Jake Cronenworth’s latest hot streak saving Padres from bad press with star players

Padres fans should be thankful that Cronenworth is on a heater, because San Diego would be in real trouble without it.
Cincinnati Reds v San Diego Padres
Cincinnati Reds v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

All things considered, the 2024 season has been a bit of a mixed bag for the San Diego Padres. On the one hand, they find themselves with a 16-18 record early in May with a literal zero run differential for the season. However, they are still somehow in second place in the surprisingly bad NL West and there have been some bright spots, the most notable of which is how good the Dylan Cease trade appears to have been.

However, Cease has not been the only silver lining to the Padres' decidedly "mid" early season. Jackson Merrill looks like the real deal, and in a loaded rookie class in the National League he has inserted himself right in the middle of the ROY race. Another promising development has been the heater that Jake Cronenworth is currently on.

Overall, Cronenworth's offensive numbers this season have been perfectly fine. He has a .265/.343/.470 with five homers and, given where he was the last couple of seasons, Padres fans would take that 10 times out of 10 from him. However, Cronenworth is currently riding a torrid six-game hitting streak that culminated in a grand slam that was the difference in the Padres' win over the Reds on Wednesday.

More importantly, his performance has helped the Padres gloss over the fact that some of their best hitters have been anything but that lately.

Jake Cronenworth's explosion is masking the Padres' stars struggles

Normally, a team wRC+ of 109 would be cause for celebration, especially when the Padres decided to trade away Juan Soto (who is currently carrying the Yankees offense right now, by the way). However, looks are a little deceiving as the bulk of that production has been coming from Cronenworth, Jurickson Profar, Fernando Tatis Jr., and freaking Eguy Rosario. What of the Padres' veteran stars that were supposed to carry the day? Well, the picture is less rosy there.

Manny Machado still looks rusty coming off his offseason surgery and has posted a very un-Machado .686 OPS in 129 appearances this season. Ha-Seong Kim has only been marginally better than that at the plate and he is a guy that gets his real value from his defense. What about Xander Bogaerts, who the Padres gave a $280 million deal? He is hitting .217 with a woeful 72 wRC+ which is only a little bit better than the ghost of Gleyber Torres.

Will Cronenworth continue his 1.087 OPS pace that he is on over the last week or so? No, he will not. If and when he finally cools off and he and Eguy freak-ing Rosario stop carrying the offense, people are going to start noticing that San Diego's supposed stars probably need to start carrying their own weight. Hopefully they do or there are going to be less and less silver linings to hang one's hat on.

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