Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
I think all of us know how great Amarista was defensively at SS last season. He had a good couple months to close out the season. For Amarista, the only hitting statistic that matters is his OBP, which was .285 in the first half and .287 in the second. Yes, he came up with some clutch RBIs. But a .286 OBP is not going to cut it. He even seemed to wear down a little at the plate as he hit for only a .255 OBP in September. For Amarista to be anything but a liability at the plate he needs to hit for at least a .310 OBP – 24 points above his career high.
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For a full analysis on Clint Barmes click here. Basically, Barmes is in a similar position as Amarista. Neither are good enough offensively to take over the position full-time, though both are certainly good defensively.
Does Preller have something up his sleeve? Was Barmes brought in to backup Spangenberg? Certainly Preller couldn’t be relying on Barmes and Amarista to play SS… Spangenberg didn’t play one minor league game at SS. During his time at 3B last season, he proved that he doesn’t have a great arm. But neither did David Eckstein, who played short for most of his career. That would free up Amarista to go back to being the Swiss army night of the Padres.
Peterson had a paltry .161 OBP in the majors while hitting .307/.402/.447/.849 in the minors (mostly AAA). His range factor at every position he played in the majors was noticeably better than the league average: 5.28 at 2B (4.66 league average) and 2.84 at 3B (2.52 league average). Peterson has a better arm than Spangenberg and has played SS throughout his minor league career. Unfortunately, he clearly was not ready to face major league pitching in his age 24 season.
Shortstop is the biggest weakness for the Padres. They have to put in someone who isn’t capable offensively (Amarista, Barmes), is unproven offensively (Peterson), or someone who is unproven offensively and has a questionable arm (Spangenberg).
Bud Black should: Ideally, Peterson will be ready. If he forces himself onto the team during Spring Training, he might be the best option at SS. Realistically, Peterson is probably not going to be mature enough as a hitter to make the Opening Day roster. So Bud Black should see if Spangenberg is capable of playing SS during spring training. If he is, and Peterson isn’t ready, then play Spangenberg at short. This would give Solarte more playing time – a more productive option than Amarista or Barmes. If Spangenberg can’t play SS then Black will have to split time at SS between Amarista and Barmes. While the nod goes to Amarista, Black should go with the hotter bat.