The Padres Ryan Schimpf was honored as the top rookie in the National League for the month of July on Wednesday, with a power display that is also the Padres rookie record for home runs a month.
Pretty impressive as well considering the league essentially took a week off with the All Star Game in San Diego as well. He is the fourth Padre to receive such an award and also led all MLB’ers for home runs in July.
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Schimpf is a 28 year old rookie who the Padres signed from the Blue Jays system before the season started. Just a couple of years ago the Padres had Jedd Gyorko show impressive power numbers as a rookie, and as 2016 started it looked like Corey Spangenberg would be the next San Diego second baseman.
Yet Spangenberg has been hurt most of the season and the Padres struggled to fill the void. Jemile Weeks, Adam Rosales and others tried to fill the spot at second but could not. Meanwhile Schimpf was hitting .355 with 15 home runs in AAA El Paso after 23 home runs combined between AA and AAA the previous year for the Blue Jays. The Padres called him up.
He struggled early – but the club decided to stick it out with him and is certainly happy they did. Schimpf insists he didn’t get discouraged when he was continually overlooked for a call up before:
“I just believe in myself. Even in the past, when I was in the Minor Leagues, I believed in myself, that I’d get here at some point.”
Padres Manager Andy Green was also happy to see the turn-around after a slow start: “His first 30 at-bats, he had like two or three hits and didn’t look so good, but he was taking his walks, showing patience. Next thing you know, he’s leading all Major Leaguers in home runs in the month of July. He’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Now as Spangenberg continues to struggle in his rehab Schimpf looks to make a case to stay up here and start the 2017 campaign as the starting second baseman. His average is still catching up from that slow start, but the power certainly helped the Padres tie the NL record for consecutive games with a home run. Now we just watch to see if he can do it again in August.