“Padres In A Pennant Race”
We are three weeks into the season, and the for the first time since AJ Preller took over as GM and Andy Green stepped into the dugout to manage, we can say, the Padres are in a pennant race.
Of course we’re just three weeks into this, and thanks to 13-games early, a couple of series with the lowly Giants, and more against the rebuild Diamondbacks, the Padres are off to a nice start.
Once you pay your taxes on the 15th, and the schedule turns to May, they play real people, the Dodgers, the Brewers and the Mets, all upper echelon teams.
This start of the campaign is not so much about who you are beating, but rather, how the kids are holding up.
Some good, some struggling, and that’s to be expected. This is not a sprint, but a marathon, a 162-games worth of baseball.
A look at what we see so far:
MANNY MACHABO….That is some glove, and we have seen an occasional burst of power. He entered this weekend series batting just (.234) but that is a small sample size. He seems so fluid, as if the game comes so easy to him.
FERNANDO TATIS…The glove, always the glove. Gifted, fast, quick twitch, wow. He has shown some long ball, and is hitting (.233) but he has been everything advertised as a 20-year old phenom.
IAN KINSLER…A strong spring, but a slump at the start of the season, and now the kid Luis Urias is getting some opportunities. Kinsler will play again and will contribute.
ERIC HOSMER…The glove remains good, the big at bats are still missing, as witnessed by this (.213) batting average and his 23M a year salary. Waiting for stardom to arrive.
WIL MYERS..A good start with the bat, and glaring deficiencies everywhere with the glove. Lost flyballs, bad angles to bly balls, dropped fly balls. It seems the outfield has land mines in it when he’s out there tracking ball down. What to do? Hopefully not playing him in centerfield.
FRANMIL REYES…A really slow start, hitting (.091) the first two weeks, but he does hit with power. He still lumbers out there in the outfield. Probably more platoon than anything.
HUNTER RENFROE…Probably the most complete guy in the garden and the quandary, play him all over, or plant him at one spot and let him play?
AUSTIN HEDGES…The mystery of his streak hitting continues, but there is no doubt about his glove and leadership abilities.
FRANCISCO MEJIA….Every once in awhile you let him catch, but that looks like an adventure on defense. Great debate, should he be polishing his craft everyday in El Paso?
ERIC LAUER-JOEY LUCCHESI….Pitching so well, beyond their years. Despite an odd bad inning, or a grand slam home run or a bases loaded triple, these guys weather the bad inning and come right back at you. They are anchors, young anchors in this rotation.
NICK MARGEVICIUS…This has been a real surprise, considering he never pitched above AA, and he does not seem rattled by anything..
MATT STRAHM….Maybe the glitch in the rotation so far, especially since he was so good in the Cactus League. They need patience with him considering it’s been over two years since he was a starter.
CHRIS PADDACK….He is backing up his big bravado with real major league stuff. The key is to monitor pitch counts, and stressful innings, but he has no fear out on the mind Very good.
PEDRO AVILA…That major league debut was shaky at first, startling after that, for someone who had not pitched above Class A ball. He spent four years toiling in the low minors, but seems to be growing with a wide array of pitches. For his debut, not bad.
KIRBY YATES-CRAIG STAMMEN…Excellent out of the gate, Stammen setting up Yates. Main worry, not Yates 7-saves already, but the overuse factor. Lots of appearances already.
DOWN ON THE FARM….As good as it has been up top, it’s not been good out of the gate for the kid pitchers. Cal Quantrill has an (18.00-ERA) in El Paso. Logan Allen is at (19.80) in El Paso. Adrian Morejon (10.13) in Amarillo. Lots of starts still to come, so we bide out time watching and writing about them. Small sample size, lots of summer starts still to come.