Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Portland Update

Portland is the Padres AAA affilate, and is home right now to a few excellent prospects including two considered by many to be as "can't miss" as it gets, and they are Chase Headley and Matt Antonelli.

Chase Headley turned into a bluechip prospect last year in AA, and was named Texas League POY among other accolades. He was considered one of the top 3rd base prospects in all of MiLB, and due to the emergence of Kevin Kouzmanoff on the big league club, the decision was made to move him to LF. He was told that he would be given a chance to earn the starting role out of spring training if he won the job outright. By every account he did, leading the Padres in virtually every offensive category, and showing that he could patrol LF even though it was brand new to him. However when the team broke camp, Headley was sent to AAA to refine his defensive skills in LF before he was brought up. Reports from many who have seen him play since then suggest that he might have been less than happy with what he considered a demotion of sorts. This has taken a toll on his overall performance thus far, and his offensive #'s are far from what Padre fans have come to expect from him.

Headley is currently hitting .226ba/.309obp/.369slg but don't get too discouraged, most of his recent hits have gone for extra bases, suggesting that he's staring to come out of his funk. His strikeouts are also starting to curb, so we'll keep track of him over the next few weeks to see if this positive trend continues.

Matt Antonelli was another of our 3rd base prospects that changed positions, however this position change took him from a bubble prospect at 3rd base, to the #1 2nd base prospect in the nation last year. His combination of speed, command of the strike zone, power, and ability to handle the bat has vaulted him onto the scene, and he's very close to being ready to break through to the ML level. He projects as a top of the order hitter, maybe a leadoff guy, who should have a high OBP, have the ability to steal some bases and create havoc on the base paths, hit for some power, and drive in some runs even from the top of the order.
If Tad Iguchi continues to struggle, it's entirely possible that Antonelli could see the big leagues sooner rather than later.

More updates coming soon, so keep checking back.

Play Ball !!!

Padres lose opener to Philly

Padres lose 7-4

#350 remains elusive for Maddux as he goes a strong 6 1/3 innings and has to leave the game after what many are calling horrible positioning of fielders. Maddux was visibly upset more than once culminating in a verbal tongue lashing of Bud Black. Exactly what was said remains up in the air, but it was clear that Maddux wasn't happy with the total lack of support he's been getting, and the way the fielders behind him were positioned on more than one occasion. Quite frankly he's got a good beef, as he's received 3 runs of support over his last 4 starts, and that's just not going to get it done. This while trying to win his 350th career win.


Maybe the lone bright spot today was Scott Hairston playing in CF. He replaced Edmonds, hopefully for an extended period, and played great on both sides of the ball. Hairston was 3-4 with 2 HR's, a double and 3 RBI in the loss. He also made a spectacular diving catch in th e right centerfield gap to rob a double and save multiple runs.
This effort should at the very least earn him starts in the next two games, and hopefully for a long time to come. One hot bat can get contagious, and you never know maybe this will lead to other guys turning things around also.


Rusch 0.11221106.28
Cameron 0.23220004.32

Both Rusch and Cameron combined for 1 IP & 4 ER in a horrid performance and another bullpen meltdown that we're becoming all to accustomed to seeing.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2
4 7 0
1 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 X
7 12 0

Monday, April 28, 2008

Padres lose 2 of 3 to Dbacks

Well Friar faithful it isn't pretty lets be honest here for a minute. The one shining spot of this entire team so far this year is the starting pitching, and you can't win a shutout if you score zero ! While they aren't pitching shutouts all the time, they sure are pitching lights out overall, and this offense is just so bad they can't even eek out minimal run support, or worse yet the normally rock solid Padres bullpen implodes.

Peavy lost his first game of the year yesterday after tossing 7 innings, giving up 4 hits, allowing 2 runs and K-ing 9, and this offense can't push across a few runs to support him ? Oh and did I mention Peavy had the ONLY Padre extra base hit yesterday.................uh........something is wrong here ??
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 1
San Diego
0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 0


The lone bring spot yesterday other than another outstanding Peavy start, in this writer/fans opinion, was Heath Bell. The possible heir to Trevor Hoffman was outstanding yesterday going 1-2-3 in his inning of duty. Below is a quick snip it I took of him in the bullpen, and gives you an idea of what his breaking ball looks like from behind. Oh FYI squatting for Bell in the bullpen was Michael Barrett. He was catching him, but had a guy standing next to him to make the throws back to Bell, so his arm still isn't up to snuff.

