Padres Editorial: Tommy Medica vs. Will Middlebrooks


As big of a question as the outfield is with Wil Myers in center field and who is to back up, the infield is the biggest question mark of them all regarding the San Diego Padres‘ roster. There are eight (arguably nine) players vying for a maximum of seven spots.  The focus here is first base.  Who could platoon with Yonder Alonso

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What if Yangervis Solarte holds onto third base through Spring Training?  What if Cory Spangenberg catches on and takes over third base?  Or takes over second and Jedd Gyorko moves to third?  What if the Padres sign Hector Olivera and he pushes Gyorko over to the hot corner?  Will Middlebrooks would then be in direct competition with Tommy Medica for who will face left-handed pitching.  Now, it has been argued by Friars On Base’s co-editor, Billy Brost, that Carlos Quentin should get a shot at first base.  I will let his argument be his argument, and I will focus on Medica versus Middlebrooks.

Medica can play the outfield corners; Middlebrooks can play third base.  No advantage to either one there.  Both are slightly below average in terms of range, but it’s first base and it’s about the offense. Being that Alonso will be at first base for the majority of the time against right-handed pitching, let us take a look at Middlebrooks and Medica against lefties.

Tommy Medica: 2014 – .245/.288/.469/.758 in 104 PA

Career – .234/.280/.459/.739 in 118 PA

Will Middlebrooks: 2014 – .170/.228/.226/.454 in 57 PA

Career – .261/.315/.443/.758 in 276 PA

The recent advantage goes to Medica with the career advantage going to Middlebrooks.  Medica’s numbers are skewed because before being hit in the head by a pitch on August 9th, he was hitting .272/.326/.467/.794 overall.  Then he went into a massive slump.  In the 26 games following the blow to the head, Medica reached base only five times. He is a very streaky hitter, but that seems more like a fluke than inconsistency.

But Middlebrooks’ numbers are skewed for health reasons as well.  He battled injuries all year and played in only 63 games.  Even during his abysmal 2013, he still hit for a .782 OPS versus lefties.  The question with Middlebrooks is his health.

Despite slightly better career numbers, Medica seems to be the better option.  He doesn’t have the injury problems that Middlebrooks has had.  He’s better against right-handers for when Alonso needs a day off or is slumping.  And it seems obvious that Medica’s numbers dipped because of the hit-by-pitch that knocked off his helmet.  Unless Middlebrooks is back at 100-percent, cuts down on his strikeouts, and hits like he did in 2012, the job should go to Tommy Medica.

Next: Did the Padres Win The Wil Myers/James Shields Trade?

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