Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Week in Review #3

I've been on the road since late last week doing amateur coverage on the East Coast, so I'm once again delinquent with my week in review. Quite frankly, it wasn't a great week to review anyway.

Hitting
Overall, we were 2-5 since I last wrote. Offensively, we hit .258/.321/.395 as a team, which isn't too bad, but we reached the critical four run threshold just three times (going 2-1 in those games). For the season we're 10th out of 16 in the NL in runs scored and have a 103 OPS+ (100 is the baseline and anything above 100 is above average). Both of those marks are fine, but we think we can do better.

Pitching
Our pitching had a tough week. As a team we posted a 6.36 ERA pushing the season total from a 3.83 to a 4.74 overall. That isn't going to cut it in the long run. We did keep our opponents under four runs three times (2-1 in those games), but we didn't do a good enough job in the other games to give our offense much of a chance.

Our bullpen has been quite strong, despite a few lapses, with Bell, Meredith, Gregerson, Moreno, and Mujica combining for a 3.10 ERA so far. Bell, obviously, has been outstanding, and if the rest of the young guys can continue to settle in, we like the depth there.

Roster/Injuries
We made a couple of roster moves this week, designating both RHR Eulogio DeLaCruz and RHR Mike Ekstrom for assignment in order to make room for LHR Arturo Lopez and RHS Chad Gaudin. Though we haven't had a lefty in our pen so far this season, that wasn't the sole reason for bringing up Arturo. He had a great spring this year and continued that performance into the first few weeks for Portland striking out 15 in 14.1 innings of work. We signed Gaudin in order to build him up as a starter after the Cubs released him at the end of spring training hoping that he might be ready by early May. He made two appearances in Portland without yielding a run and when we needed him earlier than anticipated, he did the same for the Major League club last night in Colorado.

Overall, injuries have become an issue for us early in the season. We currently have seven guys on the DL (already 129 DL days as a team and we're not even out of April), all of whom have either been on the team or were expected to be on the team except for Mike Adams. We knew we were taking risks with a couple of the guys due to injury history, but we've also run into some bad luck especially in our rotation. Fortunately, Cha Seung Baek started a rehab assignment last night in single A, and Mike Adams is feeling good and appears to be ahead of schedule.

Minor Leagues
Portland (11-9) - Kyle Blanks continues to pace the Beavers with a .319/.430/.528 batting line and just hit his fourth homer of the season last night. Between stints on the ML club, Drew Macias has hit .321/.446/.453 in AAA while also registering more walks than strikeouts. After yielding a run in his first appearance of the season, Greg Burke has thrown up nothing but zeros en route to a 0.90 ERA. Even better, Joe Thatcher is still sporting a perfect 0.00 ERA after 8.2 innings.

San Antonio (8-10) - Mitch Canham, Craig Cooper, and Eric Sogard still lead the offensive charge for the Missions, while Cooper's 26 hits are good for the Texas League lead. Luis Durango also is leading the Texas League in his category of choice - stolen bases. On the mound Stephen Faris has a 1.99 ERA while also pitching the 2nd most innings in the league, and Evan Scribner, the reliever acquired last season for Tony Clark, has a 1.04 ERA, striking out 11 hitters in 8.2 innings.

Lake Elsinore (10-9) - In his first stint with a full-season club last year in Ft. Wayne, 1B Felix Carrasco banged 16 homers, though he also struck out 162 times in 450 plate appearances. This year, however, Felix has maintained his power numbers while cutting his k rate by an outstanding 33%. All told he's hitting .286/.416/.444 for the Storm. A supplemental pick in last year's draft, Logan Forsythe continues his hot start as he's reached base in all 17 games he's played while compiling a .323/.455/.484 line. The rotation is still the big story in Elsinore as the five starters (Hefner, Kluber, Luebke, McBryde, and Pelzer) have ERA's ranging from 2.35 to 3.86 and have combined to strike out 106 batters in 89.1 innings compared to just 23 walks - all this in the hitter-friendly Cal League. In the bullpen, Bryan Oland has been stellar racking up six saves and striking out 14 batters in 11 innings.

Fort Wayne (14-4) - Yes, they finally lost a game, but Ft Wayne continues to play well. After a handful of games in extended spring training, we activated OF Jaff Decker this week and he is hitting .250/.429/.563 through his first five games. Reliever Brad Brach has five saves already but more impressively has allowed just one baserunner in his eight innings on the mound.

Like I stated at the beginning, this wasn't our best week. Nevertheless, we're 11-9 to start the season with a schedule that has included a bi-coastal three city road trip and opponents like the Dodgers, Giants, Mets, Phillies, and the surprising Pirates. It doesn't get much easier this week as we get four more with the Dodgers starting tomorrow and no off-days in site. Fortunately, after that we get to play 13 of our next 19 games at Petco, so if we can stay away from more DL time it could be a nice stretch.

18 comments:

Peter said...

DePo,

LOVE the blog! I do a nightly Padres MiLB review on my blog, PadresRunDown. Can I get some love in your links?

http://padresrundown.blogspot.com

hector said...

What I see is a .500 team that could get lucky once reinforcements come like a healthy Mike Adams, and Mike Prior.

