The San Diego Padres are taking advantage of a recent stretch of weaker opponents. Here are the two biggest reasons why.
Winning is fun, obviously. Winning has also made a San Diego Padres fan base begin to wonder, what could happen? Keep in mind, none of this recent winning has come against divisional rivals, though. However, that’s not the focus here. Today’s focal point is the winning the Padres have done in the month of June.
While the numbers that follow are based on just half a month of play, they are highly encouraging accomplishments by two players that needed to step up to the table. One player, in a particular, is viewed by many as the central building block of the franchise moving forward.
Dennis Lin of The Athletic wrote a fantastic piece (subscription required) recently, focusing on the adjustments that Manuel Margot has made with his swing over the last few weeks. The result of those adjustments? Astronomical.
Here is a month-by-month breakdown of Margot’s numbers this season.
His month of June ground ball/flyball rates are nearly identical as his March/April rates, however, one thing is different. Margot is hitting the ball much harder. His hard-hit percentage In March/April and May was 30.5% and 35.5%, respectively. In June, Margot’s hard-hit percentage is nearly 52%, resulting in a .452 BABIP.
Of all the numbers and metrics you can find on Margot, one number stands above the rest, walk rate. While the Padres aren’t scoring a lot of runs during this recent winning stretch, they are scoring smart runs.
Take Friday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, for example. Hunter Renfroe recorded two hits, both singles, however, he drove in two runs and scored two runs in the process. Players around Renfroe recorded singles and walks (there was a Freddy Galvis home run thrown in there for good measure) to keep innings going, resulting in runs from simple-base hits. When an athlete like Manuel Margot is drawing a walk in 12% of his at-bats, the rest of the offense flourishes.
While Margot’s elite play is expected, did anyone expect it from Spangenberg?
Cory Spangenberg has seen his playing time increase month-to-month, for good reason. Here is a quick overview of his statistical turnaround over the first three months of the year.
Check out the improvement between May and June. While his walk rate is still atrocious,
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Spangenberg has been tapping into his power and speed to find success. He already has three home runs, three triples, and two stolen bases in his 13 games in June.
Hunter Renfroe has been fantastic since his return to the lineup, seeing the ball extremely well and making smart contact. Eric Hosmer has been unbelievable, hitting .339 over his last 15 games. Jose Pirela FINALLY hit his first home run.
Did anyone expect this sort of recent production from Spangenberg? With the return of Wil Myers, Austin Hedges, and Franchy Cordero on the horizon, this lineup should continue to provide a lot of excitement, and surprises.
Putting aside the rest of the season and whether or not this team can compete, the recent winning has been a joy to watch. Let’s hope the production from, key players like Margot isn’t just small-sample successes, but signs of long-term growth and development.