It is not a secret that the San Diego Padres have had issues getting on base continuously this season.
This problem is not new, as the Padres have had on-base percentage difficulties just after moving into Petco Park in beautiful downtown San Diego. In the last 13 seasons, the Padres have not finished higher than 22nd overall in MLB in terms of OBP for a team (they put up a .308 OBP in 2013).
Worse yet, the San Diego Padres have finished dead last in OBP for five straight years. From 2014 to 2018, the Padres averaged an OBP of .299 from their collective team. In over 800 games, the team got on base at a percentage that would not be deemed acceptable if it were an individual player. Something must be done.
For the 2019 season, the Padres are currently 24th with a .310 OBP. That is an improvement, but far from where the team needs to be if they want to compete.
A few weeks ago, Nick Martini was claimed by the team from the Oakland A’s. The Athletics are a team who widely covet players who get on base. Martini was only left unprotected due to a roster crunch by Oakland. The Padres wasted no time in jumping on the 29-year-old outfielder. At the time, the addition seemed questionable. I even wrote about how the Martini pickup complicated the outfield. But he has more than proven his worth by giving quality at-bats each time he steps to the plate.
Speaking of professional at-bats, Greg Garcia has exemplified that for the Padres in 2019. He works the count each time he is up to bat. The Padres have continually utilized him out of the leadoff spot simply because he gets on base. In 182 at-bats, Garcia has recorded a .361 on-base percentage. Martini, in 11 games, has gotten on base at a .386 clip. Those two represent the future of the team in terms of what their goal is for each batter in the lineup.
Nineteen Padres batters struck out on Sunday against the Chicago Cubs, and that is a common theme for San Diego. It is not just the strikeouts, but the team only walked four times in the contest. Giving away at-bats at an enormous rate has resulted in a stagnant offense that has no energy to it. At least when Franmil Reyes was in the lineup, he provided charisma to the team.
Martini has forced his way into possible consideration for the 2020 season. He has played well, and the left-handed batter has established himself as a player to be further evaluated. Garcia’s role for 2020 seems uncertain at the moment, as the Padres have several second base options that are younger than him. Luis Urias and Ty France are probably going to be allowed to compete in the spring for the starting job. No matter what, Garcia should be retained by the Padres as a bench option. It is hard to imagine the Padres won’t bring back the native San Diegan.
Garcia and Martini represent a new philosophy for the Padres. One that is long overdue. San Diego must improve their OBP to succeed in the league. Both men are not young players, but hopefully, their way of battling at the plate will rub off on these youthful Padres moving forward. A new era of Padres baseball is here, and these two veterans represent a new approach at the plate that must be adopted bt all.