Here we are at the MLB All-Star break, the five-win pass came and went and we’ve seen plenty of new faces, from waiver wins like Chase d’Arnaud and free agent signings like Craig Stammen, to trade pieces like Matt Szczur. More importantly, the Padres first wave of talent has arrived at Petco Park.
To start the season, the Padres had some guys we were expecting to see, like Hunter Renfroe and top prospect Manuel Margot. Then there is Rule 5 guys Allen Cordoba, Luis Torrens, and Miguel Diaz, who we expected to see some production from. The team also had some guys get called up due to injury like Carlos Asuaje, Zach Lee, Franchy Cordero, and Dinelson Lamet.
With so many new faces on the field every week, it’s easy to get lost among who is who. So as we take a short break from baseball, let’s focus on the rookies for the San Diego Padres and how they have fared so far this season.
Hunter Renfroe is the first rookie of the bunch to work his way entirely through the Padres’ system and make it to the big stage. We all got a glimpse of Renfroe’s power at the end of last season, and we have also seen plenty of Renfroe power this season. Renfroe has crushed 16 home runs and driven in 39 RBI, while recording a slash line of .231/.287/.449. He is currently projected to finish the season with 27 home runs and 71 RBI, which should put him among the top candidates for N.L. Rookie of the Year.
One of the biggest improvements for Renfroe this season has been his plate discipline. His last year in Triple-A, Renfroe walked a total of just 22 times and struck out 115 times. To start this season, Renfroe went 17 games without working a walk and struck out 15 total times. By the end of April, he had walked just nine times and struck out a total of 28 times.
Now through June and into July, Renfroe holds a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 22:95. He’s on pace to strike out a total of 163 times this season, but his 22 free passes, halfway through the season, is equal to the amount in which he walked in all of last season at El Paso. In fact, his 22 walks put him inside the top five for walks among N.L. rookies this season.
The most enjoyable thing we have seen from Renfroe this season, is the strength that this young kid has displayed at the plate and in the outfield. Renfroe is crushing balls that come over the plate at an average exit velocity of 92.1 mph. When in the outfield, runners have begun to learn that running on Renfroe is a mistake.
Next up is Manny Margot. The leadoff hitting rookie missed some time from May 24 to June 27 with an injury, but he hasn’t missed a step since. In his second game back, Margot worked a walk, then stole second and third base in the same at-bat to show that he wasn’t going to be slowed down by any type of injury.
Margot is currently slashing .263/.311/.392 with five home runs, three triples, nine doubles, and 17 RBI in the leadoff spot. He is currently 5th among all N.L. rookies in batting average.
His speed out of the box, on the base paths, and in the outfield make Margot a threat no matter where he is on the field. There’s no doubt he will also be among the N.L. Rookie of the Year conversations at the end of this season.
This next guy on this list is a Rule 5 draft selection, and he is actually turning out to be a successful experiment. Prior to this season, Allen Cordoba spent four years at the rookie level or lower. The 21-year-old was originally signed as an international free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals from Panama.
The Padres spotted what they thought was a diamond in the rough and took a gamble on the rookie ball-level shortstop, and he’s turned out to be quite the surprise. He is sporting a .232 batting average, which isn’t the best, but in his first 155 at bats above the rookie level, it isn’t that bad.
Cordoba has hit three longs balls and drove in just 12 runs, but what more can you ask from the kid? The Padres have done very well in the Rule 5 draft the past two years, and Cordoba is just another product of that system for the Friars.
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