Crowded Padres’ Outfield Will Lead to Fun Competition This Spring

Credit: USA Today Sports

Credit: USA Today Sports

In Peoria, this spring, the San Diego Padres will have a fun competition on their hands. It is becoming clear that the team will not trade an outfielder this winter, so this unit will have a very fierce battle this spring for playing time.

Heading into this winter it seemed as though the San Diego Padres would need to trade an outfielder. The emergence of Franmil Reyes in 2018 only complicated an already crowded area which has five viable starters (Jankowski makes six) for three positions. The thought was that the team would have no trouble moving a player if the right deal came along this winter.

Apparently, that deal never happened as the Padres are headed to spring training this week with roughly the same outfield unit they had in 2018.

The Padres and their manager often preach of competition and that is exactly what the Padres’ outfield unit is headed for this spring. Only Wil Myers is out of minor league options, so any of the remaining five players may be demoted. In the end, if a trade or injury does not happen, that will be the likely scenario. But until then, expect to see a fierce battle.

Let’s review each of these men as we try to determine who will make the team when they break camp in Peoria.

Wil Myers

Of all the players battling for playing time, Myers is a lock to make the team and most likely be in left field on Opening Day. His days at third base seem to be over, so Myers should see plenty of action at either corner outfield position. If allowed to play the outfield on a daily basis, there is no reason to believe that Myers will be a solid defender. This is his last year before a big pay raise in 2020 and the right-handed hitter could take his offensive game to the next level. An arm and oblique injury cost Myers valuable playing time in 2018 and he should be motivated to prove the naysayers wrong.

Manuel Margot

He seems like the likely choice at center field as he comes with the reputation of being a plus defender. Margot made spectacular plays last season on defense, but also looked lost and bored from time to time last season. He also regressed badly with the bat which is a concern. Hopefully, all the issues with his bat were nothing more than a sophomore jinx. The outfielder still does everything in the game well (minus power), so there is plenty of reason to be patient with him.

(AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Franmil Reyes

La Mole came on last season and immediately endeared himself to the fan base. He is a youthful energetic player with unbelievable power from the right side of the plate. His size (6-foot-5/260 lbs.) provides plenty of pop, but Reyes has the rare ability to go the other way and shorten up his swing with two strikes. He is hardly a one-trick pony and the Padres saw firsthand that he possesses the great ability to adjust. He has issues defensively but should improve in 2019.

Franchy Cordero

A statcast darling, Cordero could breakout in 2019 if he is given the chance to play every day. The left-handed hitter struggled last year against southpaws but has shown (in the past) the ability to be a decent stick against left-handed pitchers. He does strike out way too much, but the ball has a different sound off his bat when he squares it up. Cordero is a converted shortstop and has struggled with route reading in center field. He has the speed and arm to play the position but will need innings on defense to improve his instincts in center.

Hunter Renfroe

At times last year, Renfroe was very impressive with the bat. He took his offensive game to the next level by simply having better strike recognition. He struck out roughly at the same pace as before and hardly drew any walks again, but he did not take many called strikes. If a pitch was in the zone, he hit it. That resulted in an improved year with his OPS and OPS+. Defensively he can be a bit frustrating to watch as he has very good baseball skills, but take bad angles and overthrows cutoff men. His plus arm is impressive as Renfroe easily guns out runners on the basepaths. If he is given consistent playing time, there is no reason why Renfroe can’t hit 30 homers at the major league level.

Travis Jankowski

He is a perfect #4 or #5 outfielder and that is why he will probably make the team out of the spring. He provides plus speed and plus defense off the bench and is the perfect complement to Franmil, Renfroe, and Myers who are all right-handed hitters. Jankowski showed an improved bat last year which allowed him to stick in the major league after starting the year in El Paso. Of all the before mentioned outfielders, Jankowski has the least offensive ability. However, he does the little things and is a valuable member of the team.

The Verdict

It is going to be fun watching these men compete for playing time this spring. The Padres could shock the world and add Bryce Harper to the mix. That would immediately complicate the whole situation but in a good way. A trade could still happen in the next few weeks, but the Padres are under no pressure to make a move. As mentioned before, all of these men except for Myers have minor league options left. No matter what, the Padres should open the season in late March with a very productive outfield unit.

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James Clark
James was born and raised in America's Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that's our motto. Enjoy.

10 thoughts on “Crowded Padres’ Outfield Will Lead to Fun Competition This Spring

  1. “Cordero is a converted shortstop and has struggled with route reading in center field.” Seems to me he might be a good experiment at 3B.

  2. James, I think you meant to write “there is no reason to believe that Myers will NOT be a solid defender. ”
    One guy will have to be traded.
    Cordero: needs to play every day if he hopes to develop baseball skills, so AAA it should be.
    Jankowski: 4th OF.
    Margot: make or break year, should start in CF.
    Myers: the club has tried to trade him, but with that contract has negative trade value.
    Reyes: let’s see if his bat is for real, and if he can lose some weight and become less of a liability in the field.
    Renfroe: at age 27, he too is at the make or break stage. With a reputation for being uncoachable and his putrid OBP numbers (career OBP .296) it’s hard to believe he’s still on the roster. With Reyes and Myers both better hitters, he has to be the odd man out.

    1. You are selling Renfroe WAY SHORT!!! Renfroe is a 35-40 HR with 100 RBI guy if he gets 600 AB’s. Until someone else shows any different he had the most productive 2018 of any on this list. Myers needs to go, we need as much of that annual salary back in the mix for other needs ASAP. DUMP HIM. Reyes is a Liability in the field. Margot is a Liability at the plate and stealing bases, which not be a problem for him, but it is. Cordero should be a starter in 2020. Get Machado and let Harper play where he ends up.

  3. Myers in the outfield has meant injuries. He should be the first baseman with the money spent on Hosmer going toward a top free agent this year instead.

    1. Yes, Margot has not earned the starting gig. Unless he has a huge spring, he should start in AAA in the hopes he earns a roster spot.

  4. Send Margot down to AAA like they did with Renfroe. I don’t understand the teams desire to let him “grow” at the big league level. But send everyone else down who isn’t producing.

    1. Yes, Margot has not earned the starting gig. Unless he has a huge spring, he should start in AAA in the hopes he earns a roster spot.

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