Lake Elsinore Storm Pitcher and Player of the Month- April
The first month of the 2013 season has not been kind to the Storm. They are currently in last place in the division (Cal League South) and have not been able to put all the parts of the game together. With many of the Padres highly rated prospects playing for the Storm it could be expected that they would be more successful. But this is one of the tougher places to play in the Cal League and they can be forgiven for a slow start.
The surprise of this first month is the first player of the month for the Storm.
1B Lee Orr was drafted in the 13th round of 2011 draft with the expectation that he could hit with some power. At 6-3 and 215 lbs he is a good target at first base with adequate defensive skills. But few could have expected, after the results of his first two professional seasons, the type of early season success he has had this year.
After a 2011 campaign with Eugene of .219/.364/.414 with 88 SO in 210 AB, 5 HR and 35 RBI the Padres promoted him to Fort Wayne in 2012.
The 2012 numbers were eerily similar with a .211/.300/.419 line with 112 SO in 270 AB, 11 HR and 41 RBI.
So the scouting report written in 2011 by oregonbaseballreport.com portraying Orr with a lot of pull side power and a long hitting zone seemed to be accurate but his patience at the plate did not seem to be doing him much good as his plate coverage was lacking.
It seems, at least so far this year, that some hitting mechanics have improved. He was named the April 2013 hitter of the month for the Padres minor league system and leads his own teammates by a wide margin.
With a .378/.433/.707 line through 22 games and 82 AB it would be easy to site the small sample size and wait for his bat to cool off. But his 8 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR and 13 RBI attract attention to someone who is really driving the ball. His strikeout rate is currently 21 SO in 82 AB but he is making good contact more often.
Time will tell if this can be sustained. Check back as the season progresses to see if he gets mentioned here again.
Staff ace Matt Wisler, previously noted to be the 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, continues to dazzle. With an extra 15 lbs on his 6-3 frame (now 195), Wisler is probably making the teams that passed on him in the early rounds of the 2011 draft wish they had reconsidered. Taken by the Padres in the 7th round, Wisler was thought to be a hard commit to Ohio St by many teams. The Padres were able to take advantage of the old system and paid over slot by $500,000 to pry him away from his college committment.
His 2012 Fort Wayne record of 5-4 and 2.53 ERA in 23 games started and 114 IP boasted a 24.5% K rate.
So far in 2013 he is 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 6 GS and 31 IP with a .90 WHIP. He has allowed 7 ER, 1 HR, 6BB and had 28 SO for a .196 avg against.
The scouting reports from minorleagueball.com and Brian French of gradingonthecurve.com speak of a 90-93mph fastball that sinks with a slider, curve and change up. His slider and curve are both considered to be well above average major league pitches. The work continues on refining his change.
Wisler has good mechanics with a clean delivery and great command for such a young pitcher. The original slot was as a #3 man in the rotation but he has the possibility of added ceiling with an improved change and developing slightly more velocity.
It would not be a stretch to expect to see Matt Wisler listed as one of the systems top ten prospects going into next year. Watch this pitcher closely and check back here for updates on his progress.