Padres: Trent Grisham’s return will unlock this team’s offensive potential

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The return of Trent Grisham on Friday went largely unheralded – for obvious reasons. When your pitcher throws the first no-hitter in franchise history, it makes sense that something like this could be lost in the chaos.

But the former first-rounder did make his 2021 debut against the Rangers Friday night and he didn’t miss a beat. Grisham went 2-for-4 out of the leadoff spot with a pair of singles, scoring one of San Diego’s three runs in support of Joe Musgrove. That was more than enough for the right-hander, who is yet to allow a run in a Padres uniform.

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With Fernando Tatis Jr. on the IL recovering from his shoulder injury, guys like Jurickson Profar become more critical than ever. When the team re-signed the utility man, he made it clear: he didn’t care where he played. That versatility has already proved valuable to San Diego, with Profar seeing reps at first base and left field this season.

He’s also more than capable of playing middle infield – something we might see him do from time-to-time, at least with Tatis Jr. sidelined. One thing is for sure, though. The Padres’ outfield mix – and the lineup, as a whole – is better with Grisham in the mix.

Trent Grisham makes the Padres better

Last year, data painted a very positive picture of Grisham. He ranked in the 96th percentile in spring speed, 98th in outs above average defensively and 93rd in chase rate. All together, this is a a guy who knows how to control the strike zone, runs well and is coming off the first Gold Glove of his career in center field.

To this point, Grisham has never really put it all together offensively – at least not over the course of a 162-game season. Last year, though, he put up well above-average offensive numbers, slashing .251/.352/.456 – good for a 121 wRC+. The Padres are hoping that was just a taste of what’s to come from the former top prospect.

Next. Joe Musgrove's no-no was beyond special for fans. dark

While the team’s starting pitching has been among the best in the league early on, we’ve yet to see the offense really hit its stride. But with Grisham back in the lineup and healthy, we should start to see things take shape in the weeks to come.