The San Diego Padres’ spring training has come to an abrupt conclusion. Let’s look at several players who will be impacted by it.
Just when the position battles were about to get really good as the roster was being trimmed, Major League Baseball canceled spring training amid the nation’s Coronavirus outbreak. Don’t get me wrong, the cancellation was the right move, but it’s also going to impact the San Diego Padres 26-man roster.
Guys that were starting to separate themselves from the pack are now back to a level playing field with historical numbers to support their case for a roster spot. Let’s take a look at a few players who could have benefited from another two weeks of spring training.
Many believed that the fifth starter was Joey Lucchesi’s job to lose. However, Cal Quantrill was putting together a marvelous spring, posting a 1.29 ERA in three games, including two starts. In 7.0 innings, he struck out nine batters while allowing a .083 average.
I think Cal was starting to gain a leg up on the battle with Lucchesi, and a few more starts over the final two weeks could have aided Jayce Tingler in his decision. The 25-year-old hit his stride in July last year, posting a 1.69 ERA in four appearances (three starts) to go along with a .891 WHIP, but his season was skewed by a disastrous September.
Lucchesi is likely to be named the fifth starter, despite his struggles with command. I would expect that Quantrill will either serve in a swing-man role out of the bullpen, but it’s probably better for him to open the year in Triple-A to get regular starts.
2. Jason Vosler
Did Jason Vosler do enough to earn a backup gig on the big-league roster, or is he simply a spring training standout? The 26-year-old spent all of last year playing in El Paso, and he’s likely to begin there again. Had there been an opportunity for another two weeks to showcase himself, I think there’s a strong argument that he lands a spot on the 26-man roster.
Now Jake Cronenworth, who was part of the Tommy Pham trade, is likely to make the team given his ability to play second base. Vosler has played 24 games in his career at second, and that, alone, is not enough to provide support on the big-league roster.
Now two years removed Tommy John surgery, Garrett Richards needed all the live-game reps that he could get before being heavily relied upon in his first full season since 2015. He made just two starts but struck out six batters in 5.1 innings of work.
He’ll continue to throw as we progress towards an eventual start to the baseball season, but I think he’s a guy that could have benefited from a full spring training and pitching every five days. Don’t be surprised if he’s not sharp in April or whenever the season begins.
I don’t think this one is as big of a deal as the others, but remember that Fernando Tatis Jr. has not played meaningful reps at shortstop since mid-August. The flu bug hit him for most of the spring training, so the missed time is going to impact him in some capacity. And it’s like going to reflect on defense.
Tatis committed 18 errors at shortstop last year, and it’s an area that the team collectively needs to clean up to keep the pressure off their pitchers. And it’s not exactly comforting that the Padres ended their spring training with five errors between split-squads on Wednesday evening. I suspect that Tatis’ bat will be just fine, but I think he could have used more time to work on his defense.
Did I miss anyone?