Storm Notebook

LAKE ELSINORE: Notes and observations from Lake Elsinore.

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Storm officials had this to say about the recently departed Jedd Gyorko; he's going to be the best player on the field until he reaches the major leagues. Now after his start in San Antonio this may or may not be true but the raves on Gyorko were greater on him than any other player that I have heard who was with the Padres in Lake Elsinore.

Manager Phil Plantier believes that Gyorko has the ability to play second but raves about his advanced approach at the plate.

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Plantier also praised Gyorko's advance approach to hitting of being one of the few players on the A ball level that has the ability to set up pitchers by constantly changing where he is looking to drive the ball.

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CF Reymond Fuentes is an exceptional defensive player and maybe the fastest player in the organization now that Luis Durrango has moved on. He can turn on the fastball but to advance he is going to need to go the other way to use the whole field. During BP Plantier had pitchers really working him on the outside part of the plate to get him to hit the ball to left field.

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SS Jeudy Valdez and 2b Jonathan Galvez are putting up good offensive numbers but it may take awhile for their defensive abilities to catch up. Most scouts like the bats but have real questions about their ability to stay in the middle of the infield, especially with Galvez.

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To limit Matt Lollis' innings the team has moved up to the bullpen with him pitching on every fourth day. They plan to put him back into the rotation at the end of the year. He still has the same velocity which propelled his rise last year the main problem this year has been some slight mechanical problems and maybe just catching a little too much of the plate.

Its important to remember that the 6'9" Lollis won't turn 21 until September and sometimes for players that size it takes a little longer for things to come together; particularly with mechanics.

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1b Nate Freiman is leading the Cal League in games played and is among the leaders in hits. The Duke graduate played four years at Duke so at 23 he is always going to be old for any league he is in. However like Lollis, he is one of the tallest position players in professional baseball and, as noted above, many times guys this size are on a different timetable.

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I have always been a Jeremy McBryde fan and he looks good after finally returning from back and shoulder problems, although this time in the bullpen. Coming out of the pen he has a little more velocity and still has a power sinker that makes batter believe they are hitting a bowling ball. How much the Padres believe in his future is another question.

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The organization is especially deep in relief pitchers but LHP Zach Herr does stand out not only for his size, he's a generously listed 5'9", but for how well he pitches; especially with his two-seam fastball. He averages nearly a strikeout an inning, allows less hits than innings pitched, walks nearly no one and has a 2.91 ERA in a very hitter friendly league.

...and when you throw four pitches left-handed, you always have a chance.

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