Not much has gone right for the Padres this season, and their 24- record reflects just how badly things have gone so far in 2012. Whether it has been injuries, sub-par play, inopportune bad luck, or some combination of all three, San Diego just has not been able to catch a break in 2012. What has made this even worse is that last two offseasons have been highlighted by the Padres’ attempts to sign effective players from outside of the organization, and putting their efforts into locking up supposedly “key” players already on their roster.
Yet like most of this franchise’s efforts to do anything positive over its four-plus decade history, these recent moves have blown up in San Diego’s faces. The biggest examples range from: the dreadful performances of Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett, the Brad Hawpe signing which led to almost nothing and the Padres having to continue their search for a First Baseman to replace Adrian Gonzalez, extensions given to injured/unproven/inconsistent players like Cameron Maybin and Nick Hundley, etc.. And even when it appears that San Diego has signed some competent contributors to add to their roster like Carlos Quentin and Huston Street, both players have been injured and rendered largely ineffective for extended periods of time.
Yet as poorly the Padres as a whole have performed this season, what Quentin has done when he has been healthy has not been lost on me and other Friars fans. And since his return from a knee injury, Quentin has been one of the lone bright spots for the Padres this season. Thus, today I want to discuss my thoughts on Quentin’s 2012 season so far and how he has performed during his first year with the club.
Quentin in 2012
When I found out that Quentin was going to be shelved for essentially the first month and a half of the season with a knee injury I figured: “Great, who the heck is going to supply any semblance of power in the lineup?” Well, unfortunately the answer to my question was “Not really anybody” and the Padres had some major issues at the plate. Over the first 49 games of the season, the period which Quentin missed, San Diego stumbled out of the blocks and was close to 20 Games behind Los Angeles in the N.L. West cellar. In fact, I actually did a piece on how much San Diego’s Offense had struggled, and how they were on pace to set some dubious team records for misfortunes over an entire season at the plate around the time Quentin was to return. Luckily, Quentin came back from his injury last month, and has exceeded many of our expectations.
In terms of Carlos’ statistical production at the plate, quite well as we all have seen. Over his first 19 games, Carlos is hitting .367 with 6 Doubles, and already ranks second on the team with 6 Home Runs. In addition to those numbers, Quentin’s 12 Extra Base Hits total more than half of his overall Hits total (12 to 22) and give him a massive .767 Slugging Percentage. Quentin’s Walk to Strikeout ratio has also been very solid (9 to 12), and he has scored 11 Runs to go along with the 13 he has knocked in. While Quentin has not been the overall remedy to San Diego’s litany of Offensive woes, he has earned the respect of his teammates like Chase Headley who was quoted by Padres.com Beat Writer Corey Brock on the subject of Quentin’s help when he has been in the lineup:
“Without a doubt,” said Padres Third Baseman Chase Headley, who not so coincidentally had a 10-game hitting streak after Quentin returned. “I think that he gives everyone a little better chance to succeed. It’s nice to have that big bat in the middle of the lineup.”
Headley also went on in the article to say:
“In just the small time I’ve hit in front of him, I can tell I have been pitched a little different than I was before. It’s nice to have him in there. I think it sets the lineup a little better to where it should be.”
I know that at least for me, and I am sure for many of you that it has sort of hurt in a way to have watched a player like Quentin produce at such a high level, because it immediately makes me wonder “What If?” And by this I mean, “What if Quentin had been healthy during April and most of May?” “What would have happened if the middle of San Diego’s order was bolstered at the beginning of the season?” Of course though, we will never know, because it never happened, and we are simply left to ponder and aimlessly wonder.
Not only is Quentin’s surge in production a bit “too little too late” for the Padres in 2012, San Diego might consider dealing Quentin before the season even ends to a contender. Granted, for a small payroll team like the Friars, I understand where the Front Office is coming from if Quentin’s price tag is too high. But it still makes me sick at the thought of another one of the lineup’s only consistent power threats to be traded for untested prospects again. Quentin will likely have more potential suitors if he continues his productivity at the plate, and according to MLBTradeRumors.com, there are already some teams looking for a bat to upgrade their lineups which might be interested in acquiring him.
Regardless of what happens, I’ll tip my cap to Quentin for playing well and playing hard since his return. It could have been easy for many All-Stars like him to come back to a team with a lost season already on their hands, and mail it in performance wise until he was traded. Yet Quentin has done almost the opposite, and hit his way into being the Padres’ most potent weapon in the middle of the lineup. So thanks Carlos. I am not sure how much longer you will be with the team, but it has been nice to watch you in the small amount of time so far this season, and keep up the good work.