Padres Editorial: Yangervis Solarte Should Lead-off


Lead-off is one of the biggest questions for San Diego Padres‘ skipper Bud Black.  After arguing that Derek Norris should lead-off, it’s time to argue for Yangervis Solarte for that position in the lineup. He did it last year and he should do it again. 

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The biggest problem with having Norris lead off is not his lack of speed, but his lack of experience batting first.  With a career .254/.348/.458/.805 slashline when batting second and a .292/.320/.667/.987 slashline for batting second in 2014, Norris can bat in that spot in the lineup. Solarte spent the plurality of his games batting lead-off in the one season he has spent in the majors.  In his 29 games and 127 plate appearances leading off, he hit for a .323 OBP – 11 points higher than the total NL OBP.  Not great, but pretty good.

Solarte has a grand total of zero stolen bases in the majors. But last year he proved that he was a better lead-off option than Will Venable and Cameron Maybin – two guys with speed.  Venable and Maybin hit for .288 and .290 OBP respectively in 2014.

Solarte will enter the 2015 season as a 27-year old indicating that he will be entering his prime. Will that be offset by a sophomore slump? Possibly. His biggest competitions will come in Will Middlebrooks and Cory Spangenberg – a lead-off option himself.  Spangenberg has very little experience which will be the biggest knock against him making the team. Regardless, he will hopefully be tested at shortstop. If he would perform wel,l he would likely be asked to shift away from the hot corner due to the hitting vacuum currently at shortstop.

In all likelihood, that leaves third base up to Solarte and Middlebrooks. Solarte ought to have the clear advantage based off of the performances of the two players. Middlebrooks has been terrible over the past two years and has had injury problems. Plus Middlebrooks is right-handed in what will be a right-handed heavy lineup. Look for Solarte to have the advantage there and to be one of if not the best options for leading off for the Padres in 2015.

Next: Yoan Moncada To Make Decision Soon

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