San Diego Padres: Travis Jankowski is Thriving in Leadoff Spot
After being no-hit in the series opener, the San Diego Padres completed their Mexico trip with back to back wins over the Dodgers. One player made an indelible mark.
The San Diego Padres rode some power and a quality start to a series win over the weekend. Eric Hosmer continued to murder baseballs at the plate, and Eric Lauer pitched a phenomenal six innings on Sunday.
But what’s interesting to note was Travis Jankowski‘s production as a leadoff hitter. Jankowski was called up just a few days prior to the Mexico series and he’s wasted no time showing off where he’s most productive in the batting order.
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He’s 4-for-11 in the three games that he’s been the leadoff hitter. Over those three games, he’s batting .364 with two triples and two walks.
At the very least, this looks like his new role against right-handed pitchers going forward.
However, there’s no reason that Jankowski can’t adjust to make himself that everyday leadoff hitter, even against lefties.
Areas to work on for Jankowski
His strikeout rate is still somewhat high (19%), though can certainly be improved upon (look at the progress Hosmer has made in that area over the last two weeks).
By comparison, his walk rate is only at about 9%. And against lefties, that walk rate is even lower at 6.5%.
That’s something that needs to be significantly higher to keep Jankowski as a fixture in that leadoff spot.
Jankowski is only hitting .175 against lefties, but if he can raise that OBP from .235 to somewhere in the mid-.300 range, he could be tailor-made for the leadoff spot.
Since being called up on April 29, he’s already ranked third on the team in regards to wRC+ with 151. To no surprise, the only Padres who have higher marks than Jankowski, albeit in a very small sample size, are Eric Hosmer and Christian Villanueva.
If this type of production is somewhat sustainable, it could be a godsend to a Friars team that desperately needs some run-creation assistance at times.
Next: Padres Take Two of Three from Los Angeles
While it’s not a sure thing that Jankowski will stick around once Wil Myers makes his return from the disabled list, he’s certainly made a strong case for himself that the San Diego Padres can’t ignore.