We’re down to 89 days in our countdown to San Diego Padres Opening Day 2019.
Another day down, another day closer to San Diego Padres Opening Day! We began our countdown yesterday by taking a moment to remember former Padres reliever Adam Cimber, the only player in the majors to ever wear the number 90 and we continue our countdown to Opening Day today with the number 89.
Not only are their 89 days until the first pitch of the 2019 season, but 89 also represents the average exit velocity recorded by both Hunter Renfroe and Jose Pirela over the course of the 2018 season.
Surprisingly, both Renfroe and Pirela put up similar numbers in 2018, much more so than their 89 mph average exit velocity on batted balls.
- Hunter Renfroe
- .248 average/.302 OBP
- 23 doubles
- 403 at-bats
- 100 hits
Renfroe gets a lot of credit for his 2018 season, largely due to his increased production across the board, compared to his 2017 rookie season. A 17 point increase in his average, 18 point increase in his OBP, and a 20 point jump in wRC+ to 114 all help to show his growth. At one point after the All-Star break, Renfroe was going toe-to-toe with Atlanta Braves rookie sensation Ronald Acuna in home runs, post-break.
Looking even deeper, Renfroe began hitting the ball harder in 2018, put barrel to ball with a higher frequency, increased his walk rate, and lowered his strikeout rate. Optimism began to surround the former first-round pick of the Padres.
Jose Pirela, on the other hand, is viewed in a much different light.
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- .249 average/.300 OBP
- 23 doubles
- 438 at-bats
- 109 hits
Pretty similar to Renfroe there, including his 89 mph average exit velocity. However, Pirela’s percentage of barreled balls decreased, his launch angle dropped significantly below league average to 4.7-degrees (compared to Renfroe’s 18+ degree angle), resulting in just five home runs and a bunch of singles (.096 ISO, 78 wRC+).
Pirela may have hit the ball hard and often, but more than often it resulted in nothing more than a groundball out. Outside of lowering his strikeout rate, Pirela’s offensive production took massive hits across the board, his baserunning was atrocious, and his fielding left a lot to be desired at second base. Yet, Pirela continues to survive roster subtractions. I digress, 89 days away, San Diego Padres fans. Now, go end 2018 on a high note.