From Peoria: Thoughts Heading into Padres Spring Game #19
Arrived in Peoria last night. Heading out to see the San Diego Padres play the Cincinnatti Reds tonight at the Peoria Sports Complex. Here are some thoughts heading into my first live glimpse of the Friars in 2016…
I’m excited about Andy Green as the new manager. I have no idea if he’s going to win with this team, but I like his approach. He’s smart, he collects information, he makes decisions. He’s a leader. And after a somewhat rudderless 2015, it’s good to see someone taking charge at the helm.
More from Padres News
- Jurickson Profar free agency update likely rules out Padres reunion
- Fernando Tatis Jr. may not take to outfield move after Xander Bogaerts addition
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
It looks like the Padres are going to be a team that gets guys on base at the top of the order. Jon Jay has been hitting leadoff for the last week, and recent comments by Green indicate that he may like Cory Spangenberg hitting second. Jay has a good career on-base percentage of .354. and Spangy’s .333 OBP last year showed promise that his minor-league rate of .353 might be transferable to the bigs.
Jay has hit second more than leadoff in his career, and with somewhat better results, with a BA/OBP of .270/.343 hitting first vs. .298/.361 hitting second, and Spangenberg is much more of a stolen base threat than Jay. So it seems like a re-ordering of the top two spots in the lineup might be the longer-term solution. For now, perhaps Green wants Spangenberg to be able to watch how a veteran hitter approaches the leadoff spot, while hitting in the slightly lower-pressure two hole. But with his plus-plus speed, Cory will end up a leadoff hitter sooner rather than later.
The two Padres with the most games played this Spring are Jabari Blash and Jemile Weeks. Blash, with his monstrous power, carries the potential to change a lot of scores with a single swing. But he’s only gotten six hits in 29 Spring ABs, and a .207 average will be hard to carry in the Padres’ lineup. At this point, Blash looks a little like the Astros’ Chris Carter, another “three-true-outcomes” guy. When the ‘stros were winning 51 and 70 games in 2013 and 2014, they could suffer through his .225 BA since he was mashing 30 homers. But all those additional outs eventually get in the way of winning, and once Houston started looking toward the postseason, Carter’s ABs dropped to under 400. The Padres’ ability to win this season may determine just how much of Blash we get to see.
Green is clearly getting a good look at Weeks for the utility role. The 29-year old switch hitter has been one of the top Spring hitters, raking at a .429 clip and leading the team with eight ribbies, and I’ve heard he has shown above average range at both middle infield positions. Meanwhile, incumbent Alexi Amarista is hitting a weak .185. Other candidates for the role – Nick Noonan, Adam Rosales, and Jose Pirela – while having decent Springs, are simply not hitting the way Weeks has been. And a .400 BA in Spring has put a lot of guys on rosters over the years.
Next: Padres Bats Explode Early in Win Against Dodgers
Really wondering how the Catcher situation is going to play out. Preller clearly would like to move one of his three backstops, but trades keep stopping short of an actual transaction. Derek Norris was one of my favorites last year, but I was really surprised when I heard about the lack of leadership from players in the clubhouse. On the field, Norris seems like exactly the kind of guy who would get teammates fired up, but perhaps it doesn’t carry over into the clubhouse. Too bad. I expect he’ll be the one who’s gone by midseason, if not in the next two weeks.
I’m disappointed that Manuel Margot has already been assigned to AAA. I was hoping to see him track down a ball or three in Center. Oh well, it’s just a matter of time.
I think I’m gonna need a scorecard to keep track of all the pitchers. Way too many new faces to learn… but competition in the Spring is exciting. Personally, I’m rooting for Robbie Erlin to make the rotation. And I think we’re going to get a kick out of the Fernando Rodney experience.
Almost time to head to the ballpark. Sunscreen, check. Tony Gwynn 3000 hits t-shirt, check. Unopened water bottles to bring into the park, check. Go Padres!