I’m sure that I was not the only Padres fan who cringed when I heard the news about Yasmani Grandal’s 50-game suspension.
Thankfully, the Padres have not necessarily been bereft of offensive production during Yasmani’s suspension to this point. In fact, now that almost half of Grandal’s suspension is finished (24 games), I thought it would be a good time to tip my cap to catcher Nick Hundley for his play over the last few weeks.
After an injury-plagued and ridiculously sub-par year last season, Hundley desperately needed to play well during somewhat of a “second-chance” stint for him this year. Grandal had all but wrestled the starting gig behind the dish away from Nick after his impressive performance as during his rookie campaign. Heck, Hundley might have even been in danger of losing playing time to veteran John Baker if his performance did not improve this spring and summer.
Grandal’s suspension however was a blessing in disguise for Hundley, and it definitely gave him his best shot to take some playing time away from the former Miami Hurricane in the future.
Unfortunately, it appeared early on that Nick’s 2012 struggles followed him into 2013. In fact, I even wrote about how much Hundley (as well as other backups thrust into starting roles) struggled over the first week and a half of the regular season to the tune of a .133 batting average.
Nick’s fortunes began to change though during the first game of a three-game set with the Dodgers at Petco Park on April 9th. Since that time, Hundley has been one of San Diego’s most productive hitters. Overall, the backstop has gone 20 for his last 55 (.364 batting average) during his last 15 games. Over said span, Hundley has scored 10 runs, clubbed 6 doubles, 2 home runs, and racked up 7 RBI’s.
I know that I will be interested to see whether or not Nick can continue to produce at the plate for the Friars over the next 26 games. Furthermore, I am definitely intrigued to see how manager Bud Black will split the playing time amongst Grandal and Hundley when Yasmani returns from his suspension.
Regardless of what transpires next month, Hundley has nevertheless done a capable job during Grandal’s absence. Moreover, the Padres have definitely benefited from his play over the season’s first 24 games.
Stats Courtesy of: Baseball Reference