two lefties, figure prominently in their respective leagues. John Conniff looks at them all with his subjective eye, looking for a pitcher to crown above them all within the San Diego Padres system.

Portland Beavers
Right-handed closer
Ernesto Frieri
1-0, O.OO ERA

The Beavers are not a great team, but Frieri made the most of his opportunities to close as he was 6-for-6. He struck out eight against three walks in 10.2 IP, as PCL batters were only able to manage a .088 batting average against him. If the Padres do make a move from their major league bullpen, he is the best candidate to get the call right now.

Prospect Watch: The strongest part of the Beavers team is their bullpen and Mike DeMark rebounded from a tough May to put together a more normal month for him with a 1.38 ERA and a 13/3 K/BB ratio in 13 IP, as PCL batters hit .182 against him. Luis Perdomo was 1-0 with a 0.93 ERA and struck out 14 in 19 IP against only five walks. The starters struggled this month winning a grand total of five games, and Josh Geer won four of them for a 4-1 mark but also had a 5.56 ERA as opposing batters hit .343 against him.

Disappointments: After a strong May, Cesar Carrillo had a rough May with an 0-3 record and 8.46 ERA giving up 35 hits in 22.1 IP along with 13 BB.

San Antonio Missions
Left-handed starter
Cory Luebke
4-0, 1.89 ERA

Luebke allowed only eight earned runs in six starts to go along with a 27/6 K/BB ratio and averaged over six IP per outing as Texas League batters could only manage a paltry .200 average against him.

Prospect Watch: Simon Castro continues to put up good numbers at 2-0 and a 3.24 ERA but has also only went past five innings once since May 2. He still struck out 27 batters in 25 IP against only 10 walks. Jeremy Hefner went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA, only giving up eight earned runs in 34.2 IP. Evan Scribner had an 0-2 record but was more a victim of some tough breaks as he posted an ERA of 0.73, striking out 12 batters in 12.1 IP against only eight hits and one walk. Craig Italiano continues to impress with an ERA of 0.75 and was 7-for-8 in save opportunities along with a 2-0 record. The only odd part about his numbers was his control as he walked more, 10, than he struck out, 9, but batters could still only hit .146 against him.

Disappointments: Wynn Pelzer had a tough month, going 1-4 with a 5.04 ERA as his command deserted him with a K/BB ratio of 23/16 which gave him a WHIP of 2.16 and allowed a very uncharacteristic 14 earned runs.

Lake Elsinore Storm
Right-handed closer
Brad Brach
1-0, 3.18 ERA

Brach is everything you want in a closer, fast, efficient and nearly automatic. In two years with the organization, the 6'5" 42nd round pick out of Monmouth University in New Jersey has saved 60-of-62 games between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore. This month he was 8-for-8 in save opportunities and struck out 12 in 11.1 IP against no walks. He allowed two home runs but Cal League batters were still only able to hit .214 against him.

Prospect Watch: Juan Oramas continues to roll with a 3-0 record and 1.50 ERA as both a starter and reliever. Oramas struck out 20 against only two walks in 18 IP, as Cal League batters only hit .194 against him. The Padres are being pretty tight with Anthony Bass' innings but he still put up a 3-0 record with a 2.40 ERA, starting three games and going five innings in each outing. He had a K/BB ratio of 13/3 and only allowed four earned runs in his three starts. Last year, Zach Herr was the set-up man that allowed Brach to put up his numbers, and this month, he put in another solid performance with a 2-0 record and 1.88 ERA. Her struck out 16 in 14.1 IP against seven walks and seven hits. Erik Davis was 2-2 with a 3.54 ERA with a 17/7 K/BB ratio.

Disappointments: Nick Schmidt, a first rounder in '08, was 1-5 with a 5.70 ERA with none of his last three starts going past three innings.

Fort Wayne TinCaps
Left-handed starter
Michael Watt
2-1, 2.12 ERA

Watt was the primary target of the Greg Maddux trade a few years ago with the Dodgers and had his best month in the system striking out 29 against only five walks in 34 IP. Watt led the TinCaps in innings pitched and strikeouts. He gave up only 23 hits, with only one of them leaving the park as Midwest League batters were held to a .187 batting average against him.

Prospect Watch: Jose DePaula was 2-1 with 2.29 ERA striking out 21 against six walks and 11 hits in 19.2 IP. Jerry Sullivan left a few too many balls over the plate, coming in with a 4.58 ERA but still posted a 2-1 record with a 17/3 K/BB ratio.

Disappointments: Hayden Beard had a tough time out of the bullpen with a 0-1 record and 12.41 ERA giving up 17 earned runs in 12.1 innings pitched.

DSL Padres
Right-handed starter
Jean Corpas
1-2, 2.08 ERA

The Panamanian finished up the month allowing two runs over his final 14 innings of work, including a complete game shutout over six frames. He yielded 14 hits and three walks across 21.2 innings, limiting the opposition to a .182 average against. A heady pitcher that hits 90-91 mph, Corpas throws three pitches for strikes and has command of his fastball down in the zone.

Prospect Watch: Bryan Rodriguez posted a 3.79 ERA across 19 innings and was 2-1. Ruben Mejia posted a 2.33 ERA and 2-1 record but allowed more hits (21) than innings pitched (19.1). Vladimir De La Cruz did not allowed a run in 4.2 innings of action, yielding just one hit and striking out four.

Disappointments: Ivan Marcano was on the hook for nine runs, all earned, on five hits and 11 walks. Rudi Andujar walked 16 and hit five batters across 12.1 innings, posting a 9.49 ERA.

MadFriars Pitcher of the Month: Cory Luebke

Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards

Join on Twitter at

MadFriars Top Stories