I apologize if I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but with all of the extraordinary performances coming out of San Diego Padres camp this spring, we have yet another guy to talk about.
That hasn’t stopped him from putting together a fine spring thus far and symbolically letting manager Andy Green know that he’s not planning on giving up his roster spot without a fight.
It’s more than likely Pirela, 28, would have made the Opening Day roster regardless of his performance in the Padres’ Cactus League games, but he hasn’t been leaving much to chance so far.
What Pirela’s done so far
The Venezuelan native has performed capably in virtually every role that he’s been asked to fill over his four-year MLB career. Originally a shortstop New York Yankees’ farm system, Pirela was traded to the Pads in 2015 for Ronald Herrera.
Since early on in his MiLB career, Pirela has switched to playing second base and, mostly, left-field (some right, as well as some third).
His 162-game career averages of .269/.318/.439 give just a glimpse of the type of contributions a player like this can bring to the table.
While his slash line is more-than-respectable, his 35 doubles, 7 triples, 13 home runs and 55 RBI, all over 162-game periods, clearly signify that he would be a great fit on just about any team, let alone the young, talented, and highly impressionable San Diego Padres.
A veteran(ish) voice backed up by solid production would give the young Friars yet another guy to look up to in the San Diego clubhouse.
Jose Pirela has had a fantastic spring for the San Diego Padres
Since Pirela’s projected role has been thrust into the realm of the unknown, the San Diego Padres brain trust likely went into Peoria with the mindset of focusing on the little things Pirela does.
His productivity has been phenomenal thus far, going 8 for 20 with 5 runs scored, two doubles, a triple, three, RBI, and five walks. He’s slashing .400/.500/.600 and has seen time at second base and in left.
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The emergence of Carlos Asuaje as not only a viable option but potentially a future star muddies the water even more for Jose Pirela.
If he continues to meet-and-exceed expectations in every facet of his game, we can likely expect to see Pirela accommodate a super-utility bench spot for the San Diego Padres this season.
Where will the Padres use Pirela?
In the event of an injury or a prolonged slump to Asuaje or whoever is playing in left field, whether its Franchy Cordero or Hunter Renfroe, I don’t think anyone from the front office to the backyard AM/FM radio listener would take issue with Jose Pirela stepping into a full-time role.
Of course, it’s always possible that Andy Green could reward Pirela for his fantastic spring with an Opening Day starting left-field position.
While that would likely spell doom for the roster hopes of either Renfroe or Cordero, it would keep Cory Spangenberg around as the presumed backup to Asuaje at second.
However things pan out for the Friars, we know that talent is one thing this organization will not run out of for at least the foreseeable future.