San Diego Padres: Spring Training Competitions Heating Up

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 17: Jose Pirela
SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 17: Jose Pirela /

The 2018 Cactus League has been the most exciting Spring Training for San Diego Padres’ fans in over a decade. Here are a few Padres hitters that have played fantastic this spring, creating difficult roster decisions for skipper Andy Green.

José Pírela

Believe it or not, San Diego Padres’ veteran José Pírela is currently having one of the best Cactus League’s in all of Major League Baseball. He leads the majors, by a vast margin, in batting average, hitting .481. Pírela also leads all of MLB in OPS, with a ridiculous 1.448.

The San Diego Padres’ outfielder ranks second in slugging percentage with an impressive .889. Pírela was the Padres’ most consistent player in 2017 and is picking up right where he left off. Even with San Diego’s currently stacked outfield, Pírela is a must-start on opening day.

Carlos Asuaje

Carlos Asuaje is making a strong case to start at second base for the San Diego Padres in 2018. The former Pacific Coast League Rookie of the Year is hitting an impressive .344 this spring, with nine RBI and four extra-base hits. Asuaje has also played a stellar second base, making zero errors while flashing the leather multiple times.

Christian Villanueva

San Diego Padres third baseman Christian Villanueva has been nothing short of incredible this spring. The twenty-six-year-old is hitting .357 with 11 RBI and three home runs. Villanueva also has a staggering OPS of 1.236.

I wrote an article in September about the minor league veteran, who hit .344 in 32 major league at-bats last year. He seems to be even more prepared for the majors now than he was in September.

To free roster space, the Padres should trade Chase Headley for a starting pitcher and start Villanueva at third base in 2018.

Hitting for Average, Tough Calls for Andy Green

Besides the guys mentioned above, the other San Diego Padres starters hitting above .300 during Spring Training include Franchy Cordero, Austin Hedges, Freddy Galvis, Wil Myers, and Cory Spangenberg. This is by far the best collection of spring talent the Padres have had in over ten years, in my opinion.

Andy Green will have to send legitimate major-league ballplayers down to minor league camp before Opening Day. I predict that former big league starters such as Allen Craig, Chris Young, Travis Jankowski, Matt Szczur, Colin Rae, and Robbie Erlin will not make the Friars roster.

Next: Padres Have A Ridiculously Experienced Coaching Staff

The Friars’ infield will lead their offensive success, with star caliber players like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias ready for the call up at any time.