MadFriars San Antonio Notebook

MadFriars San Antonio Notebook

SAN ANTONIO: Notes and observations from the San Antonio-Midland series and the Padres' organization in general.

SS Drew Cumberland is going to be out longer than was initially reported. His vertigo was caused by damaged inner ear canals which he believes may have been a result of a football concussion that he suffered in his freshman year of high school.

Cumberland has seen multiple doctors and is now doing eye exercises to help him regain his balance.

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Its going to kill any journalistic bona fides that I may or may not have acquired over the years, but I really hope Beemer Weems continues to hit because Padres' fans need to see him playing shortstop in the big leagues on a daily basis. There is simply no one with his defensive range and fluidity on any level in the organization.

Throw in the fact that during pre-game infield he is baseball's version of the Harlem Globetrotters, and that is nearly worth the price of admission.

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The good news is giant first baseman Kyle Blanks looks completely recovered from his off-season Tommy John surgery. The bad news is he is still going to need much more time in the minors to get his timing and baseball skills back.

People who watch the Missions on a daily basis, and who saw him during his big year in 2009, believe that he is on the right track.

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Catcher Robert Lara is being converted to a pitcher in extended spring training at Peoria. Lara who always had a gifted arm reportedly was throwing 92 off of the mound before any formal pitching instruction.

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Casey Kelly keeps drawing raves from scouts and nearly all are unanimous in their belief he will be a top of the rotation starter. They love his effortless delivery that features a moving two-seamer/sinker with tremendous movement inside the strike zone. He can also bring his four-seamer up to 93 or 94 to go along with a good curve and developing change. Additionally he is bigger than his listed height and weight and seems at least 6'4", 210 lbs. as compared to 6'3" 190.

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CF Blake Tekotte has done considerable work in the weight room and its paying off in the field. He looks much stronger with nearly half (12 for 30) of his hits going for extra bases this past month. The added weight hasn't affected his speed with Tekotte leading the team with 6 stolen bases in 8 attempts. He is the same type of hitter as Drew Cumberland with a line drive swing that keeps the ball out of the air. Defensively he is still the best in the system and his arm strength has greatly improved since he came into pro ball.

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1b/DH Cody Decker, despite not getting much acclaim from other minor league sites including MadFriars, has been putting on a show. He finished April off at .298/.337/.714 with 15 extra-base hits, 10 of which went over the wall. Despite producing this season and in others, the knocks on Decker have always been that he is old for the league, not really big enough for a first baseman and questions about where he will end up defensively.

All of this may still be true, but there is also little doubt that the 22nd round pick out of UCLA has put up some numbers since his arrival in pro ball. In 2009 he was the MadFriars Player of the Year after a scorching season in the AZL hitting .354/.421/.717. Last year he forced the Padres to move former first rounder Allen Dykstra while he tied for the organizational lead in home runs with 28.

If for the rest of this season Cody only hits half as many home runs as he did in April he will end up with 30, in a park with tougher hitting conditions than PETCO, breaking San Antonio's single season record of 29 set by Paul Konerko in 1996.

The point is regardless of anyone's projections or theories, a right-handed hitter with that type of raw power should find a home in the major leagues, especially in San Diego. And maybe, just maybe, after watching him mash three home runs on three consecutive days into the wind all of us might not be quite as smart as we like to believe.

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