In the fun filled pinball machine environment that is Kino Stadium in Tucson, the pitcher's park in the PCL South, Burns struck out 26 batters in 18 innings pitched as the PCL only hit .190 off him in May. Burns, a former star at the University of Arizona who came over to San Diego in the Aaron Cunningham trade from the Indians, had 35 saves for AA Akron last year and seems destined to join the pen in PETCO with the next opening.
Prospect Watch: How tough a place is Tucson to pitch? The top ERA of any starter who made at least five starts was RHP Jorge Reyes' 4.46. Reyes was 2-2 with a 25/11 K/BB ratio as batter's hit .307 against him. Outside of Tucson he has a 2.78 ERA. RHP/Closer Brad Boxberger, who was one of the players involved in the Mat Latos trade, was 3 for 3 in save opportunites with a 1.64 ERA and a 15/5 K/BB ratio. RHP Erik Hamren had a 1.98 ERA in 13.2 innings pitched in relief. Former Pittsburgh Pirate RHP Kip Wells showed some ability with a 3.38 ERA in three starts and may have some more left in the tank at 35.
Disappointments: It's really hard, and also not that fair, to get on someone for not pitching well in a play station like environment but both RHP Josh Geer and LHP Tom Layne struggled with an 8.62 ERA and 7.77 ERA.
San Antonio LHP/Starter Robbie Erlin 2-1 2.50 ERA
Despite not being one hundred percent, Erlin showed why he is one of the top prospects in the Padres' system as he struck out 25 batters in 18 innings pitched against only six walks. Texas League batters hit .247 against the slight lefty who should be coming off of the disabled list in about a week.
Prospect Watch: RHP Keyvius Sampson still has some good peripheral numbers with with 23 strikeouts in 26 innings pitched but is walking too many hitters at fourteen for this month, which resulted in a 6.23 ERA. The big difference with Sampson are his home/road splits with a 2.01 ERA at home and a 9.53 ERA on the road. RHP/Relief pitcher Robert Lara has thrived since being promoted to San Antonio with a 3-0 record and 2.13 ERA. Lara is still walking a few too many people with 8 walks in 12.2 innings pitched but when you are still developing with a mid-90s fastball people tend to overlook the hiccups that come with development. Giant RHP Matt Lollis had a 3.29 ERA with a 17/4 K/BB ratio in 13.2 innings pitched in relief. Before going down on the injured list LHP Juan Oramas was starting to come around with a 15/2 K/BB ratio and a 2.70 ERA in three starts.
Disappointments: In five starts RHP Hayden Beard had a 6.41 ERA as the Texas League hit .336 against him.
Lake Elsinore RHP/Starter Donn Roach 3-1 1.86 ERA
Since coming over from the Angels in the Ernesto Frieri trade Roach emerged as the best starter for the Storm this month. He had a 29/7 K/BB ratio as the Cal League only hit .227 against him in five starts as he averaged nearly six innings a start.
Prospect Watch: RHP/Closer Kevin Quakenbush continues to produce with 5 saves in 5 save opportunities. In 13.1 innings pitched Quakenbush struck out 14 but may have walked a few too many for a closer with six. RHP Greg Gonzalez had a 20/2 K/BB ratio in 15 innings pitched with a 3.60 ERA. Teammate RHP Matt Branham was also effective with a 1.93 ERA and a 16/3 K/BB ratio.
Disappointments: RHP Matt Jackson, who was very good in April, had a tough month in May with a 7.66 ERA in five starts as the Cal League hit .322 against him in 22.1 innings pitched.
Fort Wayne Adys Portillo 2-1 0.89 ERA
Portillo continues to show significant improvement from last year with another big month. He still walks a few too many people with 10 free passes in 30.1 innings but only allowing three earned runs in five starts negates any serious criticism. Batters could only manage a .136 batting average against the 6'4" 235 lbs. Venezuelan for whom the future looks very bright.
Prospect Watch: RHP Daniel Cropper has pitched very well since being added to the TinCaps roster with a 2-0 record and 2.08 ERA. The former UNC-Wilmington star struck out 13 against only one walk in 12 games. Former Santee star RHP James Needy also had some problems with control with 9 walks in 18.1 innings pitched but like Portillo, a 0.48 ERA and 17 strikeouts more than made up for any wildness. RHP Colin Rea didn't get a decision in four starts but pitched very well with a 1.57 ERA as he held the opposition to a .203 batting average. RHP Matt Wisler, a 2011 seventh round above slot signee out of Ohio, is really showing that he belongs at this level with a 2.08 ERA in five starts. Only 19, Wisler had a 17/9 K/BB ratio as batters could only manage a .204 batting average against him.
Disappointments: RHP Luis De La Cruz struggled coming out of the bullpen with a 6.08 ERA.
May Pitcher of the Month: Adys Portillo