As wild as it is to say, we are less than a month from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. Despite the free agent market being historically slow, with many of the top free agents still remaining unsigned halfway through January, spring training is now just around the corner.
With 40 days to go until the Padres have their first spring training game against the Seattle Mariners on February 23, now is as good a time as ever to take a look at the Padres 40-man roster going into the season.
Obviously, the roster could still see some changes in the next forty days, but as it stands, the Padres have a full 40-man roster.
Over the next month-plus, I will be posting daily articles ranking all 40 players on the Padres 40-man roster all the way up until the Padres’ first spring training game. For the purposes of this series, we will be ranking players based on past performance, future projection, team control, and long-term outlook in the organization.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it with number 40 on the Padres 40-man roster.
Originally drafted in the 24th round of the 2010 MLB Draft, catcher Rocky Gale has spent the entirety of his eight minor league seasons as a member of the San Diego Padres organization. Despite his age, Gale is about a month from his 30th birthday, he has had only a small taste of big league action (20 plate appearances in total).
When I went to rank all 40 players on the 40-man roster, it was a pretty easy decision to put Gale in the number 40 spot. Given his age and lack of big league experience, it’s pretty clear that Gale isn’t really considered a very important long-term piece by the Padres’ front office.
With that being said, he has somehow managed to last this long in the organization despite that and his mediocre overall performance. Although his glovework has received some positive reviews, Gale’s career-high 98 wRC+ in 351 Triple-A plate appearances in 2015 shows his bat just won’t cut it at the next level.
After spending at least part of each of the last six seasons in Triple-A, Gale made it seven consecutive in 2017, as the catcher played in just over 100 games with the El Paso Chihuahuas. Despite playing his games in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, Gale managed to slash just .278/.328/.365. This was a slight improvement from his overall 2016 line, but still good for just an 80 wRC+.
Gale did limit his strikeouts, with a strikeout rate just over 14 percent, but he also didn’t hit for any power (.088 ISO). All in all, it was another sub-average year for Gale behind the dish. Despite his average Triple-A performance, Gale did finish the season with a great memory, as he got a late season call up and managed to hit his first major league home run.
2018 Projection and Long Term Outlook
It was definitely nice to see Gale get his first major league home run in 2017, but his big league future certainly looks bleak. It seems very likely that Gale could be the next guy to be removed from the 40-man should the Padres make any more additions before Opening Day. Barring any sort of move, Gale looks like he will once again go into the season as the Padres main Triple-A backstop.
There’s definitely a non-zero chance that Gale could once again see some big league playing time, as the Padres currently don’t have any other catchers on the 40-man to back up Austin Hedges except for Luis Torrens, but the more likely scenario is Gale spends a majority of his season in El Paso, or perhaps with another team entirely. With a career .100 batting average, Gale’s big league future seems to be cloudy at the least. Regardless of what happens, he will always have a place in our hearts because of his Grade-A baseball name. I mean does it get much better than Rocky Gale? No, it doesn’t.