The San Diego Padres upgraded their teams anemic offense with the likes of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Derek Norris and Wil Myers. Each has produced for the Padres, but an unsung hero has emerged of late. Will Venable has been an absolute pleasure to witness these past few games.
Robbing Mike Trout of a home run on Tuesday night and then drawing a key walk in the tenth inning where the Padres broke the game open with a Matt Kemp bases loaded double. Venable has brought with him to the ball park an excellent attitude and is clearly a favorite among his team mates.
The defense that Will Venable provides in center field is very refreshing to see. Wil Myers attempt to play center was a noble effort, but he is clearly a corner outfielder or perhaps even a first baseman. I don’t know what the Padres plan is for the immediate future. Chances are once Yonder Alonso returns from injury and Myers is able to play, he will be in center field again. We will see where the club sits player-wise in the next few weeks. A trade is always possible with A.J. Preller at the helm.
Venable had only received 24 at bats in all of April. With Upton, Kemp and Myers playing almost every day, he was relegated to a pinch-hitting role for the Padres. In fact Venable has raised his average from .133 on May 7th, all the way to .304 which it currently is. He has been fantastic replacing Myers in the line-up. Venable being left-handed is especially valuable for the team.
Venable’s defense is probably his most important asset to the team. He is capable of playing gold-glove caliber defense in the outfield, something the Padres have been lacking. Kemp has been terrific in right, not a liability at all, like some advanced defense numbers suggest. Those advanced fielding numbers can be flawed to a certain degree, and there is nothing like seeing a player everyday to gauge their abilities. You can stare at numbers all you want, but actually watching the player play the game is the best way to judge talent. The best and most accurate way to gauge a players worth is a mix of scouting and baseball analytics. That is my opinion, and I’m sticking to it.
When I look at the Kansas City Royals and their team, I realize hoe much more advanced their defense is. They can absolutely beat you with their defense and the Padres can most assuredly not say that. The game of baseball is ever-changing and players that perform on defense are being recognized for their accomplishments as much as offensive players. If Will Venable did not go up and rob that home run against Trout, the Angels would have won that game. Plain and simple.
In the future, I hope that A.J. Preller begins to add some defensive minded players to the team in order to conjure up a winning team. The game of baseball is the ultimate team sport. There must be a cohesive group pulling for the same cause. One player can easily disrupt the flow if the whole team. Will Venable provides excellent defense and a much needed left-handed bat. As long as he swings at hot bat, the man should be in the line-up on most nights.