San Diego Padres infielder Carlos Asuaje had a tough 2018 season and faces an uphill climb in 2019.
This past season was a brutal year for San Diego Padres infielder Carlos Asuaje. After struggling at the plate and a demotion to AAA El Paso, Asuaje will now have to battle a long list of infield/utility players if he wants to earn a roster spot in 2019.
Looking over his numbers from last season, Asuaje exhibited a big drop off in production from his rookies season in 2017. He appeared in 79 games and posted a slash line of .196/.286/.280/.566 with just eight doubles, two home runs, and one stolen base. Even as a backup utility player, those are awful numbers.
He may have increased his walk rate by nearly 3% and decreased his strikeout rate a touch, but those are the only two positive takeaways from his 2018 stat line. Asuaje finished with a 59 wRC+, a -0.7 WAR, and a .243 BABIP.
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The low BABIP wasn’t just bad luck but can be attributed to his increased fly ball rate this season. Nearly 40% of all batted balls went into the air with very little juice behind them. Asuaje’s hard-hit rate was 10% lower than the Major League Baseball average.
After being sent down to El Paso earlier in the year, Asuaje returned to the Padres lineup with a vengeance, but his hot streak was short-lived. He hit just .089 after the All-Star break, striking out 15 times in 45 at-bats (-5 wRC+)
So, what does 2019 hold for Carlos Asuaje? With Luis Urias now taking control of second base at the major league level and a combination of Cory Spangenberg and Christian Villanueva playing the utility role (pending further roster moves), there appears to be no room on the active roster for Asuaje.
Regardless of whether or not 2020 is the year this team is competitive, there has to be serious progress made in 2019 and it won’t be made with Asuaje on the roster.
Up next in our roster review series, we take a look at third baseman turned utility player, Christian Villanueva.