It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how San Diego Padres second baseman Ryan Schimpf has had the success he has, but his relentless pursuit of greatness ought not to be neglected.
The San Diego Padres fell short yet again Friday night, suffering a difficult defeat on a late home run to the San Francisco Giants. This puts the club at 9-16, in last place in the NL West.
But in the midst of the team’s struggles, one bright spot continues to be the power of Ryan Schimpf. Fans who paid any attention to the club last season aren’t shocked by the continued success of the 29-year-old, although the rest of baseball has yet to really notice.
Schimpf’s success thus far as a Padre is unexpected indeed, as the Louisiana native seems to have come out of nowhere. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2009 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, Schimpf entered the professional scene as a prospect, but not one on the radar of very many.
And early struggles put him further from becoming a legitimate major league prospect, taking multiple seasons to emerge from Toronto’s High-A affiliate. It wasn’t that Schimpf was playing poorly by any means, or that he wasn’t a productive member of these minor league clubs. The bottom line was, however, that the young infielder wasn’t ascending through the system at the clip of a typical future major league star.
Yet still, Schimpf made his way up the ladder, and finally to the brink of becoming a major leaguer after seven long seasons in Toronto’s system. After 2015, he was granted free agency and ended up with the Padres. Fans can most likely tell the rest of the story from here.
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Starting the season in AAA El Paso, Schimpf quickly earned an opportunity with the major league club, and didn’t disappoint. In 89 games, the 29-year-old pounded out 20 home runs while still keeping his strikeouts at a reasonable 105. Schimpf drove in 51 runs, and immediately established himself as a staple in the middle of a mostly unreliable lineup.
This season, Schimpf entered with much higher expectations. Though this weight on his shoulders may have slowed him down early on, and he is striking out at a much greater rate to start 2017, Schimpf is starting to get acclimated. Now having homered in three consecutive games, the second baseman holds the hottest bat currently in the lineup and doesn’t look to be cooling down anytime soon.
With a long minor league career like Schimpf’s, the only way to achieve major league glory is through hard work, determination, and patience. As physically gifted as Schimpf may be, these characteristics may have had more to do with his current success than anything. As for fans, is has been an enjoyable experience to watch Schimp’s dramatic rise to major league productivity. The best part of it is, the power hitter should be around for a while, and should continue to flourish in the middle of San Diego’s lineup.