The long wait is finally nearing an end. Spring training workouts begin this week, which means that the regular season is not too far off. Let’s take a look at what the San Diego Padres’ batting order will look like come Opening Day.
The San Diego Padres will begin their 2018 season on Thursday, March 29th at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. When the Friars take the field on Opening Day at Petco Park, what will Andy Green‘s batting order look like?
There will be a few new faces in the lineup for the Padres in 2018. Shortstop Freddy Galvis arrived via trade earlier this offseason. He’s coming off a career offensive year in which he slashed .255/.309/.382/.690 and added 47 extra-base hits.
Returning to the Padres lineup for the first time since 2014 is Chase Headley. Headley brings a .344 career on-base percentage to a lineup that posted a .299 OBP in 2017.
Will the San Diego Padres add more to their lineup before the regular season begins? Their record-breaking offer to first baseman Eric Hosmer is still on the table. Multiple outlets have also reported that General Manager A.J. Preller still wants to add a veteran infielder to the lineup, preferably a shortstop to backup Freddy Galvis. As training camps get underway this week, hopefully, the vast pool of free agents begins to drain.
Let’s take a look at what the batting order will look like with players currently on the roster as of today (February 11th).
The top of the order for the San Diego Padres needs to get on base.
That’s obvious but has to be the number one priority of the Padres in 2018. The top of the order should have real stability with two potential all-stars, a good mix of over the fence and gap power, and speed.
1. CF Manuel Margot: .263 BA, .313 OBP, 92 wRC+, 1.9 WAR
The top spot is a no-brainer. Manuel Margot is, arguably, the Padres’ best overall hitter. If he can avoid the injury bug that bit him last year and the rest of the lineup gets on base at a higher clip, Margot has the potential to join the 20/20 club. He hit .309 and had an OBP of .359 in the two-hole last season, which will be good news for 2019 when Luis Urias takes over as the leadoff hitter.
2. SS Freddy Galvis: .255 BA, .309 OBP, 80 wRC+, 1.6 WAR
Last year, Galvis spent a large portion of time hitting either second or eighth for the Phillies. He struck out in just 16% of at-bats in 2017, only Yangervis Solarte and Erik Aybar struck out at a lower rate for the Padres last season (neither of whom are with the team now). Why second instead of 8th in the lineup? Galvis is one of the most consistent hitters in the lineup and needs as many at-bats as possible if the Padres want to win.
3. 1B Wil Myers: .243 BA, .328 OBP, 109 wRC+, 0.9 WAR
Myers has produced a 20/20 season in each of the last two years. Entering his age-27 season, Myers is set to enter the prime of his career, if he can fix a few things. He struck out in 28% of his at-bats last year (180 total). Myers also saw his percentage of infield fly-balls rise from 6% to 15.5% over his previous two seasons. With two hitters in front of him who will have their fair share of extra-base hits, it will be up to Myers to take the next step in his offensive output and help the Padres stay competitive.
The middle of the lineup for the San Diego Padres needs to prove they belong.
The biggest spring training battle will be in left field. Jose Pirela appeared in 83 games last season and finished with the highest WAR among all Padres’ batters. Pirela will be challenged by rising prospect Franchy Cordero, Alex Dickerson, and Travis Jankowski. However, the biggest question mark will be Hunter Renfroe.
4. RF Hunter Renfroe: .231 BA, .284 OBP, 96 wRC+, 0.3 WAR
Renfroe has an elite power tool when he hits the ball. Nearly 19% of his fly-balls carried out of the park last year (26 total), but he struck out 30% of the time. His performance resulted in a demotion to AAA at the end of the season. Hopefully, the demotion was a reality check for Renfroe who has the ability but needs to figure it all out, immediately.
5. LF Jose Pirela: .288 BA, .347 OBP, 122 wRC+, 2.1 WAR
As injuries piled up for the Padres last season, Pirela took advantage of his opportunity. He played in more games last year than his first three years combined and will head into 2018 as the favorite to start in left field. I almost placed Pirela in the cleanup spot, but Renfroe’s power potential is too great to overlook.
6. 3B Chase Headley: .273 BA, .352 OBP, 104 wRC+, 1.9 WAR
Many assumed that when Headley was acquired from the Yankees, he would be moved again quickly. That doesn’t look likely anymore. The 33-year-old isn’t flashy, but he’s consistent. Like every other spot in this lineup, it’s an improvement over last season. Headley has hit the ball to the opposite field at an increased rate over the last four seasons, relying less on his power. If he can continue that trend along with matching his .341 BABIP from last year, this lineup will pull themselves out of the cellar.
San Diego Padres
The back-end of the San Diego Padres lineup could pose a formidable threat.
7. C Austin Hedges: .214 BA, .262 OBP, 71 wRC+, 0.6 WAR
Things did not go well for Hedges in his first full season with the major league ball club. He struck out nearly 30% of the time and drew a walk in just 5.5% of his at-bats. The bat has never been a valued tool of Austin Hedges. He’s had to make great strides in his defense, taking the focus off his offensive development. If Hedges can become a .250 hitter that produces 20-25 HR and improves his OBP, the Padres will have an incredible seven or eight hitter in the lineup.
8. 2B Carlos Asuaje: .270 BA, .334 OBP, 90 wRC+, 0.8 WAR
Asuaje appeared in just 89 games last season but is the favorite to be the full-time starting second baseman for the Padres in 2018. I strongly believe that Asuaje will be the team’s breakthrough hitter. He has a 60 hit tool and produced a .346 BABIP last season. Ideally, Asauje will begin to hit the ball a little harder, find gaps in the outfield, and turn a larger percentage of his singles into doubles.
9. Pitcher Slot
This lineup is very young, but everyone, from top to bottom, has flashed tremendous potential. Five of the eight hitters in this lineup will be entering just their second full season at the major league level. With elite level minor league prospects at every position preparing to bang down the gates at Petco Park, this lineup will have to prove they belong.