I was watching the College Football National Championship tonight and I heard a familiar name – Hunter Renfroe – called as the Clemson Wide Receiver. After looking for the 2013 first round Padres draft pick out of Mississippi State – I realized I had the wrong Renfrow. (Note the spelling difference) Still, I thought I would refresh you all on what the Padres future star has been up to recently.
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A quick recap: Renfroe led his Mississippi State Bulldogs all the way to the College World Series in 2013 and found out he was drafted in the first round by the Padres just before the Series started. He led his team to the finals hitting a game-winning home run against Oregon State before losing to UCLA.
His first year in the Padres organization, in 43 total games between low A Eugene and Fort Wayne, he hit 6 total home runs with a BA of .271 and OBP of .308. He started the following year in Lake Elsinore and ended up splitting the year between A and AA San Antonio. For the season he hit 21 home runs with 75 RBI with a .267 BA and .342 OBP. Clearly he was adjusting. He finished out the year with a stint in the Arizona Fall League where he walloped another six home runs in 26 games.
2015 saw him start the year in AA where he did struggle some the previous year – at least compared to Single A. After 112 games in AA he was promoted to AAA for the final 21 games. He hit even better in his short stint in AAA than he had been hitting in AA. In that short sample size his OPS jumped to .991 the highest at any stop at any level so far.
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All that to say the Padres are watching Hunter Renfroe very carefully in 2016. He isn’t quite yet a Kris Bryant who starts the year ready to jump to the major leagues. He needs to continue to hit at the minor league level and I would also like the Padres to possibly work him out at first base some in case Wil Myers ends up on the DL again this season. Would you rather have Brett Wallace or the Padre of the Future as a back-up? Though a late season call up that doesn’t go well could harken back to memories of the failed Anthony Rizzo 2010 call-up…
The Padres will likely want another full season in the minors before calling him up and starting his service time clock, UNLESS…
The Padres still do not have a left fielder to replace Justin Upton. If they magically find themselves in a pennant race mid-season could they call up their secret weapon?