Our San Diego Padres are one week into their Cactus League schedule. Let’s take a look at who got off to a hot start and who still needs to find their swing for the Friars.
After six Cactus League games this spring, the San Diego Padres are 3-3. Not that these games’ outcomes mean anything at all, but still. They have been a little inconsistent but, overall, the culture change that has started here is becoming apparent.
There is an air-of-confidence around this team. Friars’ manager Andy Green gave us a good idea of the new mindset of his team yesterday. After only a handful of spring games, some of the Friars’ regulars have already begun to find their respective swings.
As it goes during Spring Training, there are certainly a handful of Padres who are still shaking some of the winter rust off, as well. There are a couple of expected everyday players who haven’t seen any action yet either.
As much as every Padres player in camp is likely chomping at the bit to get themselves going, the process of preparing for a long, arduous season is just that; a process. Let’s take a look at how the Friars’ projected starting lineup and bench have fared so far this spring at the plate.
San Diego Padres Cactus League – Who’s Hot, Who’s Not for Week 1
Let’s start with the quickly-heating-up battle for only a couple of available outfield spots on the Padres’ Opening Day roster. The stand-out performance out of this group most definitely has to go to the Friars’ young prospect, Franchy Cordero.
Cordero, 23, has begun the preseason on an absolute tear, going 5-13 with 2 HR and 5 RBI. He was already projected to give other Padres’ role players some tough competition for one of those coveted extra-outfield spots. If he continues on this pace, he may find himself in a platoon instead of coming off the bench.
Hunter Renfroe has started to come around after a slow start. He’s gone 2-14 so far with a homer and three RBI. Wil Myers (1-6), so is beginning to see regular playing time, so we should see him heat up. Both of these guys have plenty of time to get their timing down before the season rolls around. There’s nothing to be concerned about at this point.
Manuel Margot has gotten off to a very slow start, going 1-8 over his first few appearances. That shouldn’t affect Margot’s likelihood to begin the season as the Padres’ starting centerfielder, though.
San Diego Padres – Infielders
The Padres upgraded their infield’s defensive proficiency at every position heading into this year. Additions like Eric Hosmer (2-6 this spring with one RBI), Chase Headley (hasn’t played yet), and Freddy Galvis (2-3, 2 runs scored) significantly improved the Friars’ infield defense and should also bring added productivity at the plate.
Carlos Asuaje got off to a hot start. He’s gone 3-10 and had a huge three-run triple in yesterday’s win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. But the performance of the week in the Padres infield goes to a player that isn’t a lock to even begin the season with the big club.
Christian Villanueva has been on fire so far, going 5-11 with a home run and three RBI. He’s going to make Andy Green’s choice on whether to keep him at the major league level a very tough one if he keeps this up.
Jose Pirela, looking to solidify his spot as an emergency outfielder/backup second baseman, has gone 2-9 with two RBI. Cory Spangenberg, also looking to secure a spot as a utility guy, is currently 1-3.
San Diego Padres performers of the week
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There two Padres who have performed at elite levels so far this spring. While not a ton of stock can be put into anyone’s Spring Training numbers, seeing guys get off to quick starts is always an encouraging sign.
One of those players is the Padres’ projected starting backstop, Austin Hedges. After putting in a ton of work refining his new approach at the plate this past offseason, Hedgie has gone 3-5 with three home runs and five RBI over his first couple of Cactus League games. I’d say his hard work is paying off immediate dividends.
My other Padres’ standout is a guy who, barring an unforeseen string of injuries to the entire Friars’ starting outfield likely won’t be at the major league level until September, at the very earliest. Franmil Reyes has smacked the cover off of the ball this spring, going 3-11 with two extremely impressive home runs.
Here’s hoping the San Diego Padres can continue to find their way this spring and carry it over into the 2018 regular season!