Grading the 2019 San Diego Padres’ outfielders.
Several questions were looming over the outfielders for the San Diego Padres coming into the 2019 season.
Can Hunter Renfroe or Manuel Margot take that step forward to becoming a surefire starter? Can Franchy Cordero stay healthy? Is Wil Myers going to perform to his contract? Was Franmil Reyes’ success as a rookie legit? Unfortunately, the answer to most of these questions was no.
Here’s a review on every player who played in the outfield for the San Diego Padres in 2019:
Franchy Cordero: C
Franchy Cordero is what the San Diego Padres have been looking for, a left-handed hitting outfielder who can get on base. Cordero’s most significant problem over his first two seasons for San Diego has been staying on the field as the injury bug bit him once again in 2019. Cordero was only able to get 15 at-bats this season, but he was very successful in his small amount of playing time. Cordero had a .333 batting average, a .850 OPS, and a stolen base. Cordero receives a “C” because he was productive, but he only played in nine games. He may no longer be a Padre after the 40-man roster crunch due to his inability to stay on the field.
Travis Jankowski: C-
In what was already going to be a “prove it year” for Travis Jankowski, he got behind the 8-ball quickly. Jankowski injured his wrist early in spring training and need to get surgery that would sideline him for three months. To add insult to injury, there was no available roster spot for him once he was healthy. Once Fernando Tatis Jr. was placed on the IL in August, Jankowski was brought back to the major league club. Unfortunately for him, his performance was lackluster, to say the least. Jankowski profiles as a speedy lefty who gets on-base, but in 24 ABs, he only tallied four hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. Additionally, Jankowski was only a 50% base stealer. With Taylor Trammell looming in the minors, the 2019 season could spell the end for one of San Diego’s fan favorites.
Manuel Margot: B-
Manuel Margot’s 2019 was also a “prove it year.” He got off to a great April, as his OPS was as high as .909 at one point. Things would not remain that way for Margot. Fortunately for him, some of his main centerfield competition suffered injuries. To add on, Myers also began to slump at the end of April and beginning of May. The centerfield job was wide open for Margot and took him a while to gain his stride again. For much of May and June, his OPS was in the .500-.600 range, which is significantly below league average. Once July came around, the Manuel Margot the San Diego Padres need showed up. He slashed .254/.390/.493 in July, which, when paired with his stellar defense, makes the ideal centerfielder.
Margot cooled down in August and September, as he continues to be inconsistent at the plate. Outside of hitting, Margot had a fantastic year on the basepaths and in the field. Margot stole 20 bags in 24 attempts, which is significantly better than his career 70% success rate. He also had six DRS, two assists, and a 2.39 range factor. When you consider that his defense was above average along with flashes of potential at the plate, Magot will likely be the starting CF for the Padres next spring. He receives a “B-” because his hitting is still inconsistent.
Nick Martini: B+
When the San Diego Padres traded Logan Allen and Franmil Reyes, two spots on the 40-man roster opened up. Having an open spot allowed Padres GM A.J. Preller to claim Nick Martini off of waivers at the end of August. Martini gives San Diego the left-handed contact outfielder that the Padres haven’t had since Will Venable. Martini, in his lone month as a Friar, was very successful. His .344 OBP in September gave Andy Green and Rod Barajas a consistent top of the lineup hitter, and a bat that could be an excellent compliment to Fernando Tatis Jr. in 2019. His defense was very mediocre, which is why Martini is receiving a “B+.” This pickup has some potential for 2020.
Wil Myers: C-
With the addition of Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, the San Diego Padres were hoping that 2019 would be a successful year for Myers since there would be less pressure on him to produce. This seemed to be the case in the first couple of weeks. However, things took a turn for the worse in late April. Myers seemingly forgot how to hit a baseball, and he started to get in his head. His average, which was once comfortably above .300, was all of sudden below .230. Once Manuel Margot found his groove, Myers no longer had a spot up the middle. As for the corners, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes were both hitting baseballs over the fence. It seemed like Myers had lost his spot.
Fortunately, he got out of his funk when he stopped swinging for the fences every time. Myers was one of San Diego’s few bright spots offensively in the second half, but still was not where he needs to be. When one considers that he doesn’t seem to be improving and he’ll be making $20 million in each of the next three years, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to eat some money and move on from the former All-Star. Myers gets a “C-” because he was inconsistent and is not performing to his contract.
Josh Naylor: C-
Josh Naylor was a rookie in 2019, so it would be unfair to be too harsh on him. Naylor’s profiled as a left-handed slugger, and it showed at times. In July and August, he posted a .833 and .853 OPS, respectively. Given that the league average OPS is in the mid-700s, Naylor’s bat was very useful. His problem is that his OPS was significantly below average in the other months. Another positive about Naylor is that he had a .333 AVG with runners in scoring position. That is considerably higher than the San Diego Padres team AVG of .254. Naylor shouldn’t be considered an outfielder in the long-term, as his .936 fielding percentage is very alarming. With Hosmer locked up at first base for the future, the Padres should hope the MLB brings the DH to the national league.
Hunter Renfroe: B-
Let’s start by saying there were two different versions of offensive Hunter Renfroe in 2019: pre-All-Star break Renfroe and post-All-Star break Renfroe. Renfroe had an elite .921 OPS and smashed 27 home runs in the first half. In the second half, he had a .562 OPS and hit only six home runs. It is worth noting that he had been dealing with multiple ankle injuries throughout the second half. In the field, Renfroe was incredible. He led all outfielders in defensive runs saved per game (26) and was 2nd in OF assists (13). His defensive efforts should net him some votes for a Gold Glove. If the first half Hunter Renfroe shows up in 2020, we’ll be talking about a contract extension. If he picks up where he left off, his spot could be in jeopardy. Renfroe receives a “B+” because of his defense and first half hitting wise.
Franmil Reyes: B
To the dismay of the friar faithful, Franmil Reyes’ 2019 campaign with the San Diego Padres was cut short when he was traded to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline. Not only did the Padres lose one of their most consistent power bats, but they also lost the most prominent personality in the clubhouse. The team morale seemed much lower following the departure of “the Franimal.” At the time of the trade, Reyes was 2nd on the team in HRs (27) and 3rd on the team in OPS (.849). The main reason that Reyes was traded is his atrocious defense. He had -11 DRS, which was the 5th worst in the MLB for all fielders. Reyes receives a “B” because he performed to his expectations.
As a whole, the San Diego Padres outfielders were disappointing. The main thing that they lacked was consistency. Every outfielder had stretches where they performed exceptionally well. Contrarily, they also had times where it looked like they didn’t belong in the MLB. General Manager A.J. Preller will have some crucial decisions on how to handle the outfield in the offseason. The outfield as a group will receive a “C-” grade due to inconsistency and no outfielder standing out as a future starter.
It is very early to be projecting the outfield for next year, as it seems like there will be additions and trades regarding the outfield. As it stands, one could assume Hunter Renfroe will be starting in right, Margot will be starting in center, and Martini will be starting in left.