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1998 Playoffs

The Scout's View: Padres

SI asked big league scouts who have closely followed the playoff teams to help prepare these reports. The scouts were promised anonymity in return for their candor, and here's what they revealed.

 

Posted: Wed October 7, 1998

LINEUP

Quilvio Veras, 2B
Good fastball hitter who likes to go the other way. Weakness is breaking pitches.

Steve Finley, CF
Had off-year with the bat. Dead fastball hitter who likes the pitch on the inside half of the plate. Gives up on balls down and away. Superior centerfielder.

Tony Gwynn, RF
Hits the ball where it's pitched and doesn't try to do too much with it. Weakness is fastballs up and in.

Greg Vaughn, LF
Changed stance and became productive again this year. Good fastball hitter who is a more disciplined batter. Show him the ball inside, and get him out down and away.

Ken Caminiti, 3B
Capable of unloading a home run at any time. Good low-ball hitter. Late in the season did a better job taking the pitch away and driving it to the opposite field.

Wally Joyner, 1B
Good contact hitter who likes to go the other way. Home run power is down. Weakness is up and in.

Carlos Hernandez, C
Dead fastball hitter. Weak on breaking pitches. On defense, has a good arm and quick release.

Chris Gomez, SS
Likes ball over the middle of the plate. Can bust him inside, and he'll chase the breaking pitch.

Bench

1B-C Jim Leyritz prefers the ball out over the plate where he can hit it with power to right-center. Can work him inside. Will chase breaking pitches. OF Mark Sweeney has home run power off the bench and a good eye. Ditto for OF John Vander Wal, a first-ball, fastball hitter. C Greg Myers is a good backup and lefthanded bat off the bench. Has home run power. 3B George Arias is an average defensive player with an erratic arm. INF Andy Sheets and OF Ruben Rivera have trouble with hard stuff and don't figure to be factors.

Rotation

Kevin Brown, RHP
Four quality pitches: sinking and running fastballs in the 91 to 96 mph range, a split-finger and a very sharp slider. Let him get ahead of you, and you're dead. You pretty much have to sit on a fastball—you'll usually get it.

Andy Ashby, RHP
Curveball with sharp top-to-bottom break is his out pitch. Appeared fatigued down stretch and, perhaps because of tiredness, didn't throw his split-fingered fastball much late in the season.

Joey Hamilton, RHP
Fastball sinks and runs, but curve isn't real sharp. Slider is his out pitch. Velocity on fastball is good (91 to 93) but down from 93 to 96 in past years.

Sterling Hitchcock, LHP
Splitter with good downward action, which he used more often in second half, is his out pitch. Makes all his other pitches (fastball, curve, slider) more effective.

Bullpen

RH Trevor Hoffman has fastball that's pretty straight, but he also has a slider, a big overhand curve and a changeup that's his out pitch. Having all those pitches is huge plus for a closer. Throws any pitch at any time. LH Randy Myers throws more sliders than he used to, especially to righthanded batters, because fastball is pretty straight and only around 87 to 88 mph. Doesn't have closer's stuff anymore, but he can be effective against lefthanders. RH Dan Miceli has good movement on two- and four-seam fastballs and relies on curve and splitter as out pitches. Doesn't quite have the stuff to be a closer. RH Donne Wall has straight fastball and sinking fastball plus slow curve, but best pitch is changeup with good downward action. RH Brian Boehringer can be inconsistent; sharp slider is out pitch. LH Mark Langston has the big curve, still out pitch. Needs to spot circle changeup. Fastball isn't so fast and doesn't have much movement. Time's running out on his career.

Bottom Line

San Diego lineup has several guys who can be pitched to, but there's still a lot of power there. Padres don't have exceptional team speed. With Brown at top of a strong rotation, San Diego has a chance to beat Braves if its pitching can hang in with Atlanta's.

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