Can We Start Getting Excited About Carlos Quentin Yet?


During the winter, it was just news.  It was a transaction on paper, a name for a name.  When the Padres traded two lower-level prospects for Carlos Quentin, the move was intriguing, but it was nothing more than words in the news.  Now the spring training has arrived and Quentin is in a Padres uniform, it’s real.

Unlike past sluggers who have come to die in San Diego’s large park, Quentin seems ready to tackle the challenge of hitting in Petco.  Quentin is a pull-hitting right-handed batter.  With San Diego that should serve him well.  Balls hit to right field generally find gloves and not the stands.  That’s part of the reason lefties struggle so much in San Diego.  However, balls hit down the line to left and hit to dead left have a better shot at escaping the confines of the park.  As shown but his spray chart at US Cellular Field, Quentin has proven to hit more balls to left than anywhere else.

Beyond that, Quentin is a local guy who truly wants who it seems truly wants to succeed in San Diego.  He’s a career .252/.346/.490 hitter who averages 32 home runs per year.  Of course, his home runs numbers will dip while playing with the Padres, but even if he can average between 20-25 home runs, he will be an asset to the club.  He doesn’t strike out as much as you’d expect from a power-hitter, but he also doesn’t walk as much as you’d like.  However, Quentin makes up for it with his power and his ability to find gaps.  In San Diego, if a player can smash a ball into the outfield gaps, that player will find himself on second and in a lot of cases even third base.

We haven’t seen much of Quentin yet this spring.  The team has just started taking live batting practice off pitchers.  But we will see more and more each day.  Quentin’s true value won’t be known until he starts playing in the home ball park, but the excitement level is building.  Just about any player that comes to San Diego will be treated with a fair amount of skepticism due to the destructive nature of Petco Park, but Quentin can overcome that with a quick start to the season.

As baseball’s regular season approaches, Quentin will be one of the more interesting story lines to follow.  How much of the Padres success will be tied to him?  How successful will he be?  Can he break the offensive curse that is San Diego’s home ball park.