Infielder Anthony Contreras was selected in the ninth round of the 2005 draft by the Giants, but didn’t last long there.
After a miserable .227/.246/.277 showing (in the Cal League of all places) in 2007, Contreras was cut. He spent most of 2008 in independent ball before the Padres signed him to fill an extra spot in Low-A. He hit well there, but at 24, it didn’t seem to matter.
Contreras was pushed to Double-A at 25 last year and came crashing back to earth, at .248/.283/.347.
That should have been the end of the story, and it looked like it was going to be in late March, when the Padres cut Contreras and 19 others from minor league camp. Many of the 19 were bigger surprises than a 26-year-old with a career .632 OPS.
But when Josh Barfield went down with an injury after five games in Triple-A, the Padres didn’t promote anyone. Instead, they gave Contreras a call.
Remarkably, he’s excelled. Contreras is batting .293/.396/.390 and even hit his first Triple-A home run yesterday in a 7-1 win over Memphis. Contreras is 1-for-1 in steals and also has an even 7/7 K/BB ratio.
It’s easy to root for an underdog like Contreras. Obviously, he’s unlikely to keep his hot streak up given his track record, but who knows? Weirder things have happened. Just don’t get carried away because of 16 games.