Now With Franmil Reyes, the Padres Have an Exciting & Crowded Outfield

Source: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images North America

(Franmil Reyes) Credit: MiLB

What if I told you that the Padres would have an exciting outfield in 2018, but it didn’t include Wil Myers?

Myers is up to his old tricks of not being able to stay healthy, as he is on his second stint on the disabled list and may be on the shelf for a while.

Manuel Margot has been struggling mightily at the plate with a .202 average and a measly 52 wRC+ this season and has not been the main contributor at center like the Padres’ front office had hoped so far. This is about what the Padres have, not what they do not have.

Franmil Reyes 

First and foremost, the Padres have called up Franmil Reyes from El Paso and EVT’s own James Clark was on the case.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound right fielder is a powerful bat that seems to be tapping into his potential this season. Heading into Monday, he led all of professional baseball, major or minor league, with 14 home runs. The best part is that he is not a one-trick pony that some think Hunter Renfroe may be. Reyes is hitting .346 with an above-average 13.6 percent walk rate and an average 20.1 percent strikeout out. The 22-year-old just puts the ball in play, and those balls are usually hit very hard.

Major League Baseball is going to quickly figure out what this kid is all about. He brings some juice to this improving and athletic outfield.

Franchy Cordero

Cordero may be the most exciting Padres player to this point this year, and even one of the more exciting young players in all of baseball. He has shown marked improvement in just about every aspect of his game since his brief 30-game stint with the team last season. His strikeout rate is down 11 percent, his walk rate up four percent, his average up over 40 points, and his wRC+ has gone from 83 to 133. He is also a Statcast master, as most of his batted balls have excellent exit velocity and he also has elite speed in the field and on the bases.

He is also hitting .342 in the 11 games he has batted fourth in the lineup. Even with all the tools you could want in an outfielder, Cordero is far from a perfect player, but if he can maintain these improvements over the course of a long year, the Padres have a keeper, and he can be a key piece in the outfield for years to come.

Travis Jankowski

After being up and down for much of 2015-2017, Jankowski has looked like a different player in his small sample size of 13 games this season. He is hitting .349 with a .429 on-base percentage and a 164 wRC+. He has been a revelation at the leadoff spot, where the Padres have struggled to find a producer all season. With Reyes now coming into the mix, Jankowski and Reyes may be in a platoon role to give each player some at-bats with the likes of Myers and Hunter Renfroe absent from right field.

The question will be, is any of this success sustainable? Probably not that slash line, but it looks like Jankowski truly has improved as he also boasts a 12.2 percent walk rate and under 15 percent strikeout rate.

Manuel Margot

As mentioned, Margot has struggled in 2018. That does not mean he has become anything less than the center fielder of the present and future. Manager Andy Green seems to still be confident in the Dominican outfielder.

Margot hit .263 with 13 home runs last season, and anything close to that with his defense would certainly be acceptable. His walk rate has dipped from last season (6.6% in 2017, 4.1% this season) and he has a little less thump in his bat, with a six percent drop in line-drive rate. Although, it looks as if some time on the disabled list with that bruised rib, as well as being dropped in the lineup, have done him some good. Since May 4, Margot is hitting .250.

 Matt Szczur

Szczur seems to have the resiliency of a cockroach, or a Twinkie, as some predicted he would be the roster casualty for Reyes and a few moves before that. Not so. Szczur has a respectable .319 on-base percentage, especially given his .238 average. He has a 10.6 percent walk rate along with a 92 wRC+. Although not impressive or even average, over the course of the season it has been better than the likes of Margot or Jose Pirela until just recently.

Szczur is out of options and would have to go through waivers if the Padres decided to move on from him, which may have played a role in keeping him on the roster.

This is not even considering the fact that both Jose Pirela and Cory Spangenberg have spent time in the outfield this season. With the Reyes call-up, the Padres now have seven players on the active roster who can play outfield. Plus Hunter Renfroe is on the mend and hopes to continue to improve from his up-and-down 2017 rookie year.

What does this mean going forward?

Look for Reyes and Jankowski to platoon right field for the time being. Jankowski did not start when the Padres faced Nationals lefty, Gio Gonzalez. It is likely Reyes will fill that role that was previously Szczur’s, who now looks to be a fifth outfielder and bench bat.

Center field is still Margot’s to lose and it looks like it will be for the foreseeable future.

Left field is becoming Franchy Cordero’s lair as he has started there in 12 of the past 13 games. There is no timetable for the return of Myers as of yet. The writing on the wall seems like it will be into June before we see him again. Renfroe’s return would cause another move and we will see if Szczur’s luck has run out.

The Padres would not have called up Reyes unless they plan on playing him frequently, and he basically forced the move with his ridiculous numbers in El Paso. With Cordero improving and now Reyes making waves, let the era of “Fran” begin in San Diego.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.
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Tony V.
Tony V.
4 years ago

I don’t understand all the hate on AJ Preller or Andy Green. I can bet that every single person that is ragging on the AJ and trying to run him out of town are the same people that were head over heels when he was wheeling and dealing for all those big names 3 years ago. Unfortunately that experiment didn’t work and the team had to start from scratch to rebuild the barren cupboard left that was the farm system. But at the end of the day prospects are just that; prospects. They are nowhere near a guarantee no matter… Read more »

Padre Paul
Padre Paul
4 years ago

You missed quite a few of Preller’s fiscally irresponsible plays. He paid out $10.5 million of Matt Kemp’s future salary after he was traded. He took on Melvin Upton’s $14.5 million salary to get Kimbrel. The Sheilds / Tatis trade doesn’t look so good when you realize Preller paid $38 million to the White Sox, and of course we owe Myers $70+million on the rest of his contract. Along with overpaying for Hosmer and the recent Headley dump, Preller has wasted more money than all previous Padre GMs combined. Even with credit for building the farm system, he still has… Read more »

Gary Klimas
Gary Klimas
4 years ago

So who is calling the shots when it comes to Andy Green and his revolving door lineup? I think we all know. So how long of a leash does Preller have now? NO business owner can stand a $13,000,000 loss as Preller just gave his bosses. If any of us were Fowler or Seidler, what would we say? What a disaster. That’s almost as bad as Preller trading Trea Turner away to get Wil Myers. Personally this year, I expected to see a team fighting for respectability with a chance – not a probability, but a chance to end the… Read more »

Bryan Mitchell’s Mom
Bryan Mitchell’s Mom
4 years ago
Reply to  Gary Klimas

I do. While you have sited the most current experiment gone haywire and back it up with the most obvious mistep of AJs short tenure; your argument assumes it’s just been one miss after another. It hasn’t. If you are gona run a GM out of town for making mistakes the revolving door will never stop spinning. Dead money and taking on salary is nothing new in baseball. 13M is a much better pill to swallow than a contract for Chatwood, Lynn, Cobb, or Darvish. Let’s not forget and give credit for some accomplishments AJ has. Names like Tatis, Paddack,… Read more »

Tommy T
Tommy T
4 years ago

Preller deserves credit for a few good trades and a couple of great waiver-wire pick ups (the Shields trade was a very good one, even w/o Tatis!) Also, the decision (who ever made it) to invest in the farm (like the Cubs, Astros, etc) was very good (I’m not sure why more clubs don’t do this). I would disagree on the drafting part. While Luchessi is good, the picks before him are iffy at best (Lauer may turn out to be a 4th or 5th started … AT BEST). Quantril, Potts, Reed, while all “prospects,” will be AAAA players (unless… Read more »

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