Padres PNO (Positives/Negatives/Outlook): Hunter Renfroe

Credit: Jake Roth/Reuters Photo

Credit: USA Today Sports

The 13th overall pick of the 2013 Draft out of Mississippi State, Hunter Renfroe was cast as the prototypical light tower hitting, cannon throwing modern day right fielder.

This Mississippi State Bulldog had a productive 2018 season.

Today, we will be taking a look at Renfroe’s PNO (Positives/Negatives/Outlook) as we continue to go through the entire roster.

Positives

Plus Power

From his time as an amateur, he has received grades as high as 70 in terms of his raw power. For the second straight season, Renfroe amassed 26 home runs in less than a full season worth of at-bats (403). His .504 slugging percentage led the team and his ISO was an astounding .256.

Adjustments

Anybody who watched the Padres consistently over the second half of the season would agree that they saw some major improvements from Renfroe. He showed an ability to hit right-handers with power. He also showcased an ability to be a little more patient at the plate. 18 out of his 26 home runs were against right-handed pitchers. Renfroe is not morphing into Joey Votto 2.0, but when a young hitter shows you the ability to drop his K% from 29.2% in ’17 to 24.7 in ’18 while raising his BB% from 5.6% to 6.8% during the same period of time you have to be happy. His cumulative numbers resulted in his wrc+ coming in at 114+ which means he was 14% better than league average.

Peak of the Future?

Outside of the ’16 September cup of coffee that he received, the Padres faithful have not been demonstrated what Hunter is capable of in a major league uniform. During August of ’18, that all changed with a career month.  He hit .302 with a slugging percentage of .613 and a collective OPS of .935 which is an all-star caliber performance.

Credit: AP Photo

A great sign that this might be something that has the ability to carry over to ’19 is his stark increases in hard contact percentage which was 34.6% in ’17 to 47.2% in ’18.  As you would assume, his soft contact rate dropped as well from 23.5% to 18.1%.  A more selective hitter who is hitting same-handed pitching better and with more authority is a great thing.

Negatives

BB%

Even though Hunter showed improvement from his rookie year in ’17 to ’18, he will have to show continued development in his plate discipline moving forward if he has a chance to fully unlock his immense power potential with the bat.  He took a big step forward in 2018 by hitting right-handed pitching while bringing down his K/%.  At the same time, he was selective and raised his BB% giving him better pitches to drive and a chance to be a middle of the order producer for this team.

Situational Hitting

Unfortunately, Hunter has not succeeded in situational hitting chances when given large opportunities.  In over 110 plate appearances in ’18, he hit an abysmal .221.  The mental approach seems to stress him out sometimes when the “clean up” spot calls upon his services. While hitting in the four hole he hit .229 and struck out fifty times in 144 at-bats, for a dreadful K% of 34.7%. He must improve in this area.

Outlook

If Hunter makes it to opening day on the roster (save being traded), he will be looked upon as an integral part of the outfield. There is hope that the growth he showed at the plate in the second half is real.  If the hitter he showed in the second half is real, the Padres might have hit on that light-tower hitting, cannon throwing outfielder. If not, he will be another tooled up player that never maximized his potential and could end up being a platoon player against left-handed pitching.  The ball is in your court, Mr. Renfroe.

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Nick Recchia
I am a lifelong Padres Fanatic who loves to talk and debate any and all sports. But SD Padres and minor leagues hold a special place above all. A 33-year-old born and raised San Diegan who is a season ticket holder and puts his money where his mouth is.

4 thoughts on “Padres PNO (Positives/Negatives/Outlook): Hunter Renfroe

  1. Why?
    Why does every writer at EVT cherry pick statistics?
    His August numbers were great, but his July and September numbers were terrible. How can a great August be expected to carry over to 2019 if it’s followed by a crap September? Why aren’t you writing about whether his September numbers carry over?
    Renfroe is 27 in January and so far has been another first round bust. He did show incremental improvement in 2018, but his profile is not promising. A streaky hitter with good power, low BA, low OBP, below average glove and no value on the basepaths is just not that valuable, or difficult to replace.
    A club that knows how to run things would trade either Myers or Renfroe. If they trade Myers, expect Renfroe to be given another 500 ABs to see if there is any more potential left.
    A club that really knows the game would trade both Myers and Renfroe and give that playing time to younger players with higher ceilings.

    1. TT – seems like you and I are watching different players. To me, Renfroe has been given uneven and sporadic playing time. He is a little streaky, but i think regular playing time would help him become the player that every other inquiring team thinks he is. And who are our younger players with higher ceilings ? Margot ? Naylor ? I relish power guys since we rarely have any. Renfroe had 68 RBIs in 440 ABs, 2nd on the team to Hosmer’s 69 in 677 ABs. Who is more valuable?

  2. The Padfroes need to make room for him as an everyday player. With 600+ ABs he could be a 30 HR / 100 RBI guy , not seen here since Adrian Gonzalez

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