“Bad Baseball Now-Better Baseball Coming-Starting Tonight”
This Petri Dish Experiment of a baseball season is almost thankfully over for the Padres, the fans, the media.
The team has 3-more homesteads left after they finish up with the Angels and Diamondbacks this week.
This week may well be the beginning of next year.
The team continues to move the chairs on the deck of the sinking season Titanic around, and may be about to embark on what a true everyday lineup looks like.
Eric Hosmer has been rock solid at first base, though not hitting for much power.
Across the diamond, Wil Meyers will move into the 3rd base role, the 5th different position he has played since coming here from Tampa Bay years ago. He can hit, and he likely can master the hot corner.
Although there has been a committee at 2nd base, Luis Urias will be here in less than a year from the minor leagues.
Ditto for Fernando Tatis, the shortstop of the future, sitting out the rest of this season with rehab from wrist surgery after back to back quality minor league seasons..
Freddy Galvis has been the glue that has held the infield together, playing shortstop like no one has played in years-decades, maybe back to the Ozzie Smith-Gary Templeton era. Keeping him around will be pricey, but he has played so well here.
The utility guys will be part of all this, Corey Spangenberg, Carlos Asuaje and the occasional long ball blasts of Christian Villanueva, who hit (.338) with power in April, but since May 1st, has a composite batting average of (.200) but does hit some home runs.
The outfield now appears set, if Myers is the 3rd baseman. Hunter Renfroe continues to grow on offense and defense, and can play both corner roles.
Manny Margot has stormed back from a bad first half, and is back doing what he did last year in center field.
Maybe there’s a platoon in left between Franchy Cordero and Franmill Reyes. Cordero has gifts but is streaky. Reyes has been a surprise at times with the bat, but a bit of a challenge with the glove.
Travis Jankowski becomes a key multi-position guy, with critical abilities to get on base, run the bases, and chase fly balls down in the field.
Austin Hedges remains the lead catcher and is hitting better now than ever. And Francisco Mejia is waiting in the wings to be part of the receiving corps by next spring.
The biggest question going forward will be the health of all the arms on the mound, in what likely next year will be the youngest starting rotation in baseball.
AJ Preller’s blueprint is not yet complete, because the young hurlers have to prove they can be trusted start to start, but at least there are lots of numbers to give a look see too, up top, and as many at least 5-more starters waiting in line in El Paso and San Antonio.
Up next will be Logan Allen, Cal Quantrill, Walker Lockett, Miguel Diaz and Chris Paddack.
I looked at the Phillies this past weekend. They’ve built with the farm system. Two years ago horrible. Last year growing. This year tied for 1st place with Atlanta. And the Phillies are not a complete team yet.
The Padres, if they can keep this lineup on the field together, they could be the Phillies a year or two from now.
And that’s a lot better than what they have been in the last decade in San Diego. This week at home should be a sneak preview to all things next year.