San Diego Padres: Don’t Tell Travis Jankowski He’s Not A Power Hitter

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 18: Carlos Asuaje
SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 18: Carlos Asuaje /

The San Diego Padres battled the Cleveland Indians to an 8-8 tie in Cactus League action on Saturday.

For some members of the San Diego Padres, it’s crunch time. There are less than three weeks left in spring training and a few positions are still up for grabs. Who’s going to start at second base? Who mans left field? Yesterday’s 8-8 tie with the Cleveland Indians featured a number of players involved in those position battles step up.

One of the biggest questions left to be answered this spring is, who starts in left field for the Padres? Hunter Renfroe got the start in left on Saturday, going 1-2 with a solo home run off RHP Mike Clevinger. Renfroe has been more successful against right-handed pitchers (.238 AVG, .308 OBP, 2 HR) than left-handed pitchers this spring (.231 AVG, .231 OBP, 1 HR).

The presumed starter in left field, before the acquisition of Eric Hosmer, is Jose Pirela. Now in competition with Renfroe and Franchy Cordero, Pirela made the most of his Saturday afternoon. He raised his spring average to .458, finishing the day 3-3 with a home run of his own. Watch as he muscles this Clevinger pitch off the batters’ eye in dead center, almost from one knee.

Featured in the same video, a home run by Carlos Asuaje. Manager Andy Green has been giving Pirela a lot of playing time at second base as he tries to find a way to get his best hitters in the lineup. Well, Asuaje isn’t backing down quietly from the challenge. He added a single to that above-mentioned home run, finishing the day 2-3 at the plate.

LHP Eric Lauer started the game and went three strong innings against a solid Indians’ lineup. He gave up just three hits while walking none and striking out one. We will dive into these young pitching prospects a little later on today. Watching them has me more excited than waking up on Christmas morning.

Around the San Diego Padres basepaths.

Do not tell Travis Jankowski he can’t hit for power. In a spring training press conference from earlier, Andy Green said that Travis Jankowski “is not a power threat.” Jankowski’s response? Not one, but two home runs, including one in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at eight. He struggled early on this spring as he returned from a broken foot that kept him out most of last season. Jankowski has since picked up his productivity, knowing he’s in a dogfight for one of the last spots on the 25-man roster.

I’ll leave you all with more defensive wizardry from one of everyone’s favorite young prospects, Luis Urias.

Next: Austin Hedges Sits Atop New Statcast Leaderboard

Luis Perdomo will take the mound this afternoon for the Padres as the Friars take on the San Francisco Giants at 3 pm PT. The game will on NBC Bay Area tv and MLB TV.