You can speed up the game, but you can’t slow down Padres’ outfield prospect Mallex Smith. The speedster led off a game last week in the ongoing Arizona Fall League with a double before toying with the pitcher about stealing home, then scoring on an RBI from fellow Padre prospect Jace Peterson. He is still hitting .333 in the shortened Fall Season after hitting .310 in the minors this year with 88 stolen bases.
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Smith downplayed the recent success in the article by William Boor of MLB.com; “Just [trying to] stay within my game,” Smith said. “Made a mistake in the outfield, I wanted to find a way to get that run back at the plate. I was just trying to stay within myself, wasn’t trying to do too much.”
Okay Mallex, just keep it going.
The game was also of note because it was the 9th played under the experimental 20-second pitch clock game and finished in 2:28. The overall averages in those games is now at 2:34, compared to the 2014 MLB average of 3:08. I’m actually surprised they are only that long. Of course, there are other variables at play during the regular season. You have more media and fans to contend with, not to mention President and Sausage races between innings. Yet, the new measures seem to be encouraging on at least some level. As we watched the playoff games drag on for over 4 hours this fall, it was increasingly clear that even some simple measures to get rid of the superfluous actions that rob us of our lives while watching baseball games.
Back to Mallex though. The Padres outfield is still a mess right now, with lots of decisions to make but not a whole lot of “win-wins”. Instead of deciding between All-Stars like the Dodgers have to do, the Padres are deciding between career .252 hitter Will Venable and Carlos Quentin who of course has averaged just 72 games in his 3 years in San Diego. The chances of Smith making the 2015 roster are slim to none, but 2016 he could well on point if he keeps up his speed AND his hitting in the minor leagues. For now, the youngster continues to enjoy the warm Arizona air and getting the chance to run the base paths and hopefully run up the Padres minor league ladder.