Players of the Month: August

Big rebound month by San Antonio's Jaff Decker and Fort Wayne's Cory Spangenberg while LE's Jeduy Valdez repeats and the TinCaps Connor Powers just keeps on hitting and hitting and hitting....

AAA Tucson: C Luis Martiniez .310/.396/.452

Everyone has always believed in Martinez's glove but his bat may be giving him an opportunity with the big club. He hit .286 with the big club with a .375 on-base percentage and no errors in San Diego. Coming back to Tucson he led the T-Pads in on-base percentage and was one of only two regulars to hit over .300 in August.

Prospect Watch: Tucson had their toughest month of the plate all year hitting .235/.303 and a surprisingly low .366 slugging percentage. Eric Patterson was the other regular that ended up over .300 hitting .324/.347/.535 leading the team in batting average and slugging percentage while seeing time at second, right and center field. 1b Anthony Rizzo had his worst month statistically at Tucson hitting .262/.333/.477 but still ended up with 20 RBIs and 13 extra-base hits in 29 games. What has to somewhat concern the Padres is 27 strikeouts in 118 plate appearances. 3b James Darnell also struggled with a .240/.245/.280 line bouncing between San Diego and the minors with only two extra-base hits in 51 plate appearances.

Disappointments: C/3b Kyle Phillips had a tough month hitting .164/246/.309 and was removed from the forty man roster.

AA San Antonio: LF Jaff Decker .275/.368/.471

In May (.170/.333/.260) and July (.176/.286/.269) Jaff Decker easily had two of his worst months ever but in August he returned to the player we have all come to expect. Jaff had 23 RBIs in 27 games to go along with 28 hits, 12 extra-base hits, 13 walks and was 3 for 4 in stolen base attempts. Twenty-three strikeouts in 115 plate appearances are still a little high but his overall production easily offsets the negatives.

Prospect Watch: 3b Jedd Gyorko raised his OPS from .693 in July to .843 in August as Jedd hit .300/.379/.464, leading the Missions with 33 hits. C Jason Hagerty also performed much better in his second month in AA hitting .270/.395/.381 with a 12/18 BB/K ratio. 1b/DH Cody Decker, after missing two months with a high ankle injury, returned hitting .304 with a pair of home runs in seven games. Independent League signee 1b Carlos Sosa hit .308/.386/.410 and earned a player of the week in the Texas League.

Disappointments: CF Blake Tekotte struggled going back and forth between San Diego hitting .226/.310/.306.

High-A Lake Elsinore: SS Jeudy Valdez .327/.383/.522

For the second month in a row Valdez took the honors for the Storm's player of the month. Valdez led the team in hits, extra-base hits and runs scored. He had eight errors in 29 games but at 22 there is a lot to like.

Prospect Watch: DH Tommy Medica was a 14th round draft pick out of Santa Clara who if he hadn't gotten hurt catching his junior year would have gone much higher. While his ability to catch, especially on an everyday basis is very much a question, his bat isn't. In his second month since being promoted from Fort Wayne he led the Storm this month he hit .311/.433/.515 leading the team in home runs with 5 and posting a 15/22 BB/K ratio. 1b Nate Freiman does what he always does every month, produce; hitting .280/.388/.510 with 19 RBIs and 13 extra-base hits in 28 games. 2b Jonathan Galvez continues to hit with a .284/.327/.461 line but 27 Ks in 107 plate appearances is something to keep an eye on. Since Jason Hagerty was promoted to San Antonio, C Eddy Rodriguez has benefitted from playing everyday hitting .282/.349/.487.

Disappointments: OF Danny Payne, a former first round supplemental pick in 2007, struggled in August hitting.130/.258/.195.

Low-A Fort Wayne: 1b Connor Powers .385/.461/.624

After not making the TinCaps out of spring training and only joining the team with the promotion of 3b Jake Blackwood to Lake Elsinore in June, Powers has been on fire, particularly in July and August. He led the team in every offensive category and had 42 hits, 17 of them for extra-bases in 30 games. Prospect Watch: After posting a .395 OPS in July, 2b Cory Spangenberg rebounded strongly hitting .350/.402/.485. He also stole 10 bases in 12 attempts. DH Wes Cunningham had a nice month hitting .315/.376/.457. RF Rymer Liriano was the Midwest League MVP, had a bit of an off month hitting .304/.364/.431, but stole 16 bases in 20 attempts.

Disappointments: SS B.J. Guinn hit .242 but had an anemic .274 slugging percentage with only two extra-base hits in 104 plate appearances.

Short-Season Eugene: 2b Casey McElroy .322/.414/.508

McElroy didn't sign until mid-August and so far was impressive in his first 69 plate appearances with 19 hits, seven for extra-bases and a 10/11 BB/K ratio. The left-handed hitting middle infielder is only 5'8" and although he has always been able to hit not many scouts and pundits believe his skills will translate to higher levels. Which is what many also wrote about Jedd Gyorko last year. My guess is McElroy probably thinks everyone can write what they want as long as he is in the lineup and putting up numbers.

Prospect Watch: SS Jace Patterson has the exact opposite profile than McElroy. A two-sport athlete at McNeese State he is considered more of an athlete than a baseball player but if the skills can catch up to the athleticism, San Diego may have something. Patterson had his best month yet hitting .287/.393/.376 with 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts. Before hurting his wrist, CF Donovan Tate made a nice rebound from his suspension in the 14 games that he played hitting .260/.415/.380 with a 13/12 K/BB ratio and five stolen bases in seven attempts. LF/2b Justin Miller, a thirtieth round draft pick in this year's draft out of Southeastern Oklahoma, hit .298/.398/.365 moving to left when McElroy signed. C Matt Colantonio got the majority of the starts behind the plate and hit well at .304/.424/.348. The Brown graduate had a 13/9 K/BB ratio. Travis Whitmore, another late round pick from a small school in the 2011 draft, saw time at first, second and third while hitting .337/.396/.484. Whitmore also made the Northwest League all-star team at third and is hitting .362 with runners in scoring position this year.

Disappointments: USD's 1b Zach Kometani hit .205/.275/.315 with twenty-three strikeouts in 78 plate appearances.

Short-Season AZL: RF Yoan Alcantara .377/.415/.766

For statistically oriented seamheads, Alcantara only walked 3 times in 80 plate appearances. But then again he also compiled 29 hits, 13 of them for extra-bases, 6 of which were home runs and drove in 24 runs in 19 games. So maybe there are a few different ways to evaluate performance.

Prospect Watch: C Austin Hedges got into five games after signing with San Diego and did pretty well with five hits in 20 plate appearances, one of them which was a home run. The big story in the desert has been the play of the outfield. CF Alberth Martinez hit .338/.343/.471 before being moved up to Eugene. OF Fabel Filpo hit .385/.448/.538 and Yair Lopez hit .304/.397/.494. C Robert Kral came in at .333/.529/.583 and 3b Duanel Jones hit .273/.368/.545. Finally our man 1b/DH Cody Decker served his time in purgatory well hitting .344/.436/.594 before being sent back to San Antonio.

Disappointments: SS Felipe Blanco hit .167/.231/.167 and made 8 errors in 14 games.

August Player of the Month: Connor Powers

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