The time San Diego Padres fans have been waiting for could be happening as Manny Machado is starting to heat up at the plate.
He had put up 6-plus WAR seasons in three-of-four years before joining San Diego.
But the Padres’ first impression of Machado was not fantastic as he was just a 3.1 WAR in 2019. Not saying a 3 WAR player isn’t good, but that’s half the player they were hoping for, especially for someone still in their prime.
And really, it was down the stretch in 2019 — when the Padres needed him the most — that Manny fell off.
In June and July of last year he was great hitting 17 combined home runs and hitting .293. But he hit just .221 in August with 2 home runs and then hit .193 in Sept/Oct with 4 home runs.
Many were buying the Kool-Aid that Manny just need a season to adjust in San Diego and would break out in 2020.
But that’s not what we saw out of the gate with him hitting .226 in July (granted it was only eight games) and hitting under .200 through the first week of August.
However, in his last 12 games (again, a small sample size) he’s shown signs of breaking out hitting .289 over that stretch with 4 home runs, 10 RBI, 9 runs, and 8 walks.
On the season he’s now slashing .235/.345/.480, which the average and slugging is still a far cry from what we expect.
But he signs are there for him to finally break out in San Diego.
He’s hitting the ball hard making medium or hard contact on 87 percent of the balls he puts in play with a line drive percentage of 23.1 percent, which would be the highest of his career.
His BABIP of .250 is well below his career average of .297, which tells you he’s run into some bad luck on balls he’s put in play.
A strikeout rate of 20 percent is still too high, but his walk rate of 14.3 percent would be another career-best.
I really think Manny is starting to feed off the vibe of this team and is understanding his role.
When you sign for $300 million you expect to be the man. But he’s had to take a back seat to Fernando Tatis Jr. who is the face of this franchise.
But Tatis can’t do it alone. He and the Padres are going to need Manny to be Manny if they’re going to make any noise this season and the seasons to come.
Hopefully we’re starting to see that player come to life as the 2020 season goes one.