Padres Making Stealing Home Look Easy

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Aug 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Padres center fielder Travis Jankowski (C) steals home plate as Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Eric Fryer (24) drops the ball during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 10, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Padres center fielder Travis Jankowski (C) steals home plate as Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Eric Fryer (24) drops the ball during the eighth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Stealing home is not an easy task. Yet with Travis Jankowski stealing it for the second time this year, the Padres have now accomplished the feat four times this year with three different players.

Jankowski took the traditional route this time, running home as the ball was tossed back to the pitcher and not even sliding. Wil Myers bolted home when the pitcher was upset at a call, and Melvin Upton Jr.wins style points for his slide to get home earlier this year.

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The 1999 Padres also stole home four times, but the Padres hadn’t stolen home before this season since Everth Cabrera did so in 2012. Now it just looks easy.

Jankowski has now stolen 25 bases on the season with the Padres. Last season between AA and AAA he stole 32, and in 2013 Lake Elsinore he stole 73 bases, but the Padres are loving the speed he brings to the field every single night.

Padres Manager Andy Green is certainly happy with what he is seeing with Jankowski, and not just his speed: “He’s been outstanding. Loving what he’s doing, loving the quality at-bats.”

Jankowski has also seen a dramatic change in his hitting, and he credits hitting coach Alan Zinter with the help in making an adjustment. Green also credits Jankowski’s mental disposition:

“My most pleasant surprise with him is you never know how someone is going to respond to adversity until they actually get there. He’s run through a few game stretches where he hasn’t hit at all. And there’s no change in his temperament.

“The guys that sulk, the guys that point — this game eats them up. And he’s got an even disposition every day. He’s upbeat, he shows up every day ready to work.”

It is certainly working out and Jankowski certainly will certainly fight for that center field spot next spring. Manuel Margot is hitting well in AAA, but the speed of Jankowski and now added hitting will really make choosing a center fielder in 2017 a hard one – in a very good way.

One thing we know for sure is that when Jankowski is on base – pitchers and catchers beware.

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