San Diego Padres: Manuel Margot’s memorable year

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 08: Manuel Margot
PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 08: Manuel Margot /

At the ripe old age of 22 (soon to be 23), Manuel Margot will have played his first full year in the major leagues, welcomed his first child, spent a month on the disabled list and capably manned the crucial position of center field.

Manuel Margot came to the Padres in 2015 from the Boston Red Sox in the Craig Kimbrel trade, which also netted Carlos Asuaje, Javier Guerra, and LHP Logan Allen. Both Margot (excluding a stint on the DL) and second baseman Asuaje have been regulars in the lineup all year. At the time of the trade from Boston, Margot ranked 24th on MLB’s preseason prospect list. At every level in the minor leagues, he was one of the youngest players, as he is now on this youthful Padres’ team.

Before straining his calf in May, Margot led all National League rookies in batting average (.265), hits (30), and slugging percentage (.425). As the season winds down he is batting .268/.316/.423/.739 and has 116 hits (including 15 doubles, six triples, 13 home runs), 14 stolen bases and 30 walks against 91 strikeouts.

Margot’s performance matches up well with other MLB rookies, as he is tenth in walks, third in stolen bases and tied for fourth in triples. Although not earth shattering, his WAR (FanGraphs) is 2.2 and highest on the team. His defensive WAR (ESPN) stands at 0.9, second only to Austin Hedges (1.1).

According to his ESPN profile, Margot “doesn’t score as many runs as traditional leadoff hitters (48 runs in 107 games) due to his pedestrian .314 on-base percentage and the Padres’ overall offensive ineptitude. Margot has offset his lack of production elsewhere with double-digit totals in home runs and stolen bases.”

While many hitters still complain about Petco Park, Margot has fared better at home (.289/.353/.469/.822) than in any other venue except that hitters’ paradise called Coors Field. In another interesting stat, he bats .800 with the bases loaded.

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Acquired by the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2011 out of the Dominican Republic, Margot made his major league debut with the Padres at the end of last season. In the off-season, he married his wife, Rachell, on Christmas Eve, and in July went on paternity leave when she gave birth to their son, Diamond.

Like most Dominican-born players, Manuel has the game in his blood. His father Enmanuel has played every position but first base and catcher. He is one of 12 children (10 boys). In the DR, baseball tops education in elevating an entire family. As Bryce Miller wrote in the San Diego Union Tribune: “The second you come into this world, you have a brother, you have a cousin, you have an uncle, you have a relative who has played the game.”

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In Dave Cameron’s FanGraphs’ power rankings by position he calls Margot a “plus runner who can cover center field and make contact, “ adding that he’s “one of the few guys on this roster that you can imagine being part of the next good Padres team, whenever that is.