Mark Prior UPDATE: Mark Prior pitched a bullpen session yesterday at Petco, but his timetable could be pushed as far back as July 1st now. One thing they are not going to do is rush him back, especially since rotation is the least of their concerns.

I will be giving more updates soon including a look at our farm system and future prospects.

So come back soon

Play Ball !!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Padres lose opener to Giants in extras

Padres and Giants battled all night in a pitchers duel ( or just total lack of offensive ability), and the Padres had the lead and Greg Maddux was poised to win his 350th game........then..........Hoffman blew his 2nd save of the season. With 1 out in the 9th inning, and two strikes on him, Molina got a ball out of the strikezone, low and inside and used his 5 iron to golf it over the LF wall.

This sent the game into extra innings, and in the 13th the Giants finally pushed across two runs to take the lead, before the Padres could stop the bleeding.

In the bottom of the 9th it appeared as if the Padres were going to pull out a miracle, and had the bases loaded.......but as has been the case all year so far, hitting with RISP is something this team is failing to do miserably. The Padres managed to push one run across, and with 2 outs, the winning run at 2nd, Josh Bard grounded out weakly to SS to end the game.

KT was on the radio this morning, and said to the effect, that if things don't turn around there will be changes made. He's on his way to Portland next weekend to watch guys like Headley, Antonelli, LeBlanc & Hundley to see where these kids are. The way it sounded was that if he felt any/all were ready, they just might be seeing a roster spot on the big league club before long.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 R H E
San Francisco
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 3 11 0
San Diego
0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 9 0

Stay tuned for sure Friar faithful

Play Ball !!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Padres swept in mini series

Peavy pitched ok, didn't have his best stuff, but the offense didn't show up for him anyway. Peavy leaves the game on the hook for the loss and the offense shows up and bails him out, in fact they took the lead with a wild rally that only a bandbox like Minute Maid could produce. Then the bullpen implodes again, and even our rock Heath Bell gets touched up for the first time this season. When the dust settled the Astros had taken both games of the 2 game short series.

Adrian Gonzalez hit his 4th HR & was a single away from hitting for the cycle.

Paul McAnulty hit his 2nd in the losing effort.

Peavy 6.07442222.00
Thatcher 0.243300010.24
Rusch 0.10000006.75
Bell (L, 0-2)1.04442103.55

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 0 0 0 0 3 0 4 0
7 8 0
1 0 0 1 0 2 3 4 X
11 15 0

Play Ball !!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Houston we have a problem

Padres get hammered 10-3

Justin Germano blinked in the 1st inning, and before he opened his eyes it was 5-0 Astros. It didn't get better from there. He was hit hard, and often as the Friars lose the series opener in Houston. Germano went 3 1/3, gave up 10 hits, walked 3, and gave up 10 er, before Bud Black finally pulled the plug on him. It was by far and away his worst start of the season, and hopefully not a sign of things to come. How he bounces back in 5 days is going to be very important in this young mans season. I think he's got the stuff and shouldn't have much of a problem, as even in this rout he showed poise, didn't get flustered, and just kept trying to go about his business.......problem was that the Astros were going about theirs at the same time. Toss this game out Friar fans, we didn't stand a chance......time to reload and go after them tomorrow.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 3 8 0
5 2 0 3 0 0 0 0 X 10 13 0

Play Ball !!

Padres take game 3 to avoid sweep

Randy Wolf out battled the red hot DBacks and Randy Johnson in another solid start. Wolf went 6 1/3 scattering 6 hits, giving up 4 er, while striking out 7 in his win. Randy Wolf continues to be a very nice surprise and make up one half of the most formidable bottom of the rotation duo's in NL maybe all of MLB.

Justin Huber provided the knock out punch for Randy Johnson by crushing his 1st ML homer to deep LF in the 5th. Huber was 2-5 with 3rbi and a HR yesterday, and looked very good. With the way things are, or aren't shaping up in LF this kid could find himself starting more and more games if he keeps hitting like he did yesterday.

