Hunter’s probably been San Antonio’s best hitter this year. After putting up a lackluster .261/.294/.331 line there last year, the 22-year-old made dramatic strides with his plate discipline, which turned him into an effective leadoff man. Hunter hit .308/.375/.423 with a sparkling 22/31 K/BB. He stole nine bases but was caught seven times.
After a number of head-scratching promotions, notably that of Chalk (.183/.267/.240 in San Antonio earlier this year) and Mitch Canham (.212/.295/.303), it seemed that the Padres had some sort of inverse meritocracy going on. More likely, they were being cautious with the guys they considered important to the future of the organization, and moving up less important players (I hate to put it that way). But finally, Hunter has been given the promotion he deserves.
As for Chalk, his demotion is odd, as his bat came to life after the promotion. He hit .313/.375/.388 in 80 at-bats, which is a decent-enough sample to figure he was doing something right. Obviously, it’s tough to believe a guy can put on 255 points of OPS after a promotion, but there’s no question that something in the promotion helped Chalk, so demoting him in the midst of his hot hitting seems unwarranted. Why not Craig Cooper, who’s more limited defensively and has completely fallen off the map offensively in Triple-A?
Well, at least the Padres got the promotion half right. Hunter’s still young enough to add some pop, and he seems to have finally gotten the message that he needs to work the count. He projects to be another Tony Gwynn Jr. sort in the majors, if not better.