The versatility of Jake Cronenworth and Javier Guerra could be useful for the San Diego Padres as the team formulates their roster for the 2020 season.
This coming season, Major League Baseball added a 26th-man to each roster.
An additional player will surely bring different philosophies to the table. Some teams will keep and extra hitter, while others will save an extra arm in the bullpen. The Padres have the benefit of adding each with one single player. That may very well be useful to Jayce Tingler and his staff.
A.J. Preller is always looking for an angle, and he may have found one in keeping both Guerra and Cronenworth on the team’s 40-man roster.
Each player is a left-handed batter who can play multiple infield positions at the drop of a hat. Each man is also capable of throwing mid-90’s fastballs from the mound, which is unheard of from a position player. Guerra made his major league debut last season and showcased a superior high-velocity heater. Cronenworth was allowed to pitch this past season by his former team the Rays and looked very competent on the rubber. The wheels are turning in the front office.
It is important to note that both men are converted position players and a work in progress. A player like that would have value in blowout games, allowing the bullpen to rest. The duo could also pinch-hit off the bench when needed. Guerra is a phenomenal fielder to boot. Allowing him to play shortstop every once in a while wouldn’t be an issue either. Then there is the fact that 2020 might bring rule changes as far as the number of batters each pitcher faces when summoned from the bullpen. The possibilities are limitless for Tingler. Flexibility is a major bonus in a 162-game season.
Let’s take a look at both players’ numbers with the bat as well as on the mound.
Jake Cronenworth (26 years old)
Career minor league batting- 504 games/1,906 at-bats .769 OPS (.283/.375/.394)
Career minor league pitching- 7 games/7.1 IP/8 BB/9 K 2.45 ERA/1.636 WHIP
Collegiate career pitching- 52 games/98 IP/37 BB/104 K (27 Saves) 2.76 ERA/1.255 WHIP
Javy Guerra (24 years old)
Career minor league batting- 603 games/2,147 at-bats .665 OPS (.237/.290/.374)
Career minor league pitching- 21 games/21.1 IP/10 BB/30 K 3.38 ERA/1.172 WHIP
Career major league pitching- 8 games/8.2 IP/3 BB/6 K 5.19 ERA/1.154 WHIP
At this point, Cronenworth is the better hitter, and Guerra is the more polished pitcher. The days of swinging a bat on an everyday basis are done for Guerra. He will focus solely on pitching and further utilizing his fastball, which is capable of reaching triple-digits. As for Cronenworth, his future is up in the air a bit. His offensive output dictates that he will stay a hitter for now. The Padres may keep the experiment on the mound going, but that will probably come down to their evaluations of him this spring. His mechanics must be in order to reach his potential on the mound fully.
Both men provide an exciting aspect of the game to the Padres. Baseball is an ever-evolving entity, and two-way players seem to be the wave of the future. Luckily for the San Diego Padres, they have two young men that are capable of filling that role in 2020 and beyond. As the spring season hits, keep an eye on these two players and how they do in their quest to open the season with the major league team. One of them could very well be the Padres’ 26th-man.