The battle over the Padres’ left field job

Credit: Andy Hayt/Getty Images

Spread the love
Credit: Getty Images

Travis Jankowski

The 26-year-old outfielder owns a career 1.2 WAR. He was drafted in the first round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft by the San Diego Padres; he was signed by the Padres’ Northeast Scouting Director, Jim Bretz. After just two games with the AZL Padres, he was promoted to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Padres’ Class A affiliate, for the remainder of the 2012 season. With the TinCaps, Jankowski hit .282 with 17 stolen bases in 59 games. He spent the 2013 season with the Class A-Advanced Lake Elsinore Storm. He finished the 2016 season with a .245/.332/.313 batting line and 30 stolen bases in 131 games played, including 82 starts.

Jankowski was the Padres’ Opening Day left fielder in 2017, but he fouled a ball off his foot on April 14, resulting in what was initially diagnosed as a deep bone bruise. After trying to play through the injury, he was eventually diagnosed with a hairline fracture and moved to the disabled list in late April.

The outfielder started a rehab assignment in July and was activated and optioned to El Paso in August, as José Pirela had taken over in left field for the Padres. Jankowski returned to the big league club after the Chihuahuas ended their playoff run in mid-September. Obstructed by the injury early in the year, he finished 2017 with a .187 average in 87 major league plate appearances, and a .268/.358/.325 line for 179 plate appearances in the minors.

In the spring, Jankowski has played in 16 games with 40 plate appearances, has three home runs, six RBI, two stolen bases, a batting line of .242/.375/.515, and a .890 OPS.

Projections for Jankowski in 2018: 282 at bats, five home runs, 20 doubles, 19 RBI, .241/.321/.349 batting line, and a .671 OPS.

Matt Szczur

The 28-year-old outfielder owns a career -0.4 WAR. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on May 6, 2017. The Cubs traded him to the San Diego Padres for RHP Justin Hancock on May 8, 2017.

In 2017, for the Padres, Szczur played in 104 games, with 214 plate appearances, three home runs, two triples, 11 doubles. 15 RBI, a batting line of .227/.358/.364, and a .722 OPS.

Szczur’s 2018 projections are 339 plate appearances, eight home runs, two triples, 16 RBI, a batting line of .243/.329/.392, and a .721 OPS.

Alex Dickerson

The 27-year-old outfielder owns a career 1.1 WAR. In November 2013, the former Big 10 Conference Baseball Player of the Year was traded to the Padres for Jaff Decker and Miles Mikolas.

Credit: USA Today Sports

Dickerson severely sprained his ankle in 2014 spring training with the Padres, and a MRI later found a cyst on his heel which required surgery. The surgery delayed his start to the 2014 season, but he finished with 34 games with the Double-A San Antonio Missions. In late 2014, the Padres added Dickerson to their 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule-five draft. Hip injuries slowed Dickerson at times in 2015, and 2016 it was left heel surgery.

Again in July 2017, Dickerson had to undergo surgery to remove bulging disc material from his lower back. Dickerson had undergone, at age 15, a similar procedure. Before the injury, he batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS.

Dickerson has a sprained UCL in his left elbow and is expected to miss the first month of the season.

Projections, if healthy, have Dickerson with 203 plate appearances, eight home runs, 12 doubles, 28 RBI, a .256/.330/.443 batting line, and .774 OPS.

Wil Myers

There are rumors of Myers maybe playing left field in 2018. Over this last three games, Myers has played left field.

“We’re going to come off the off day (Monday) and decide where he’s going to play a majority of the time,”  Manager Andy Green said. “He hasn’t got a ton of action out there (left field). He says he feels good.” Green went on to say “So we’re going to watch with our own eyes and evaluate where we think he’s best, but give him a few games in a row out there and see how he responds to left.”

6 thoughts on “The battle over the Padres’ left field job

  1. I’d love to see Myers traded as well, however, they would get nothing for him, and they would likely have to pay a large part of his salary. I know you like Hosmer, but they would have great difficulty trading him as well … and they would not be in this predicament if they had not signed him

    1. Yosemite Sam, thanks for the support on my thought on Myers. I do disagree on if he has value as a trade chip without the Padres covering a portion of his contract. The key to that for me is when you move him. He is owed $77.5 Mil over the last 5 years of his contract, that is a seasonal average of $15.5 Mil. That is very reasonable for a 3 WAR OF. If he was moved by the break this year, his average salery goes to $16.223 Mil for 4.5 years, after this season it goes to $18.25 MIl for 4 seasons. Note the $20 mil he is owed in 2023 is a club option, so I didn’t count that in my calculations. If we wait till after his two cheaper years that ends after 2019 season I believe your point is valid, we will have to cover part of his remaining contract. It will also block both Renfroe and Cordero taking the next step. One or both might be moved, IMO for allot less than Myers could fetch. The next part of this equation, is can Myers have a solid first half this season to increase his value. He historically has better first halves then after. He seems to need others around him in the lineup to improve his results, anyway that is what many people say. I believe that is the oppotunity we have over the first half of 2018. With Hosmer and Headley around him he will have the best lineup protection he has had in the last 18 months when his results have spiraled downward.

      1. A few comps for Myers at corner OF, is Yoenis Céspedes, Jay Bruce, and Andrew McCutchen are ALL in their early 30’s. Myers is ONLY 27 at this point, just entering his prime. On another team he could go back to 1B or to DH if he lands with an AL team.

  2. I like Renfroe and Cordero’s ceiling level long term. No doubt Pirela deserves playing time this year. IMO, we can not have 3 OF’s that ALL hit from the right side once we take that next step to being a contender. I know this thought is one not shared by any of the writers here on this site, but IMO Myers is the weak link here, talent and skills are there but his mental approach holds him back. In addition Myers would yield the biggest return in a trade. I think a Cordero, Margot, Renfroe OF is a Top 5 unit in MLB, one that is capable to put up 12+ WAR combined each season for many years to come. With Cordero and Margot roaming 70% of the OF they will allow Renfroe to cover the rest and reduce any range issues he might have playing in the field.

    1. I don’t think your opinion on Myers is crazy. He did see a sports psychologist this offseason and put on 20 pounds. Renfroe’s still considered a prospect his defense worries me but so does Myers. Cordero is still young and considered a prospect as well, eventually he will work himself into a starting corner outfield position if not this year 2019. One thing a lot of people don’t take into consideration is most of our prospects are under contract for years. But if you look at the Royals for example most of their youth movement all reached the pinnacle at the same time and the Royals couldn’t financially keep the team together. Going over the Prospects in the Padres system the padres have several great outfielders coming up over in the next couple years and the pinnacle wont be within reach for several years. We have amazing 16 to 20 year old kids coming and I really don’t see a need to put guys like Tatis Jr. and Urias up in the big leagues when we’re a couple years away for a serious run. I can’t favor any one outfielder in the article but we have a bottle neck and it may cost the padres one or two of them. Thanks for your opinion and I assure you if I heard or seen a possible trade for Myers that makes sense long-term I will write about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *