San Diego Padres: Spring Training Progress Report Vol. 1

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Bench coach Mark McGwire
PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Bench coach Mark McGwire /

The Friars have gotten off to an encouraging start so far in Peoria, AZ. Here’s the first edition of FoB’s San Diego Padres Spring Training Progress Report.

The youth movement has been accelerated into hyperdrive. The San Diego Padres are seeing significant improvement from their ever-growing group of talented prospects at a quicker pace than anyone could have imagined.

Both on the mound and at the plate, manager Andy Green‘s squad has looked nothing short of fantastic. We all expected an increase in overall talent and positive long-term effects on the young Friars when A.J. Preller went out and got Eric Hosmer last month.

We, and likely no one else in the baseball-universe, expected these young Padres prospects to show such advancement in such a short period of time. The unrivaled potential of the Friars’ farm system has blue-chippers at every level, including some who are MLB-ready, is expected to carry (and keep) this franchise in contention for a very long time.

It seems the seeds that were sewn have already begun to sprout, bud, and, in some cases, blossom. Let’s take a look at the top Padres performers thus far in the Cactus League.

Top Padres on the mound

There have been a handful of San Diego Padres pitchers who have been outstanding, with really only a couple who have underperformed. Numbers aside (which mean next-to-nothing in ST; unless they’re good, of course) there has been absolutely no “red-flags” with anyone on the pitching staff.

Carter Capps is returning from injury and his tough inning of work over the weekend should be chalked up to the process. Matt Strahm looked great, as did Dinelson Lamet, and their stats are anything but pretty right now.

Spring Training, as well all know, is about working out the kinks and each player finding their respective grooves. What happens to the ball, at this point in the year, is inconsequential to the big picture.

Some Friars with standout performances over the last two weeks have been Joey Lucchesi (4 IP, 0 ER, 2K), Miguel Diaz (2 IP, 0 ER, 2 K), Kyle McGrath (2 IP, 0 ER, 3 K), and Bryan Mitchell (4 IP, 0 ER, 2 K, 2 BB).

Tyson Ross has been outstanding, regardless of what his ERA is (4.50). His six strikeouts in four innings of work and the jams he’s gotten himself out of so far have been awfully impressive.

San Diego Padres’ top-performers at the plate

Oh, where do I begin? The San Diego Padres have seen some awesome production out of their young players this spring. Even some of the “grizzled” vets have been getting in on the fun.

Guys like Christian Villanueva (9/20, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 4 BB) and Franchy Cordero (8/19, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 4 2B, 3 BB) have all but solidified their spots on the Opening Day roster, if not as the first-wave of reinforcements.

New Friar, Freddy Galvis has looked good, going 4 for 10 thus far with a double, an RBI, and he’s drawn three bases-on-balls. To go along his always-pristine fielding skills, Galvis is likely to reveal himself as one of the more important additions Preller & Co. made this past offseason.

Fernando Tatis, Jr., after a hot start immediately followed by a cold snap, is back in the swing of things (pun totally intended) after his 4 for 4, 5 RBI game yesterday against his original organization, the Chicago White Sox.

More from Friars on Base

Though it’s highly unlikely Tatis will make the Opening Day roster, he’s certainly succeeded at building up his stock this spring.

Wil Myers (5/15, 1 HR, 2 RBI) and Carlos Asuaje (6/18, 1 2B, 2 3B, 7 RBI) have been on their own respective tears, but the Padres’ top-player so far in Peoria has been Austin Hedges.

Padres are Hedge-ing their bets

Hedges is projected to be the Friars’ full-time backstop this season, and it’s obvious his preparation leading up to this point is paying off.

So far, in ten Cactus League at-bats, Hedgie has gone 6 for 10 with four home runs, six RBI, three walks, and is carrying an OPS of 2.492.

I don’t care if it’s January in Ontario; 6 for 10 with 18 total bases and a Rc/27 (runs-created per 27 innings) of 82.88 is gosh-darn impressive no matter where or when or against whom you’re playing.

Next: Padres Top Fifteen Hitters All-Time

Again, it’s only March 5th so we can’t put too much faith into the stats or game results at this point. But if this kind of production continues at the pace it has, we could be looking at the sapling of a mighty-oak that could be beginning to get stronger. Look out, NL West. The San Diego Padres are alive.