San Diego Padres: Hunter Renfroe Forcing His Way Into OF Mix

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Hunter Renfroe
PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26: Hunter Renfroe /

Hunter Renfroe had been labeled as the San Diego Padres’ odd man out this spring. With positional shifts and the emergence of other viable options, Renfroe has had to force his name back into the conversation.

Hunter Renfroe made quite the name for himself last season. Heading into the offseason, the San Diego Padres had the 26-year-old pegged for a spot in the Friars’ outfield. When Eric Hosmer signed on to become the team’s new first baseman, plans changed for everyone.

Although Renfroe wasn’t likely to assume an everyday role in the Pads’ lineup this season, even before Hosmer signed, he was certainly due to get ample opportunities to build off of his success last season.

Now that Wil Myers has moved from first to the outfield and Jose Pirela has further scorched the already- toasted earth of Arizona this spring, Renfroe was left in a bit of a predicament.

What Renfroe brings to the table for Padres

Sure, Hunter Renfroe offers a potent, powerful bat to plug into the San Diego Padres’ lineup, but his fielding leaves something to be desired. That isn’t to say that he’s a bad fielder. The question is, and remains, do his defensive liabilities outweigh the run-potential his bat brings into the lineup?

Every position player on this San Diego Padres roster has a little pop. Myers, Austin Hedges, Hosmer, even bench guys like Cory Spangenberg and Travis Jankowski; they all have the potential to put one in the seats in any given at-bat.

Franchy Cordero, the young Friars’ outfielder, has emerged as a more-than-viable option over the course of the Pads’ 2018 Cactus League schedule. His offensive prowess combined with his gorgeous outfield play has left Cordero penciled in for at least a bench spot on Opening Day.

San Diego Padres left in a unique scenario with Hunter Renfroe

What happens to Hunter Renfroe then? That’s a good question. As Spring Training has rolled on, Renfroe has seemed to have gotten more comfortable at the plate. He’s raised his ST average up to .250 and has five homers and 12 RBI in 52 at-bats.

More from Friars on Base

While his 14 strikeouts are certainly an area of concern, it’s not enough to outweigh the positives of having his bat on the Padres’ bench.

Even in a late-inning, high-leverage situation, Renfroe’s power could come in quite handy with two in scoring position down by a run in the eighth inning.

How should Green handle the situation?

From an outsider’s perspective, it appears that Hunter Renfroe will do whatever manager Andy Green asks of him in order to stay with the San Diego Padres through the commencement of the regular-season.

If true, thats’ some of the most comforting news, to me at least, that’s come out of Peoria this spring.

This is a player who was surely looking to continue his ascent through the MLB hierarchy after a standout rookie season.

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For him to put potential personal successes aside and put his “best-for-the-team” foot forward, that’s one of the more encouraging scenarios that could have played out, in my opinion.