Huber a native from Australia, was signed by the Mets in 2000 as a non-drafted FA, then found himself in the Royals system. He was slated to play for the Aussie Olympic team in 2004, but had to scratch that due to a knee surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. He was named the 8th-best prospect in the Royals organization entering the 2007 season by BA. Last year he struggled with injuries again, yet still managed to hit .276 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI in just 77 games for the AAA Royals affiliate. The Padres acquired him for the ever popular PTBNL (who has yet to be named of course), knowing that he has the ability to back up the corner OF spots, as well as be an emergency catcher should the need arise.

This guy has very real power, but has yet to prove himself at the ML level, but he's also yet to get a real consistent opportunity. Considering the state of things in the OF of the Padres, it sure seems to this fan that we should see more of this guy to get a better feeling for what he truly brings to the park.

So for now we'll keep our eye on this guy.....never know when KT will find that proverbial Diamond in the Rough......or catch Lightning in a Bottle.......

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 0 1 0 0 5 0 2 1
9 10 0
0 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
4 8 3

Go Pads !

Play Ball!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Padres get stomped by the DBacks in series opener

Padres lose 9-0

Well Friar fans....... two things are certain ......One the Padre & Maddux got absolutely crushed last night..... Second Maddux took one for the team and futher proved what a phenomenal team player he is.

Maddux got hit hard all game long, but in the 1st inning he surrendered 6 runs, and the game was over at that point. Don't go blaming anything on that 22 inning nightmare the night before either, as Greg was one of the few that didn't play.....he was rested, and simply got torched. However at the same time Greg did realize that the bullpen was spent, team was spent, and even though he did not have his good stuff, stayed out on the hill gutting it out for 7 innings giving the rest of the guys a break. This is the most amazingly gutsy performance I've seen in a long time, for this reason. It would have been very easy to give up and call it a day, and many have before, but he knew that in the long run his team needed him to stay out there for better or worse. When all was said and done, there wasn't much the DBacks didn't do against what was a hapless Padres team. The triples, doubles, HR's, endless singles, walks and scoring finally, mercifully, thankfully ended, and because Maddux gutted it out the bullpen is now 100% rested and the team is now primed to do battle with the DBacks for games 2 & 3.

Even though Maddux got torched my game ball last night goes to him for being the ultimate team player, and forgetting about stats completely he did what was best for the team.

Way to go Greg !!! Don't you worry, some of us realize EXACTLY what you did last night where the big picture is concerned.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
6 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 X 9 14 0

Play Ball !!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Will Startup maybe in on the DL, but he's a winner

Photo taken from Portland Beavers site
DL but a winner

Portland Beavers web site is reporting that Will Startup won the best name of the year contest...... lol.......I didn't even know this was a real event, but I guess it is......

Pretty damn funny read......enjoy

04/10/2008 3:00 PM - PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Beavers pitcher Will Startup won’t let an injury keep him out of the limelight.

The four-year professional, currently on the club’s disabled list with a left elbow sprain and rehabbing in extended spring training in Arizona, today was crowned champion of the 64-player, tournament-style “Minors Moniker Madness” competition on MiLB.com, the official site of Minor League Baseball.

Click here to view the final bracket.

Startup defeated Dusty Napoleon in the finals; winners of each round were determined by a vote of fans on the website to determine the ultimate baseball name in the minors. Startup garnered 56 percent of the vote in the finals, getting the backing of a record 15,192 votes in the title matchup with Napoleon, who received 11,995 votes (44 percent).

Startup, a No. 10 seed entering the competition, earned victories over Jimmy James and Bubbie Buzachero to get to the Sweet 16. He then beat Winter Polo and Rocky Roquet before passing up No. 1-seed Rowdy Hardy to get to the finals.

“This ranks right up there with the highest achievements of my life,” Startup said from the San Diego Padres spring training headquarters in Peoria, Ariz. “There’s no other feeling in the world like this.”

It was sweet redemption for Startup, who settled for runner-up status in 2007 after losing to Houston Summers in the finals last year.

“I would probably have been angrier if I had lost again more than anything else,” Startup said. “I hate losing anything, so there was a lot of anticipation on this. As much as I tried not to pay attention to the tournament, it was hard not to get caught up in it.”

Ironically, the left-hander has never started a professional game in his career spent with the Atlanta Braves and Padres organizations, amassing 129 relief appearances going into the 2008 season.

“I think the people in the stands find more irony in that than anything. Certainly, my name draws a little more attention than the average name.”

