San Diego Padres rookie third baseman is closing in on breaking a notable team record.
Baseball statistics never cease to amaze me. Advanced analytics have taken over the sport and fans dissect each and every number possible, however, often times, there aren’t answers for why we see some of the statistics we do. The Baltimore Orioles traded the only offensive player worth anything on their roster (Manny Machado), yet are scoring more runs than anyone in baseball since trading him. The Oakland A’s are good. The San Diego Padres aren’t hitting home runs this year, yet one player is about to break a home run record. Nothing makes sense.
As a team, the Padres are tied with the Kansas City Royals for 27th in the league in home runs at 95. Only four teams in all of baseball have yet to hit 100 home runs. Twenty of those home runs have come from rookie third baseman, Christian Villanueva.
Villanueva leads all MLB rookies in home runs and is one of only two Padres hitters to reach double digits in long balls. Eric Hosmer is the only other Friar to record 10 or more home runs. Again, baseball statistics never cease to amaze.
With around two months worth of games remaining, Villanueva has more than enough time to break the San Diego Padres rookie home run record. Currently, teammate Hunter Renfroe holds the record, mashing 26 jacks last season.
As of Saturday afternoon, Villanueva is tied with former-Friar Ryan Schimpf on the rookie leaderboard. Jedd Gyorko hit 23 in 2013, career-home run leader Nate Colbert hit 24 in 1969, the inaugural season for the San Diego Padres.
Something to note about these home run totals is the number of plate appearances needed to reach them. Nate Colbert needed 532, while Renfroe needed 479. Villanueva is at 341 plate appearances. He’s on pace to break Renfroe’s record in about 30 fewer at-bats.
In a season where Cory Spangenberg has a legitimate shot at finishing with more home runs than Hunter Renfroe, at least we have a positive story in Villanueva. Editors Note: As I finished putting this article together, Villanueva was hit in the hand by Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks. He stayed in the game but you can go ahead and consider this the curse, should he not break the record.