So here we stand in 2015 with less than 4 months until Opening Day. The Padres made some major moves in their outfield but still have some holes to fill at SS and 1B.
First base seems unlikely to be solved via a trade. This leaves incumbent Yonder Alonso and Tommy Medica to man first base, with some other options like Seth Smith thrown out and even Carlos Quentin who has certainly been pushed out of the outfield situation with the better talent and his own knees. We know Smith won’t happen now with him off the team and Quentin still being here when the season starts is just a painful possibility to consider.
Tommy Medica lit up spring training last year to earn a surprise roster spot. After an early season struggle he was sent back down to the minors, then recalled when Alonso went down to an injury. He had some highlights, including nearly hitting for the cycle and even a defensive gem here:
In the minors, first base was his dominant position. He played 133 games at 1B and only 27 games at other positions. Then of course after hitting his way on the Opening Day Roster they put him in the outfield until Alonso got hurt for awhile. Up here he has played 65 games at 1B and 22 in the outfield and started 3 at DH to boot.
The results have been pretty mixed. After lighting things up in 2013 and finishing the year at .290 in 19 games with 3 homers, he ended up 2014 at a dismal .233 with 9 homers and 75 strikeouts in his 102 games played.
It was disappointing too because I was only looking to Medica to take advantage of the opportunity to make the most of it. He was overall very streaky and tough to know what Tommy Medica would be coming to the ballpark.
One aspect that will be interesting to see next year is how the new offensive additions affect the entire lineup – in terms of how pitchers pitch to certain hitters differently than perhaps they did in 2014. Not that I’m particularly saying pitchers pitched around Medica but who would you rather pitch to: Medica or Chris Nelson? Nelson. Now who would you rather pitch to: Medica or Justin Upton. Medica in a heartbeat.
Overall it certainly is true that hitting can be contagious. The Padres were able to finish the year strong and all of a sudden the team that couldn’t hit a thing couldn’t stop hitting the months of August and September to salvage the season and end at their best record since 2010.
Medica is cheap and was still just a rookie last year. He among others could really benefit from learning from these other veteran right-handed power hitters on the Padres roster like Justin Upton and Matt Kemp.
This Spring Training we should see some intense position battles, as all the under-performers have seen that AJ Preller is not messing around and has no fear of shipping players who don’t want to be here somewhere else. Another strong spring could help solidify Medica at first base and the Padres infield would take a more solid approach.