San Diego Padres center fielder Manuel Margot had a lot of success against major league curveballs this season.
As a whole, major league hitters batted .217 against curveballs in the 2018 regular season. Break that number down by each major league franchise and you find the San Diego Padres near the very bottom of the list as one of five franchises who failed to hit above the Mendoza Line against the curve (Washington Nationals led the league with a .249 average).
A number of individual hitters in the San Diego lineup severely struggled with the breaking pitch. Starting catcher Austin Hedges went 2-24 (.083) against the curveball, the lowest average on the team, among all hitters with at least 10 results. It may not be hard to guess who is the next lowest on this list. If you guessed Eric Hosmer, you would be correct. The new San Diego first baseman went 6-49 (.122), with two of those hits finding the outfield bleachers.
While the majority of this lineup struggled, Manuel Margot found moderate success against the pitch. Hitting .302 on the year, Margot ranks 40th in all of baseball among hitters with at least 25 results. Leading the way in this category is current postseason superstar, Houston Astros slugger Alex Bregman (.417).
More from Friars on Base
- Padres fighting with hated rival to sign quality veteran relief pitcher
- Jurickson Profar free agency update likely rules out Padres reunion
- Fernando Tatis Jr. may not take to outfield move after Xander Bogaerts addition
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
Margot’s .581 slugging percentage placed him 27th in the majors (same 25 results minimum), among noted power hitters such as Anthony Rizzo, Christian Yelich, and Carlos Santana. He launched three home runs, including 422-foot and 416-foot rockets into left field to help propel his average hit distance against curveballs to 200 feet, tied with Khris Davis and Ozzie Albies for 12th in Major League Baseball.
Overall, the 2018 season wasn’t what Margot or Padres fans wanted to see. We will take a much deeper dive into this when we reach Margot in our 2018 player review series, but until then, his .245 batting average, eight home runs, and 11 stolen bases were not numbers that were expected of Margot. Whether it was numerous injuries that occured during the first few months of the season or lack of regular playing time, we may never know, but what we do know is that Margot must produce in 2019.
Before the 2018 season began, Margot was considered by many to be the cornerstone of the franchise and someone to build a roster around. Fans will have to wait and see if that is still true.