San Diego Padres: First Month Player Report Card
So many outfielders, not enough spots.
Manuel Margot entered the year with high expectations and has thus far fallen below those expectations. He started the year slowly, and then went on the DL with bruised ribs when he was pummeled by a fastball from Scott Oberg. Margot is hitting .135 with a .186 OBP and has been struggling mightily at the plate. Hopefully, Margot can get swinging a hot bat soon because he is a big part of the offense as the leadoff hitter.
Wil Myers has also been in and out of the lineup due to injury. He is hitting .346 with a home run and three runs driven in but has only had 26 at-bats due to being on the DL with back and arm tightness. Hopefully, now that he is fully recovered he can help jump-start a struggling Padres lineup and protect the hitters behind him such as Villaneuva and Hosmer. He showcased that ability Monday night against the Rockies, driving multiple balls into teh gaps.
The most consistent outfielder so far this season has been Jose Pirela. His defense has improved, building on an experimental year in 2017. He has also been the Padres best hitter, positng seven doubles while hitting .260. He has hit all over the lineup, anywhere from leadoff to fifth in the order. His usefulness as a hitter cannot be underestimated on a Padres team that is struggling to hit the ball anywhere this season.
Franchy Cordero is arguably the best prospect the Padres have in the outfield, with a rare combination of speed and power that have scouts raving about him. He is currently hitting .256 with 15 strikeouts and four monster home runs in 37 at-bats. He needs consistent at-bats in order to develop into the talent the Padres think he can be.
Hunter Renfroe, the most recent Padres outfielder to hit the DL, has struggled at the plate again this year in what is a crucial year in his development. It will be interesting to see how he responds to a platoon situation. In 50 at-bats, he has 16 strikeouts while hitting .200 with two home runs. He has lacked discipline at the plate in key situations at times for the Padres, coming up short throughout the year.
Matt Szczur, the fifth outfielder on the roster, has mostly come off the bench as a defensive replacement or as a pinch hitter this season. He has been extremely successful in that role hitting .304 while playing above average defense at all three outfield positions.
Next: Michel Baez Was Highly Impressive In His 2018 Debut
If the Padres can improve their overall plate discipline, and the starting pitching improves, the Padres could surprise some people and start moving up in the standings.