Startup joined the Beavers last season, coming to the Padres system along with pitcher Wil Ledezma from Atlanta in exchange for former Beaver Royce Ring on July 31. The 23-year-old made 14 relief appearances with Portland and posted a 4.66 ERA.

Former Beaver Tagg Bozied, a six seed in this year’s tourney, picked up first- and second-round victories before getting bounced by Given Kutz in third-round play. Bozied played in Portland from 2003-05.

Heh ! A name contest.......who knew ?

Play Ball !!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Will Inman named Pitcher Of the Week

Inman Honored

Nice article on Will Inman on the San Antonio site talking about him winning the PoTW award last week. This kid was flat dealing in his first two starts of the season, but in his 3rd he got scuffed up a bit........ be nice to see him bounce back with a solid outting following that up..... Enjoy the read.
Texas League President Tom Kayser announced that Will Inman was named the Texas League Pitcher of the Week for the week of April 3 - April 13. The first week of the season consists of the first half week and the first full week of the season (11 days). This is the first ever honor for Inman in the Texas League.

Inman tossed five shutout innings against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals in San Antonio on April 4 giving the Missions their first victory of the season. Inman allowed three hits and struck out five in the 3-0 win over the Naturals. On April 10, Inman repeated his performance of tossing five shutout innings again against the Naturals in their first ever game at Arvest Ballpark. That night Inman held the Naturals to just one hit and four strikeouts to give the Missions the 7-1 victory.

The 21-year-old Virginia native was originally drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft. Last season, Inman was traded to the Padres organization in exchange for Scott Linebrink. Inman joined the Missions last season and was 3-3 4.17 ERA and helped lead the Missions to 2007 Texas League Championship. Inman struck out 180 batters in 159.1 innings last season and finished second in all of Minor League Baseball. Inman was rated the San Diego Padres 7th best prospect by Baseball America this pre-season.

This is the second straight season that the Missions have had a pitcher win Texas League Pitcher of the Week honors in the first week of the season. Last year LHP Sean Thompson earned the honors and the Missions were honored a total of five times with Cesar Ramos and Josh Geer each picking up the honor twice during the year.

The Missions return home to action on Thursday as the Midland RockHounds come to town for a four game set. Game time Thursday is 7:05 pm and tickets can be purchased online or at the Missions Box Office.

Play Ball !!!

MiLB injury / rehab updates

Quick update on a couple big arms and kids coming back from injury

One of the most impressive young arms to grace the Padres farm system since Jake Peavy..... Matt Latos, signed for $1.25 million last May, struck out nine in three innings in extended spring training. He clocked at 93-95 mph..... Expect this guy to move rapidly through the system, as many collegiate players often do. His skill set is impressive, and boasts + pitches across the board with a ++ fastball topping it all off. He's likely 2 years away from challenging for a spot on the big league club, but if he's ready physically and mentally expect exactly that to happen. He projects right now as a frontline #1 type arm. Sure would be nice to have another Jake Peavy in this rotation.

Cesar Carrillo was a top pitching prospect in the Padres system, and seemed on his way to take his spot next to Peavy in the rotation when his elbow gave....... TJ surgery was the result and he's been working very hard every since to climb back up the ladder into a position to fight for a spot in what is now a very tough rotation.....So here is update for those that are curious ..... As of Mid April he's hitting his mile/minorstones, and should be mixing breaking balls into his workouts......that's a biggy.....During interviews he's maintained that he feels no pain or discomfort, and has actually said that he actually feels great, is very happy to be back on the mound, and is looking forward to his rehab stints..... Good news for Friar fans......

Maybe one of the most confusing characters this franchise has had to deal with in recent history is Matt Bush. Taken as the 1st overall pick in the draft, he got off to a very rocky start, and earn quite a poor reputation for himself quickly. This didn't site well with a fandome that enjoys rooting for the good guy, not the bad seed, however much of his reputation might have been blown out of whack a touch by the media.
Drafted as a SS, he never really developed his bat like they had hoped, but he possesses incredible speed & a cannon for an arm, so they though CF, yet that didn't solve his bat issues much....... Then they finally did the logical thing, and put a kid that could blow an easy 97mph up on the hill to see what he could do.......and guess what.....HE WAS HAPPY..... For the first time since arriving Matt Bush felt like he belonged and new what he could do. He instantly put himself back on the prospect map by blazing through hitters and showing an uncanny ability, for a guy that hadn't pitched since HS, to locate his 97-98mph fastball. He also has a plus curveball and will be working on a change up ( as all Padre pitchers do ) which will only make his fastball that much more devastating. Sadly his revival was cut short when he felt a tug in his elbow and TJ was the next step..... They didn't waste any time getting his arm surgically repaired, and after a successful surgery it was time to wait......wait and see how his body reacted.
Well mid-April 2008 rolled around, and he was right on schedule, throwing from 80 feet and starting to work on his minorstones....... He'll miss all of 2008 rehabbing, but if this kid can make a full recovery, then his future is very bright, and the Padres may have ended up with a pretty solid draft pick after all......long time coming, but better late than never......and remember this kid was taken out of HS, so he's still young, even if he misses a year on the DL.