I would love to see Edwin Moreno be sent to the minors so he can work on a 3rd pitch. I like his stuff, but he needs another pitch.

Will you do a draft preview here?

field39 said...

Hello Paul,

Ugly question time:

How much time do you give to a struggling veteran in the last year of his contract? You drew the line with Edmonds at 103 plate appearances.

Paul DePodesta said...

field39,

Ugly question, but fair question.

Edmonds was a very different case in that he had four years of declining performance when we acquired him. We were aware of that but were also aware that he had been playing with injuries in 2007. We were hopeful that though we weren't expecting his 1.000 ops days, he might return to his 2006 form (820 ops). Of course, after we did release him he has a .937 ops for the Cubs, which reverted all the way back to his 2005 form!

Our guy on the other hand, has shown absolutely no signs of a decline over the past four years.

hector said...

Can the batting coach fine Giles for swinging at the first pitch? Or get creative with an injury and just send him to the minors on a rehab assignment for a couple of weeks.

Spunky said...

Paul,

Thanks for this blog... some great stuff, and good to hear some of the cutting edge thinking going on in the front office.

Knowing little more than what I've learned watching baseball for the last 30 years, it sure looks to me like Kouzmanoff lacks a timing element to his swing. He has an extremely quick trigger, but he often seems out of sync, with his bat getting through the zone too quickly. When he gets in tune, it's a beautiful thing to watch, but it's enormously frustrating at times, too..

Anyway, my question is... Have you ever seen a hitter and hitting coach work together to go back to the drawing board on the hitter's swing? Has it been successful with someone who has Kouz's talent? Or, by the time they get to the big leagues, are hitters reluctant to change because their recipe is the one that got them to the show?

thanks,
David

Danny said...

You'll never win the close games when your best pitcher is sitting on the bench in the bottom of the 9th of a tie game and the guy on the mound is struggling.

The Padres are still losing by the book. Thought you were supposed to be the smart guys in baseball.

field39 said...

Nick Schmidt back on the DL.....

Say it aint so Joe.

Paul R. said...

Peter provides great coverage and analysis of Padres prospects over at Padres Run Down-he certainly deserves a spot on the links.

I'd like to second hector's request for a draft preview.

David said...

Paul,
This past series was one of the toughest I've ever watched in 33 years of being a fan. To me the Padres seemed completely overmatched in every aspect of the game. We used to play competitive series against the Dodgers even when they clearly had more talent. Now, not only is the talent gap as striking as it's ever been, but the team just seems to be going through the motions...and it's only May!
Guys are having terrible at-bats, hacking early in the count, being unable to execute things like moving runners over or getting guys in from 3rd with less than 2 outs. Buddy seems clueless. How can he not bring in Bell in one of those close games? Giles is done, I think that's clear. It's no mystery to anyone where his power has gone but now he's lost the patience that made him worthwhile. Kouz seems to have taken 3 steps back and is certainly not of an age to be considered a prospect anymore. I think it's time to let Kouz go play in Portland for a while, let Chase play third and let Blanks hack his way through left field. I don't know. I'm depressed. I guess I can only say that when the new stadium was built I expected at the very least competitive teams. I think we all deserved that. I realize we'll never be the Yankees or Sox, but we have to make smart decisions and right now I see too much grasping at straws (see: the bullpen). When the inevitable trade comes, I just pray we don't get 50 cents on our Peavy dollar.
Sorry, that was just very hard to watch.

jason said...

Paul,

I may be overreacting, but a .150 avg. is a sign of decline to me.

I don't think he'll stay at .150 for the year, obviously, but you're talking about a RF with average range, below average arm, below average power, and (before this year) the ability to walk a lot but not advance.

"Veteran Leadership" does not equal 9 million dollars to me.

Wonko said...

Zawadzki is tearing up the Cal League. Looking at his birthday he seems to be a bit old for his league. When you see a guy having success like this who is a bit old for his league, does the team consider moving that guy to a more age appropriate level midseason? Are there roster issues to take into account? It seems to me like you'd want to try to find out if the guy is turning into a real prospect, or if he's just beating up on less experienced players.

LynchMob said...

Week #4?

:-)

hector said...

Given that Orlando Hudson is still nursing an injured hand, wouldn't be a good idea to make him uncomfortable at the plate, after all it still hurts when he takes an awkward swing. If you throw him a lot of fastballs you will not get effect. Pitch him up an in, use both corners and change the speeds, and eye level.

David said...

I figure it's not good etiquette for you to show a positive reaction to the #1 offensive weapon on our #1 competitor being benched for 50 days, so let me.

Hurray Manny!

If only you'd been caught before sweeping us in LA.

David Harris said...

Paul,
Is there a good resource to find out which Padres minor/major leaguers are still in Peoria working out? I've been trying to find out about guys like Stauffer, Prior, etc. but there doesn't seem to be any information around. Thanks for the help.

A said...

Paul, any plans to bring Kyle Blanks up soon?

LynchMob said...

Paul - don't fall too far behind ... we miss your reviews! As bad as the season has become, we're still Padre fans ... and appreciate your insights!

Big news from yesterday ... Kyle Blanks played LF @ AAA Portland ... how'd he look out there???