Maybe there’s some sort of magic in the Padres’ minor league catching gear.
I’ve talked some about Luis Martinez, the organization’s Double-A starter, who is hitting .319/.398/.444.
At the level below Martinez, there’s Michael Collins, hitting an absurd .333/.363/.690.
Then, down in Low-A, Griffin Benedict is hitting .359/.444/.564.
Needless to say, having three catchers on the farm who show signs of offensive life is a huge plus, especially in conjunction with a young major league starter (Nick Hundley) and promising Triple-A backstop (Dusty Ryan, who is the one minor league starting catcher in a slump to open the year).
Developing up-the-middle talent is huge. With Drew Cumberland eating High-A pitching alive, not to mention Lance Zawadzki, Logan Forsythe, and Everth Cabrera all in the future middle infield mix, the Padres look to have good middle infield depth. Now, it looks like they’re going to be catcher-rich too. None of these players will be stars, but the Padres look to have four or five guys in a few years who would all be good enough to keep the position from becoming essentially a second pitcher in the lineup.
So many catchers (cough, anyone who’s caught for the Astros this decade, cough) fall under that umbrella, and some shortstops and second basemen are near-useless at the plate as well. You can always find 1B/LF types who can hit (there’re a million washing around in Triple-A, for starters), so if you can develop a solid catcher/SS/2B combo offensively, the rest of the offense falls into place–just look at the Phillies.
The Padres may be able to follow suit.