Play Ball !!!

Germano solid but Padres lose

Padres are hosting the Rockies for 3 games at Petco this week.......

Game 1
went to the Friars as Randy Wolf threw 6 2/3's no hit innings, and the bullpen came in to complete the 6-0 shutout, and secure Wolf's first win of the season. The Padres bat suddenly came alive in the 5th inning when Giles, Kouzmanoff & Edmonds all pounded out doubles on their way to putting up all 6 runs scored in the game.

GAME 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 2 1
San Diego
0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 X
6 7 0

Game 2 was a very good game going back and forth between the two teams. Germano was finally touched up for a couple runs this season and the leads changing a couple times. However in the 7th inning after Germano came out, the wheels came off of the Friar wagon, and when the dust settled the bullpen had given up 7 runs in the 7th....... needless to say that was game over at that point...... Padres went on to drop game 2 in big fashion 10-3.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 7
10 15 0
San Diego
0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0
2 3 1

Game 3 is tonight/tomorrow and pits respective staff Ace's Jake Peavy (3-0) and Jeff Francis (0-2) against each other in the rubber match. Hopefully Jake will get some solid run support and bring his A-game with him to the ballpark.

Well Peavy struck out 11, walked 2, and threw 8 inning shutout innings, but was matched in just about ever way by the Rockies starter and bullpen. Sadly Peavy will not figure into this decision regardless of the outcome now.

-22 innings
-6.5 hours
-Longest game in Padre history
-The only guy left available for the Padres was Cla Meredith

......and they came up short early Friday morning in a loss 2-1 to the Rockies......yes people what you see below is the scoreboard and it's correct......
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Colorado 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 14 1
San Diego 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 11 2
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 R H E
Colorado 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 14 1
San Diego 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 11 2
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 R H E
Colorado 0 0 0 1

2 14 1
San Diego 0 0 0 0

1 11 2

So much for pulling off an extra innings win..........now it's off to Arizona to face the RED hot DBacks......

Go Pads ....

Play Ball !!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Padres take 2 of 3 from the Dodgers in LA

Padres win 1-0

Game 1 we dominated the Dodgers & Peavy battled w/o his best stuff......and was still damn good
Game 2 we got stomped good, CY got beat up and down, left and right......there was really nothing good to take from the game.
Game 3 was a 1-0 pitching duel and the game winning run came in the 1st inning... Seems that these two teams are pretty well matched up, and it stands to reason that we have a long season of great baseball to watch when these two NLWest forces clash.
GAME 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
1 6 0
LA Dodgers
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 5 0

GAME 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
1 4 2
LA Dodgers
2 0 3 4 0 1 1 0 X
11 13 0

GAME 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 0 0 4 0 0 1 2 0
7 16 0
LA Dodgers
1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1
5 12 0


Thursday, April 10, 2008

Padres drop 2 of 3 to the formerly hapless Giants

Aside from Justin Germano tossing 7 shutout innings, and completely shutting down the Giants offense, there was zero to be happy about last night. Jim Edmonds looks old and slow, dropping easy fly balls, and unable to make up ground after playing extremely shallow. The Padres offense was putrid over the last 2 games, and the great approach at the plate that we saw in week 1 has completely disappeared, and has been replaced with terrible hacks, and a no discipline approach.

I wont sugar coat it Friar fans.......IT'S UGLY.......and the Dbacks are running away with the division early. One thing is certain.......a correction or adjustment needs to be made instantly.

April 9, 2008
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 041
San Francisco
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 171

Play Ball !!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Padres lose to Giants 3-2 on a walkoff HR

After rallying back to tie the game in the 9th inning, Molina got to Cla Meredith for the HR walkoff style. Meredith had Molina in the hole 1-2 and left a ball up in the zone, and the veteran cashed in for the game winner.

