Padres Editorial: The Padres Options at Shortstop
By Jeremy Loeks
Aug 30, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Alexi Amarista (5) hits a game winning walk off single in the tenth inning to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The second option for Bud Black is the incumbent utility infielder Alexi Amarista. The Little Ninja has been a fan favorite since arriving in San Diego and I have to agree he is fun to watch. He plays with fantastic defense and speed. Amarista is almost a throwback player, playing with grit and heart. To me he epitomizes the underdog, looking at him you would never guess he played in the Major Leagues. MLB.com has the left-handed hitter listed at 5’6” weighing 150 pounds; making him the kind of player that you just have to cheer for. That being said, his offensive numbers leave a lot to be desired, in his three-year career, he has hit .234/.279/.336 with 15 home runs.
Bud Black has a couple of things to like about slotting Alexi Amarista in at shortstop. First like I stated before, is his grit and determination. He will give 110 percent every day and will have fun doing it. Secondly, Black knows him; he has been on the team in the past and hopefully by now Black trusts his young infielder. Another advantage Amarista has over Clint Barmes, is his age, at 25 he is just coming into his prime and hopefully will improve this season. To me Alexi Amarista is the dessert of Black’s shortstop options. He looks good playing, is exciting to watch, but after a full season you realize too much of him is bad for your team. He certainly has some tools, a great glove, good arm and good speed, but he will struggle to hit.
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I think that Alexi Amarista has to be the favorite to win the starting job as the Padres head into spring training. It’s time for the Little Ninja to get a shot and the job should be his to lose. If I have to choose between an aging infielder who can field but will struggle to hit and a young infielder who plays with heart and will struggle to hit. I am going to choose the young player every time.