San Diego Padres: The Defensive Wizardry of Manuel Margot

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 27: Manuel Margot
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 27: Manuel Margot /

The San Diego Padres center fielder has a lot to improve on as he continues his development, however, the 23-year-old had an impressive rookie campaign. Let’s look back at the poetry that his Margot’s defense.

Manuel Margot recorded one of the more impressive rookie seasons ever for a member of the San Diego Padres in 2017. According to Fangraphs, his 1.9 rookie WAR was good for 10th best all-time in San Diego history. He finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting last year and now wants to take the next step in becoming a “superstar.”

Margot has a lot of development left before he can consider himself a “superstar,” but very few doubt his ability to become that. The most entertaining aspect of his game is his defense.

According to Statcast, Margot made four catches last season that were classified as five-star catches. This means that the odds of the player making the catch were between 0-25%. Ender Inciarte, of the Atlanta Braves, led the league with seven of these catches. He was followed by Steven Souza Jr and Adam Duvall who each recorded five.

Margot finished tied for third with four of these five-star catches. Let’s look back at two of these five-star grabs along with a few other amazing grabs.

1) Margot robs Yasmany Tomas of the Diamondbacks

Here, he covers 51 feet in 3.4 seconds to make this diving catch which had just an 18% probability of being caught.

2) Denying the Diamondbacks, yet again.

From September 18th at Petco Park, Margot denis Daniel Descalso by making an inning-ending play. The catch probability was just 12%. The Padres won this game despite six walks by Luis Perdomo.

3) Four-star catches are just as fun to watch.

Margot records a 30.1 ft/sec sprint speed on this catch. The highest league average last year was 30.2 by Byron Buxton of the Twins.

4) Did Michael Conforto really think he had a hit here?

5) Don’t forget about the arm strength of the San Diego Padres center fielder.

Chris Owings of the Diamondbacks is gunned down at the plate by a 92.3 mph throw from Margot.

I first watched Margot when he was with the Salem Red Sox, the High-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. I was in Salem, VA for the week and on an off evening decided to catch a little minor league baseball. Margot made a similar catch to one of the above plays with the bases loaded early on in the game. He followed that up immediately with a first-pitch home run when the Sox went up to bat in the bottom half of that inning. I’ve been hooked on the kid ever since.

What impact will Matt Stairs have on Margot this season? Is he a 20/20 player? Can he become more selective at the plate and draw more walks? Who knows for sure, however, 2017 should be another step forward in his development to stardom.

Next: Carlos Asuaje Continues To Light Up Padres Camp

Just 15 days away from Opening Day, folks!