Portland Beavers - Pacific Coast League (AAA)
Going into the season, the Beavers easily were the Padres best minor league team
with an assortment of veteran position players, two highly touted prospects from
last year’s championship team in Mobile and, arguably, the league‘s best
Instead, the Beavers are mired with a .500 record and have been disappointing
offensively, batting only .243 in the Pacific Coast League, which is currently
second to last for the month of April.
Injuries have knocked out first baseman Tagg Bozied, although he is expected
back within two weeks, centerfielder Freddy Guzman, out for the year, and, in
addition, outfielder Jon Knott has struggled but is recently showing signs of
regaining his power stroke. J.J. Furmaniak, one of the many holdovers from the
previous year, is still performing well below how last years breakout
performance with a .241 batting average and limited power.
Both second baseman Josh Barfield (.237/.306/.355 with three home runs and ten
RBIs) and outfielder Ben Johnson (.222/.325/.347 with one home run and eight
RBIs) have again shown power and an ability to drive in runs, but continue to
struggle with pitch recognition and making contact.
Position Player of note: None
Former fringe Major League players Damian Jackson, Kerry Robinson and Robert Fick have all played well, but none of them will offer the Major League team
anything more than potential replacements for struggling reserves.
Bobby Scales and Ben Risinger have also played well, but both have been tagged
with the dreaded “were developing them as a utility player” label by Padres’
management and appear to be more “organizational players” than potential Major
Pitcher of note: Tim Stauffer
With the Padres continuing struggles at the number five slot, a promotion of Tim
Stauffer appears imminent. In five starts, Stauffer posted a 3.03 ERA with a 2-0
record with seven base-on-balls to 23 strikeouts. However, he has proven to be
quite “hittable“ giving up 28 hits in 29.2 innings pitched.
While Stauffer has put together a solid first month, the Padres
may want to hold off on promoting him until he’s had a few more starts in the
minor leagues. How Stauffer’s ability will translate to the major league level
is the $64,000 question. Although he can throw four pitches for strikes, he also
lacks a true dominant out pitch. Remember, last year was Stauffer’s first
professional year and he didn’t exactly shine in spring training this year (5.65
ERA, 20 hits in 14.1 innings with 9 earned runs).
A few more starts, with an increase in his ability to miss bats should not only
refine his ability, but bolster his confidence for the next level.
The North County Times reported on Sunday that Padres general manager
Kevin Towers, in response to when Stauffer would be promoted to the big league
club, stated that Stauffer needs about 10 starts before he's ready for the big
Kevin Goldstein, the writer who ranked the Padres top 30 prospects for
Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook, upon reviewing Stauffer’s
statistics for this month said, “he’s still a little hittable, with a ceiling
that is more of a number three or number four starter as opposed to a number one
or two starter. He probably will have slightly more of an upside and polish than
Justin Germano, although both a very similar pitchers.”
Highly touted reliever Brad Baker has struggled early in Portland with a 7.27
ERA, giving up seven earned runs and ten walks in eight innings. Although Baker
does have five saves, he will need to rein in the walks, something he did a year
Justin Germano has similar peripheral statistics, innings pitched, base-on-ball
to strike out ratios, as Stauffer with a big exception of home runs given up,
five to one. If Justin can somehow control the big fly, his 6.00 ERA should come
back down to normal.
Stats current through May 1st.