San Diego Padres: Christian Villanueva Keeps Slugging

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 16: Christian Villanueva
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 16: Christian Villanueva /

A brutal slump to begin the season from Chase Headley has opened the door for new San Diego Padres fan-favorite, Christian Villanueva.

The San Diego Padres have found a power slugger in the form of Christian Villanueva. Villanueva has been hitting National League pitching very well with some ruthless hitting. The Padres will look to lean on his offense as they try and take a third-straight series from an NL West foe.

When the Padres traded for Chase Headley, it was all but certain that the veteran would start most of the 162 games at third base and be a guiding force to the young San Diego Padres’ batting unit. However, Headley has looked like a pale shadow of himself and has struggled in just about every at-bat.

More from Friars on Base

Headley is off to a miserable start, going 1-26 at the plate. That’s good enough for a microscopic .038 batting average. He has time and again managed to strand multiple runners in scoring positions. If not for Headley’s batting woes, the Friars could have notched a few more victories up to this point already. The silver lining in his struggles? The emergence of Christian Villanueva.

Christian Villaneuva provides hope for the San Diego Padres.

A dominant performance in spring left Padres’ Andy Green with little choice but to make room for the hard-hitting right-hander on the 25-man roster. He’s managed to repay his manager’s faith with some clean dingers, six to be exact. He leads all major league rookies in home runs and is currently riding a three-game home run streak.

Christian Villanueva has been a pleasant sight at the plate for the Friars. He is leading the Friars in slugging percentage (.822), OPS (1.245), runs driven in (13), and home runs (6). His wRC+? As of Tuesday morning, it’s 238.

How’s this for fun, small-sample comparison? His slash line of .333/.423/.822 is on par with the best in baseball. Bryce Harper‘s slash line for the season reads, .300/.479/.740.

Villanueva seems to be paying attention to his manager’s words. Andy Green, in one of the post-game conferences, recently had said: “He can hit, he’s just got to be patient.” If Christian Villanueva can show more patience and discipline at the plate, he has all the power to compete with the league’s best hitters. All four of his walks have come within his last four games, so he’s starting to show a little more patience.

Next: Josh Naylor Can't Be Stopped

Regardless of whether or not Villanueva is a mainstay in the Padres lineup down the road, fans can’t help but feel excited for Villanueva. He’s had a long journey to get to where he is now and is finally showcasing his abilities. Let’s keep riding this wave for as long as it goes.