Jankowski the Padres Answer in Center?


The Padres made a splash with their offseason acquisitions, but created a right handed heavy, strikeout prone lineup.  The thought was that this lineup could do some damage against the left handed in the NL West like Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw.  Unfortunately, that has not been the case at all.  The Padres are actually ranked 27th in the league (yes, 4th to last) with a .234 average against lefties.

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As far back as the offseason, Padre fans have been wishing for a center fielder with speed for the leadoff position and a left handed bat.  In fact, there were rumors that AJ Preller was looking into a trade for Ender Inciarte of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Now it appears that the solution may have been under Preller’s nose the entire time.  Enter Travis Jankowski.  Jankowski was left off the Padres’ radar while he recovered from a wrist injury he endured from crashing into a wall to rob a hit.  Since his return, he has hit for .316 in Double A, and .392 in Triple A.

With the trade of Will Venable, Jankowski earned his call up and got off to a torrid start, going 5-9 in his first three games.  Tuesday night, Jankowski wasn’t able to collect a hit.

Jankowski has gotten three starts since his call up, each time hitting in the 9th slot.  While I see why this is necessary to break him into the big leagues, I am eager to see when Murphy will cut him loose at the lead off position.  With the playoffs most certainly out of reach for the Padres, the last few weeks give a perfect opportunity for Preller to decide how he is going to handle the offseason.

I like the speed Jankowski provides, he could certainly be a threat when he gets on base.  What concerns me is that fact that major league infielders are superior defensively, and he won’t be able to beat out as many infield hits as he was in the minors.  From all the reports, it seems like this is the very essence of his offensive game.  Only forcing the kid to hit in the lead-off position consistently will prove if the Padres really have something here.

Will it be Jankowski, Kemp, and Myers in the outfield?  Can Preller somehow resign Justin Upton?  What is happening at shortstop?  Plenty of questions remain heading towards the end of the season.  How do you see this all shaking out?

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