Surface level statistics can’t provide an answer; it’s too early in the year. However, several advanced views can give Padres fans ideas on what to expect from the rest of the campaign.
Jurickson Profar has been the breakout star of the season for the Padres. He’s already hit five home runs after hitting just four in 2021. Profar hit 20 home runs in both 2018 and 2019, so he’s got the potential to hit for power. The Padres came into the campaign with left field as a significant question mark, but Profar’s hot start has turned the position into a strength, at least so far. While he is not going to hit the 40+ home runs that he’s on pace to, the new approach at the plate is working for the Willemstad, Curacao native.
There are a lot of things that are going right for Profar.
He’s walking in a career-best 15.8% of at-bats. His hard-hit percentage is 3% higher than last year. Profar’s change in approach is putting more balls in the air, and less on the ground, which is great for production. The most encouraging thing about Profar is that his BABIP (batting average on balls in play) is just .170. BABIP is mainly luck-based, as it’s dependent on whether balls find gaps or not.
Profar’s low BABIP suggests that his batting average will rise, and he’ll become even more productive for the Padres.
Eric Hosmer is a very different case than Profar. He’s started the season in spectacular fashion, hitting just under .400 with a pair of home runs. He’s been extremely fortunate this season, as he’s had a .446 BABIP.
That’s the second-highest BABIP in the major leagues. His exit velocity is down as well. The first baseman is hitting a lot of line drives, which is very good.
Line drives have the highest BABIP, so his high line drive rate means that he’s making some of his good fortunes. He’s still hitting a lot of ground balls, as over 60% of his at-bats end on the ground. If Hosmer can continue to cut grounders and hit liners while also finding a way to return to his career average in walks, he can be very productive.
Jake Cronenworth hasn’t gotten off to a good start for the Padres this season. He’s hitting just over .200, and he’s hit just two home runs. Cronenworth, like many early strugglers, has been unlucky this season. His BABIP is just .233, which suggests that he will likely see an increase in success as the campaign progresses.
His strikeout rate is at 15.4%, which is right about his career average, but his walk rate has nearly doubled. Cronenworth’s increase in walks is a big reason his OBP is .346, right up with his career average of .343. His average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, and line-drive rate align with his 2021 numbers. Expect Cronenworth’s numbers to skyrocket, and he’ll return to his usual productive self.
After excelling for the Padres in 2020, Trent Grisham has struggled over his past 150 games. Grisham’s numbers have taken a major dip in 2022, slashing .134/.266/.239. Grisham’s poor play has seen him lose some time to Jose Azocar in center field, and he’s not looked anything like he used to.
Grisham is striking out in nearly 30% of his at-bats, his exit velocity is down tremendously, and he’s hitting fewer line drives and more fly balls.
Grisham looks very lost at the plate, but there are still some things to be encouraged about for the center-fielder. His glove is as good as ever, already robbing a home run, and his BABIP is .186. There’s a lot of room for Grisham to improve, and as the only real option in centerfield, Grisham will have plenty of time to fix his issues.
Wil Myers is in a contract year, he’s already found himself injured, and he’s not hitting well in the slightest. Myers is slashing .218/.254/.273, and he looks dismal at the plate. He’s striking out nearly a third of the time. He’s also only walked in 5.1% of at-bats, a career-low from Myers.
Most worryingly for Myers, his BABIP is .324, meaning he’s fortunate to be hitting as well as he is. It’s doubtful that he’ll be re-signed. The Padres have plenty of top prospects in the outfield, so this will probably be the end for the Padres veteran.