San Diego outfielder Hunter Renfroe has a bright future ahead of him. Late last week, the 24-year-old was named the Padres’ prospect of the year.
Hunter Renfroe has already made a splash at the major league level. The Mississippi native was a first round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 2013, and he has already impressed in limited time while on the big league roster. Late last week, Renfroe was named the hitting prospect of the year within the Padres organization.
For the Padres, it seemed to have been a no-brainer. Spending the entire 2016 minor league season with the AAA El Paso Chihuahuas, the former Mississippi State Bulldog hit and incredible .306 while driving in 105 runs and hitting 30 home runs. This dominance resulted in Renfroe being called up to the Padres, where he started each of the final eleven games of the regular season after El Paso’s season was completed.
With the Padres, the young outfielder did not slow down. Hitting .409 and driving in 13 runs in his first full week in the majors, Renfroe was given the National League Player of the Week award in the final week of the 2016 regular season. There was also no evidence the rookie would ever slow down, if not for the season coming to a close. ‘
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In total, Renfroe’s successful minor league career and rapid rise to the Padres has included a .281 batting average. Most importantly, however, is the improvement this rookie has shown throughout each step of the process. Completing this process with the second most home runs in all of AAA is more than enough to warrant this recognition. The offensive explosion from Renfroe this season makes him one of the future bats in the Padres’ lineup which fans will look forward to soon watching every day.
Renfroe is still listed third on San Diego’s top thirty prospects, but it appears that his minor league career is now over for good. With so many positions open this year, and with youth being an emphasis, Renfroe will enter as a favorite to win an everyday spot in the lineup for 2017.
What’s most encouraging about Renfroe though is the combination of youth and a professional attitude that he brings. Now, as the transition from being a minor league player to a major league player begins, it is a good time to reflect on a great career in San Diego’s system. It is also time to look forward and generate excitement because of what Renfroe can bring the Padres in the future. He isn’t hitting prospect of the year for no reason, as this young player can be a key piece in San Diego’s rebuild.