On a positive note, the defense made some great plays and one OUTSTANDING play during the game. Late in the game with a runner on 2nd, a ball was scortched to AGon at first, the runner at 2nd took off for 3rd, Adrian stepped on the bag and in one motion threw the ball to Kouzmanoff at third who scooped the ball, dropped his knee covering the bag as the runner on his way from 2nd tried to beat the throw with a head first dive. Because Kouz dropped his knee the runner never made it to the base, and thus you have your run of the mill typical 3-5 double play. It was truly amazing, and will be on ESPN's highlights unless they pull the normal east coast bias, and forget there is a team out here in this sleepy little military town called San Diego.

Also Brian Giles had 4 hits, and his bat seems to be coming to life finally. Jim Edmonds is looking more and more comfortable at the plate, and his stroke seems to be coming around. Keep in mind Padre faithful this is really only week 2 of spring training for Edmonds, so go easy on him and look for him to pick it up in about a week or so............If he can stay healthy that is......

April 8, 2008

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
San Diego
0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 13 0
San Francisco
0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 9 0

Play Ball !!!

Wade LeBlanc opens some eyes

Wade LeBlanc is one of the Padres top young, near ML ready pitching prospects. Everyone in the Padres system is very familiar with his arsenal, but it seems his 11k debut in Portland turned the heads of many across the country. Nice to see people finally catching up to what we already knew.......That is that this kid is good !!! Enjoy this read, and look forward to seeing this guy up in the near future, barring some trade, locking down the #5 role in our rotation. Matt Eddy of BA does a good fun write up on him discussing this very thing.

Posted Apr. 8, 2008 2:29 pm by Matt Eddy

A few things we know about Padres lefthander Wade LeBlanc:
• He won BA Freshman of the Year honors in 2004 while at Alabama

• The Padres made him a second-round pick in 2006

• He struck out 8.7 batters per nine innings between high Class A and Double-A last

So when the 23-year-old LeBlanc struck out 11 Sacramento batters over six innings—and threw 66 of 81 pitches for strikes—in his first-ever Triple-A start Monday night, it sure seemed like he was picking up where he left off last year. Plus, the performance elicited the quote of the day from River Cats manager Todd Steverson, as told to the Sacramento Bee:

"It was a little tough solving (LeBlanc’s) riddle. He seemed he had three or four different changeups he was throwing up there."

So can we add that to the things we know? Not so fast.

"Wade has two changeups," Portland pitching coach Glenn Abbott said. "One’s just a little harder than the other. Some will tell you it’s four different changeups, but it’s a variation on the same pitch.

"To throw it at different speeds, he just loosens up—it’s a feel pitch. You just have a feel for it."

LeBlanc put those changeups of varying velocity to good use, as aside from those strikeouts, he allowed only one run on four hits, while also walking one. It just so happens that that one run was the result of a solo homer by catcher Landon Powell, on an 0-2 fastball.

And it’s command of the fastball that LeBlanc is polishing with Portland—particularly the two-seamer away to righthanded batters. To accomplish this, Abbott said LeBlanc is simply throwing the pitch more in games. Seems simple enough.

"He doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence in (the two-seamer) yet," said Abbott, who also coached LeBlanc when the two were at Double-A San Antonio in 2007. "He’s had lots of success with a four-seam fastball and the changeup. Nobody can hit it. So sometimes, you don’t see the need to change. But it’s not about pitching where we’re at; it’s about pitching in big leagues.

LeBlanc’s sinker typically registers at 82 mph, while his four-seam fastball sits at 86-88. His curveball is very good at times, but like his heater, it’s used primarily to keep batters from sitting on his changeup.

"Wade is able to use his (four-seam) fastball in and out, which is key because he’ll have guys searching for it," Abbott said, "and they end up reaching for the changeup."

"A couple guys were looking for that changeup and he threw the fastball by then. That’s what pitching’s all about. At Triple-A, you have more veteran hitters who will sit on pitches. It’s a little more about the process than it is at lower levels."

Though LeBlanc is a product of a major college, Abbott still marvels at the progress shown by the young lefty. "He’s driven. He wants to pitch when it’s his turn. He wants to pitch in big leagues."

It may not be long until he gets that chance.