Though it didn’t help the team to a great extent in terms of wins late in 2016, the youth of the San Diego Padres performed excellently in their limited time with the franchise. Along with budding power threat Ryan Schimpf, outfielder Hunter Renfroe personifies what it means to be a rising star.
Just a day after completing his short 2016 season with the Padres, Renfroe was awarded the National League player of the week honors according to the team’s official website.
The 24-year-old rookie outfielder out of Mississippi State excelled in his first eleven games with the Padres. After three full seasons in San Diego’s minor league system as well as part of 2016, Renfroe received the opportunity of a lifetime on September 21 which he did not squander.
As expected, the third ranked prospect played solid defense and pleasantly surprised many fans at the plate. Granted, these stats are derived from a small sample size, but it is no accident that Renfroe hit .371 in over a week as a Padre. This past week, the time which the award is designated for, the 2013 first round draft pick really began to turn heads.
Renfroe put forth four multi-hit performances in a single week, highlighted by a seven RBI game in a 7-1 victory over the NL West champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also, even though Renfroe is not built like a power hitter, his long home run at Petco Park revealed that this youngster is a complete package.
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In total, Renfroe hit .409 with three home runs, while driving in 13 in his first full week with the Padres. This was easily enough for him to earn National League player of the week, continuing to get himself the attention that he has earned.
Obviously, San Diego fans can not instantly label Renfroe as a hall of fame player or even a franchise player. After all, he has only played eleven major league games. But the Padres and their fans have to be encouraged about the start he has gotten off to in his major league career. It is unknown what role Renfroe will have entering spring training in 2017, but he will certainly be a front runner for an every day outfield position. For the Padres, this is very encouraging.
Renfroe’s performance this week just goes to show how much optimism there really is surrounding the San Diego organization at this point. Every team will feel good about themselves entering next season, but the Padres, unlike many teams, actually have reason to. Their young talent which is only beginning to show their value is reason enough for this optimism.