One piece the Padres’ seemed to be missing in 2016 was a truly consistent power bat. One question entering 2017 is; where will the power come from?
The San Diego Padres ranked just 21st in overall hitting in 2016, driving in a total of 654 runs and blasting only 177 home runs. With a young pitching staff that needs room for error, these types of numbers will not get it done moving forward.
When examining San Diego’s lineup, it is evident that they have potential. The problem is, their power sources are limited. Still, they do have some young proven power hitters who could break out next season, driving in an abundance of runs.
the most likely player to provide power for the Padres is Wil Myers. Myers had a career year in 2016, hitting 28 home runs and driving in 94. The lone Padre starting in the all star game, Myers is clearly the leader in this young lineup.
It may not be fair to expect any more from the 25-year-old, but the Padres may need more. Hitting cleanup seems to be the most likely role for Myers, meaning that he will have the most chances to drive in runs. Even though he did this very well in 2016, there were still several crucial missed opportunities. Myers is going to have to become a more clutch power hitter if San Diego wants to have a juggernaut in their lineup.
Of course, what Myers can bring is evident. The question is, where else can power come from? It is, after all, still a collective effort. One answer comes in the form of Yangervis Solarte. The 205 pound third baseman has only hit 39 home runs in his career, but had a career high 15 last season.
Especially known for his defense, Solarte can provide a bit of a spark in the lineup as well, driving in runs. His role will likely be as a sixth or seventh hitter, but will still be placed in important situations. What San Diego can get from him as far as power goes will have a significant impact on their offensive production in 2017. Twenty home runs seems like a good number to shoot for, but more is always welcomed.
Getting power from the hot corner is always a dramatic bonus, but it isn’t always possible. If Solarte can’t provide what is desired of him, the Padres may have to look towards their rookies, hoping that they grow up fast.
Fortunately, San Diego called up two very powerful rookies towards the end of 2016. Hunter Renfroe and Ryan Schimpf are expected to spend their first full season in the major leagues in 2017, providing a major boost to the major league club. In fact, if they can continue to improve at the rate they have, San Diego will have two additional forces to be reckoned with in the lineup.
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Schimpf hit twenty bombs in limited time in 2016, and he probably would have led the team in this category if he had spent an entire season at the big league level. This is very promising, as an area which the Padres have lacked production in could be one of their strengths come 2017 due to Schimpf.
Another young player who can provide a spark in the power department is Renfroe. Renfroe took the team by storm at the end of 2016 when he hit four home runs and drove in 14 in just 11 games. It is a small sample size, but these eye-popping stats show that the 24-year-old can be an offensive force in the future.
More and more in today’s MLB, home runs are necessary to win games. For the Padres though, where power is going to come from in 2017 is unknown. Fortunately though, there is promise, as the roster consists of some young players who have proven their potential. Next season, these players will be needed for the team to continue moving towards contention.