San Diego Padres: Raffy Lopez is Hitting His Way Into the Conversation


The San Diego Padres’ young catching prospect, Raffy Lopez, has been smoking the ball to all fields this spring. Could he snag the Opening Day backup backstop job from AJ Ellis?

Austin Hedges has been all but handed the Opening Day starting catchers job. Since the San Diego Padres went out and signed veteran backstop A.J. Ellis, we could only assume that he was the de facto backup.

Then Rafael Lopez began absolutely raking in Peoria and, while the situation may not have changed all that considerably, he has put his name in the proverbial hat for a roster spot on Opening Day.

Everyone who follows the Friars, myself included, would be more than satisfied with Ellis going into the season behind Hedges, with Lopez in the minors (Triple-A at the rate he’s going now). If he continues on the tear he’s been on thus far in the Padres’ Cactus League games, though, that could all change quickly.

Raffy Lopez is currently hitting .400 (4/10) with two home runs and three RBI to go along with his four bases-on-balls, four runs scored, and a double. Ellis, in nine at-bats, has two doubles, four runs scored and has drawn four walks as well.

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Quite a predicament for the Padres

While A.J. Ellis would certainly bring a very-necessary veteran presence not only to Austin Hedges but to the rest of the young Padres players, Having a backstop tandem of Hedges and Lopez sure is enticing.

Of course, this is all a pipe dream for now. Most likely, if Lopez were to make his way up to the majors for an extended period of time, due to his youthful inexperience, he would probably be eaten alive by MLB pitching once the book was out on him.

Lopez would be much better served spending more time in the minors, honing his craft both behind the dish and at the plate.

But if Ellis doesn’t produce anything more than veteran knowledge and wisdom after the season gets underway, and Raffy Lopez is still hitting frozen ropes into the gaps and over the fences, it might leave manager Andy Green with a very tough decision to make.

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But this is all speculation and hypotheticals at this point. If and when the San Diego Padres need to cross this bridge, they will do so in a well thought out and appropriate manner, which is seemingly how A.J. Preller and the rest of the Friars organization are going about all of their business these days, which sure is nice.