The 2016 season for the San Diego Padres has started off about as poorly as anyone could have expected. With the offense struggling and injuries beginning to pile up, it is apparent that the organization is in a position to shake up the roster and try something different.
Hunter Renfroe and Alex Dickerson would appear to be the first two in line to be called up to the big league club. With Dickerson being 26 years old and already having a small sample size of major league experience, he could be the first one up in an effort to bolster the offense. He’s off to a hot start, currently riding a 24 game hitting streak while batting over .400.
However, most Padres fans are more familiar with the name Hunter Renfroe, their first round draft pick in 2013. The power-hitting outfielder has continued to impress in his time in the minors. His level of play has certainly warranted a chance to take his talents to the Padres. Though, with the inflated contracts of Melvin Upton Jr. and Matt Kemp standing is his way, it is possible he will have to wait until one is traded before he can truly get his shot.
So with no real spot for Dickerson or Renfroe on the big league club, The Padres may look elsewhere to help give the lineup the boost that it needs, and they may have that boost they’re looking for in Carlos Asuaje. The 24-year-old second basemen was one of the four minor leaguers acquired in the Craig Kimbrel trade last offseason. While he may have not been as highly touted as fellow minor leaguers Manuel Margot or Javier Guerra, Asuaje shows promise in a currently depleted farm system.
At 5′ 9″, he is undersized and unfortunately does not make up for his stature with much power or speed. In 2015, He hit .251 with eight home runs in 495 at-bats. Nothing to get too excited about. However, as unimpressive as those numbers are, he has seemingly found new life in El Paso. While it is still early in the season, Asuaje is currently hitting .337 with four home runs in 169 at-bats. He has roughly half the home runs and doubles as he had in AA with roughly a third of the at-bats. It’s no secret that the Pacific Coast League is a hitters paradise and it is not uncommon for certain players to perform a bit over their head. However, for Asuaje to be hitting almost 100 points higher than he was in AA is nothing to scoff at.
Yangervis Solarte has just returned to the big league club after a stint on the disabled list with a strained hamstring. Solarte, The Padres’ opening day third basemen, has now been moved to second base to replace Corey Spangenberg, whom is also injured. This has left Brett Wallace, who is by no means a third baseman, to play third base. Wallace has shown flashes at third and also at the plate, yet still profiles best as a pinch hitter, a role he saw much success in 2015.
By bringing in Asuaje, The Padres could let Solarte go back to third, let Wallace return to the bench, and give Asuaje a chance to prove himself at the big league level. There is a possibility that Asuaje’s recent surge of offense could just be a product of the ultra hitter friendly confines of the PCL. However, until Spangenberg returns and with The Padres seemingly already out of the running for a pennant, it would behoove them to see what the kids in El Paso can do when given a chance.