Lake Elsinore, CA: Recent thoughts, opinions and observations from the Diamond in Lake Elsinore, including a move of one player to the mound.
Dave Rajsich, a.k.a. "Razor" has been giving tentative pitching lessons to outfielder Yefri Carvajal on the mound while he is on the disabled list. Carvajal has always had a powerful arm but still has yet to hit consistently on any level. Initial reports are he is very raw, but the velocity is there.
Outfielder Jaff Decker's overall numbers may not be what everyone is expecting from a top prospect, but his game has improved since last year.
Decker sat out nearly all of spring training and the first six weeks of the season before returning from a hamstring injury and struggling in his first fifty at-bats. Throw in the fact that the Padres' have made major changes in his swing (he no longer has an open stance, but closed with less movement), which has added power, enabling him to drive the ball to left, and he is doing fine; especially when looking at his numbers in June and July where he had an OPS of .872 and .852.
Decker has also been able to maintain his fitness level that he reached in spring training and is getting to more balls in the outfield and is even bunting now to get on base.
He can play, and if he stays healthy, look for a big season in San Antonio in 2011.
First baseman/designated hitter Allan Dykstra, a whipping boy of failed Padres' first round picks on various blogs and talk radio, is having a better year than most give him credit for. While the batting average is obviously disappointing, his on-base and slugging percentage is not.
His OPS in April was .547, May .806, June .853, July .921 and for August it is 1.150.
In this category, maybe the most important from an offensive standpoint, he is among the team leaders and looks much more relaxed at the plate as compared to last year.
Closer Brad Brach is fun to watch pitch, but you better pay attention. Brach pitches the way that he talks, fast and with little wasted effort. His pitches sit in the low-90s, but what makes him successful is the ability to consistently hit the outside corner early in the count where the batter usually has a choice of either taking strike one or rolling out on an easy grounder to the opposite side.
Once he gets ahead, he has a splitter that drops straight down. Razor said that he is the best closer that he has had in his 20-plus years as a pitching coach.
With the exception of Jeremy Mcbryde, who appears to be nearly all the way back from his back problems, most of the staff is on a very limited innings count. The Storm have recently moved Rob Musgrave back into the rotation so he may go a little deeper into games than either Anthony Bass or Nick Schmidt.
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