San Diego Padres: Friars Continue To Mash
By Nick Stevens
The San Diego Padres defeated the Kansas City Royals 13-5 on Friday. The Friars are now 4-3-1 in Cactus League competition.
Going into Friday’s contest against the Kansas City Royals, the headline was Eric Hosmer. What would the newest member of the San Diego Padres do against his former team? That ended up not being the biggest story of the day.
In route to a 13-5 victory, the Padres collected 20 hits and three walks. Now eight games into their spring training schedule, San Diego is hitting .298 as a team. That mark is good for fifth best in Major League Baseball. They are also second in the league in OBP (.381), slugging (.556), and OPS (.938).
San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges has been unreal.
Austin Hedges continued his video game like start to spring training. Going 2-3 on the day, Hedges scored three runs, walked once, and hit his fourth home run of the exhibition season.
Hedges is now hitting .625 (5-8) with four home runs, six runs driven in, six runs scored, and two walks. He has yet to strike out at the plate. Yes, this is the same Hedges who hit just .214 last year with 122 strikeouts in 120 games.
I do believe that Hedges has the ability to hit 25 home runs a season and become an offensive threat in the Padres lineup. His patience at the plate has been his most productive adjustment. While adjusting his swing mechanics has obviously worked, Hedges has shown growth in other areas. Falling behind the count, Hedges laid off three straight pitches to draw his only walk yesterday.
He’s seeing the ball much better and making better decisions at the plate. Combining this with his new, quieter swing, will lead to an offensive output I believe very few people expect.
All nine starters for the San Diego Padres recorded a hit, except for one.
Manuel Margot, Wil Myers, Jose Pirela, Hedges, Christian Villanueva, and Luis Urias all chipped in two hits yesterday. Chase Headley was the only starter not to record hit, finishing the day 0-3. Headley is just getting into spring training action after suffering a wrist injury in practice.
If you missed my piece last night on Christian Villanueva, you can check it out here. The thesis, Villanueva should start at third base over Chase Headley.
Pirela has seen a lot of action at second base as Andy Green attempts to figure out his Opening Day starting lineup. He’s hitting .364 with a .500 OBP in 11 at-bats this spring. The defense has been suspect, but it will be hard to keep his bat out of the lineup. With the emergence of Franchy Cordero, Pirela’s odds may be better to make the team at second base.
Whether it’s Hunter Renfroe, Jose Pirela, or Carlos Asuaje, a big name Padres’ player will more than likely be traded by the end of spring training.
One last note on the Padres’ offense, this hit by Fernando Tatis Jr. Don’t try to pitch him inside, he’ll send it into left field.
Bryan Mitchell put together a solid performance for the San Diego Padres.
Mitchell took the mound for the Padres on Friday, making his second start of spring training. He struggled early, giving up a walk and a single to start the game.
Mitchell quickly settled down and recorded two flyouts and a strikeout to get out of the inning, unscathed. Without two impressive defensive plays (one from Margot, the other from Freddy Galvis), the first inning could have been ugly for Mitchell. It was just one of many times where we see this occur, Padres defense bails out starting pitcher.
Mitchell has now thrown four scoreless innings in two starts. His curveball has kept hitters guessing in both of his outings. I didn’t notice this as much in his second start, however, in his first start, Mitchell did an excellent job of commanding the inside half of the plate against lefties.
He missed the outside corners a few times on Friday, but he wasn’t missing by much. Once he can start hitting his spots, Mitchell may wind up being the most successful starting pitcher on this staff.
Next: Breaking Down The Top 30 Padres Prospects
The Padres return to action today against the Oakland A’s. San Diego will send Jordan Lyles (2 IP, 3 H, 0 ER in first start against LAA) to the mound while the A’s send Kendall Graveman (0-1, 4.50 ERA) to the bump. LHP Matt Strahm will be making his debut in a relief appearance. Andy Green is still unsure if Strahm will be in the rotation or the bullpen. Unfortunately, there is no tv broadcast of the game.