With all pitchers and catchers now accounted for, the team hit the field today for the first official workout of the Spring. Manager Bud Black addressed the club’s battery candidates at 9:00 this morning and then it was off to Field 1 for running, stretching, PFP (pitchers fielding practice) and then bullpen sessions.
The Padres have 29 pitchers in camp this year, split into squads A and B. The 14 pitchers in squad B were the first to take the mound this Spring (naturally?) with squad A throwing in the bullpens tomorrow. Today’s hurlers included Gregerson, Frieri, Street, Brach, Hamren, Vincent, Cashner, Mikolas, Thayer, Boxberger, Burns, Thatcher, Spence and Hinshaw.
While we’re on the subject, let’s glance back at the often overlooked accomplishments of last year’s staff. Led by coaches Darren Balsley and Darrel Akerfelds, the 2011 Padres ranked 3rd in the Majors with a 3.42 ERA. Starters posted a 3.62 mark that ranked 4th among all NL clubs while relievers were 3rd in the league with a 3.03 ERA.
2011 marked the second consecutive year the Padres posted a sub-3.50 team ERA and the fourth time in the last six years that the club has had a sub-4.00 team ERA.
In the eight full seasons that Balsley and Akerfelds have been working together as pitching coach and bullpen coach (dating back to 2004), the club has posted a 3.91 ERA that ranks tops in the Majors over that span. During that stretch, the Padres have finished among the top three NL clubs in team ERA on four occasions (’06, ’07, ’10, ’11), including two first place finishes (’06, ’07).
The Padres improvement at the minor league level continues as today it was announced that the Fort Wayne TinCaps have been named winners of the 2011 Bob Frietas “Organization of the Year” Award for the Class-A level, recognizing their successful 2011 campain and continuing contribution to minor league baseball.
The award, given annually, is presented by Baseball America. From the release:
“The Fort Wayne TinCaps have demonstrated a spirit of innovativeness as well as commitment to the Fort Wayne community with an out-of-the-box approach and dynamic new facility, Parkview Field, in downtown. We are pleased to recognize Fort Wayne as the 2011 Bob Freitas Award winner for the A level classification in Minor League Baseball,” said Lee Folger, President/Publisher of Baseball America.
The TinCaps’ honor continues the trend of success and improvement throughout each level of the Padres organization, following league championships by both the Lake Elsinore Storm (California League) and San Antonio Missions (Texas League) this year.
In addition to the uniform updates, the Padres also unveiled three new logos for use in 2012. The “SD” logo has been updated to a circular mark featuring the text “San Diego Padres Baseball Club” and is to be used as the team’s primary mark.
The Padres’ new secondary logo features the Padres script under skyline imagery of PETCO Park. The new secondary mark also includes the classic “SD” along with “Est. 1969” and will be featured in a patch on the sleeve of the club’s blue and gray jerseys.
In addition, the Padres have wheeled out a revamped Swinging Friar logo for 2012. The mark makes use of the original classic Swinging Friar from the early days of Padres history, with updated colors to match the blue and white currently worn by the club. It will be featured in a patch on the sleeve of the Padres’ white jerseys.
The Padres today unveiled their updated uniforms and new logos for the 2012 season at a special event for select season ticket holders at PETCO Park. Padres President/Chief Operating Officer Tom Garfinkel was on hand along with several Padres players to make the announcement.
Included in the uniform changes for 2012, are updated home whites and road grays, along with a new blue alternate uniform featuring the Padres’ “SD” on the chest. San Diego’s military jerseys will still feature the digital camouflage pattern modeled after the U.S. Marines, but will have updated numbers and text on the back to remain consistent with the Padres’ other uniforms.
All four of the updated jerseys are currently available for sale at the Padres store and online at padres.com/shop.
In the middle of the Arizona Fall League, Padres prospect Jaff Decker took time to tell a little bit of his story and what he’s working on heading into the 2012 campaign. Check out the video from MLB.com:
A native of Peoria, AZ, Decker grew up just down the street from the Padres Spring Training Complex. He was selected by the Friars with the 48th overall selection in the 2008 draft and has hit .273 with a .411 on-base percentage and .475 slugging percentage over his four seasons in the Padres system.
