Scouting pitchers key for Padres due to injury bugs

Scouting pitchers key for Padres due to injury bugs

Scouting pitchers key for Padres due to injury bugs
DENVER -- The saying goes, "the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry." Apparently, the same can hold true for a Major League front office staff and its meticulous plans.

"You spend all winter building depth and we went into Spring Training thinking that our depth beyond our Major League team was really good," said Padres assistant general manager A.J. Hinch said. "As it turned out, we tested that theory quite a bit this year."

Torpedoed by a slew of injuries and forced to use a club-record 15 different pitchers this season, these Padres have stayed afloat thanks in large part to the contributions of starting pitchers who weren't on their radar at the beginning (or end) of Spring Training.

All told, the Padres have received 22 quality starts this season from pitchers who weren't even with the organization in February -- Jason Marquis (eight quality starts), Eric Stults (five), Ross Ohlendorf (four), Kip Wells (three) and Andrew Werner (two).

Werner is the lone member of the group who was actually in the organization during Spring Training, yet he reported with the Minor League players in March. He never pitched in a Cactus League game and his manager, Bud Black, never saw him pitch once.

"Our scouts, our player development people, the people who touched these careers, played a pivotal role in stabilizing things and having options for Buddy [Black] to use up here in the big leagues," Hinch said.

Hinch credited the Padres player development staff, especially vice president of player development and international scouting Randy Smith, as well as the organization's professional scouts, for finding guys like Marquis, Stults and the others.

Hinch, who oversees the Padres' professional scouts, was instrumental in adding to the staff. In fact, he added eight new hires shortly after joining the Padres in the fall of 2010. Professional scouts include Jeff Pickler, Chris Young, Kevin Jarvis, Scott Bream, Chris Bourjos, Mike Venafro, Jim Elliott, John Vander Wal, Jeffrey Hammonds, Joe Bochy, Mark Merila, Ray Crone and Al Hargesheimer.

"It's an accumulative effort, it takes a lot of effort and time, whether it's your player development staff working on Tom Layne's cutter or your scouting staff whose in Charlotte or Chicago looking at Eric Stults ... you never know when those adjustments will be needed or when those opinions will be needed," Hinch said.