San Diego Padres’ Infielders are Raking in Cactus League
By Tim Ryder
Nearly every member of the San Diego Padres projected infield has been having themselves terrific springs thus far. Even the projected reserves are lighting it up in Arizona.
With the exception of Eric Hosmer, who has hit a bit of a rough patch over his last few games (1-for-9), the San Diego Padres’ projected starting infielders have been showing off their offensive prowess over the first few weeks of Spring Training.
While it’s only the second week of March and ST stats can’t ever truly be held in too high of regard, the numbers the Friars’ infielders have posted thus far have given us all even more reason to be excited about the upcoming season, as well as probably falling over ourselves dreaming about the future of this franchise.
Over the duration of the Padres’ short Cactus League schedule, many players’ stock will rise and drop in the eyes of not just the Friars’ think-tank, but among the fans, as well. Fortunately for all parties involved, positions 3 through 6 on your scorecards have been creaming the ball this spring.
San Diego Padres’ infield ST performance at the plate
Eric Hosmer got off to a fine start since making his ST debut on February 27 against the Seattle Mariners but his production has slowed a bit since. After going 4-for-13 over his first four games, with a double, a home run, and three RBI, he’s gone 1-for-9 since.
Once again, it’s only March 10, folks. No need to worry about the big fella just yet. And my instincts tell me we will rarely have any concerns about the 6’4″ All-Star at first base for the Friars.
At second base, both Padres who are projected to get playing time have been on fire to start the spring. Carlos Asuaje owns a slash line of .333/.367/.519, going 9-for-27 with a double, two triples, and eight RBI.
Jose Pirela, slated to back-up (and possibly even platoon with) Asuaje at second has also been in attack mode at the plate, slashing .381/.500/. with two two-baggers, a triple, three RBI, and has taken six bases-on-balls so far.
No matter who Friars’ manager Andy Green decides to go with on a daily basis, it seems that offense at second base will not be an area of concern for the team.
Padres’ Freddy Galvis is impressing
Freddy Galvis continues to impress, both at the plate and in the field. Watching this young man play shortstop is an absolute treat. His exploits at the plate in the Cactus League stand as follows: .409/.462/.631, 9-for-22, two doubles, one homer, three RBI and three walks.
For a player known more so for his glove than his bat, this has to be a pleasant surprise for anyone who wasn’t familiar with the wide range of skills of Galvis. I, personally, am very much looking forward to seeing the type of season he has. This could be the most important addition that AJ Preller made this offseason.
That brings us to yet another addition that Preller and the Padres made this past offseason, veteran third baseman Chase Headley. The 32-year-old has had a fantastic spring at the plate so far, hitting .333/.524/.400, going 5-for-15 with six walks and an RBI.
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Friars may have a generational player in Christian Villanueva
A player who wasn’t necessarily expected to have a significant role on this team coming into camp but has forced his way into the conversation is the Friars’ 26-year-old power-hitting prospect, Christian Villanueva.
After making some waves in his eight-game debut last season, Villanueva has been on a tear, practically all spring. Slashing .385/.500/.808 only really tells half of the story.
His three homers and MLB-leading 10 ST RBI, including being the third player on the San Diego Padres roster to draw six walks this spring, have not only virtually secured him an Opening Day roster spot but have also left the door open (even wider) for an eventual trade of Headley to let Villanueva assume the position.
Next: Lucchesi Shines as Pads Beat ChiSox
Regardless of how the remaining cookies of the Padres’ roster happen to crumble before they open their season on March 29, the Friars’ infield is all-but-set with players who can all change any given game with a bat in their hands.