He reached Double-A for the first time last year, helping the San Antonio Missions to the 2011 Texas League championship.
So far with the Peoria Javelinas this Fall League, Decker is hitting a monstrous .500 (11-for-22) with four walks. He has posted a .593 on-base percentages, having reached safely in 16 of his 27 plate appearances.
As highlighted by our “Future Friar” series (with features on Anthony Rizzo, James Darnell, Keyvius Sampson and Jedd Gyorko), the Padres farm system is quickly improving. Ranked as the eighth-best among MLB teams heading into the 2011 season, Baseball America’s Jim Callis thinks that may just be the beginning:
“The Padres system definitely is looking up. Many of their top prospects coming into the season had terrific years in the minors, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Jedd Gyorko and third baseman/outfielder James Darnell. Others took big steps forward, most notably outfielder Rymer Liriano and righthander Keyvious Sampson. San Diego also has added plenty of talent via the draft (starting with first-rounders Cory Spangenberg and Joe Ross), trades (getting lefty Robbie Erlin and righty Joe Wieland from the Rangers for Mike Adams) and the international market ($1.1 million for Venezuelan catcher Jose Ruiz).
The Padres have one of the better farm systems in baseball, and I expect their ranking to move up from No. 8. They had 18 different players make our various minor league Top 20 Prospects lists, tying the Rays for the most of any organization.
When we unveil our 2012 Top 100 Prospects next spring, I anticipate that the list will include Rizzo, Gyorko, Liriano and Erlin for sure, with several other San Diego farmhands having a shot. Other candidates include Darnell, righthander Casey Kelly, Ross, Sampson, Spangenberg and Wieland.”
Overshadowed by a slow start, Mat Latos has quietly put together another dominant year on the mound. He finished his 2011 campaign with 7.0 shutout innings of two-hit ball last night over the Cubs, leading the Friars to a 2-0 victory.
Over his last 23 starts of the season, beginning with his May 25 outing, Latos went 8-8 with a 3.13 ERA (52 ER/149.1 IP), .229 opponent batting average and 8.6 strikeouts per 9.0 IP. During that span, he averaged over 6.0 innings per start while allowing just over two runs per start. Latos matched last year’s total with 31 starts, while besting his 2010 workload with 194.1 innings of work this season (184.2 IP in 2010).
The Padres welcome the Cubs to town for a three-game set to wrap up the 2011 campaign. The last series of the season will see Mat Latos, Anthony Bass and Wade LeBlanc take on Casey Coleman, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster.
San Diego dropped yesterday’s game to the Dodgers, losing 6-2 and snapping a stellar streak of five consecutive games with two or fewer runs allowed. The five-game streak was two shy of the franchise record, accomplished three times. It was the 15th such streak of at least five games in club history.
As you know, the Padres completed the sweep of the Rockies yesterday and will enjoy an off day today before wrapping up the season with a six-game homestand. The Dodgers come to town this weekend, followed by a three-game set against the Cubbies to conclude the 2011 campaign.
For this weekend’s series against the Dodgers, the Padres will throw Wade LeBlanc, Aaron Harang and Cory Luebke against Ted Lilly, Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw.
To help get you through the day, here is some light reading. Two minor league championships, stellar pitching a mile high and a preview of what’s to come at PETCO Park:
Affiliates make Padres’ mother ship proud – Corey Brock (MLB.com)
On Deck: Padres pitchers set mark at Coors Field – Bill Center (Union-Tribune)
The Padres completed the three-game sweep of the Rockies this afternoon with a 4-0 win in Denver. The sweep was the Padres fifth of the year, third on the road and first since taking a four-game set from the Marlins in August.
Over the three games in Colorado, the Padres pitching staff dominated the Rockies bats. The Friars allowed just three runs over the series, silencing the Colorado offense to the tune of 14-for-92 (.152) at the plate, including Monday’s one-hitter. The win is the Padres fifth in their last six games, giving them some momentum as they head home for six games to finish the season.
Allowing three runs over a three-game series at Coors Field is an impressive feat. So impressive, in fact, that no team has ever held the Rockies to three-or-fewer runs in a series of at least three games. The Rockies have been limited to four runs in a three-game series at home twice (2005 and 2008).