The “core four” have arrived. The future is now, Padres fans. If you are a fan and have a pulse, you should be excited.
The San Diego Padres fan base had been calling for these youngsters to play at Petco Park for quite some time and now they are here. Fresh off their PCL Championship run in which the group built vital team chemistry. Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje and Austin Hedges represent the future of the club and half of the potential daily lineup for the 2017 season.
At this point only Asuaje seems unlikely to start next season with the big club. Between Ryan Schimpf and Cory Spangenberg, the Padres already have two second baseman ahead of him on the depth chart currently. Perhaps a utility role is in his future, but that is yet to be determined. A trade could open up a spot for him somewhere as well. Anything can happen. The point is Asuaje gives the Padres a very nice option and despite his pedigree of success he is not guaranteed a position for the future.
Depth is a great thing to have. The current Padres team and farm system is loaded with youth and it will be difficult to advance within the organization compared to years past when the system lacked any international talent of relevance. Enjoy, Padres fans, because this is the first wave of talent that will fan the flames of your Padres fandom.
Jose Torres was also impressive last night and the most important thing about his successful debut was the fact he started the year in Single-A. The Padres young pitching staff is not as far away as some people think. Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Dinelson Lamet, Andrew Lockett and Michael Kelly are close to contributing and I imagine you will see each in some degree next season. Quantrill and Lauer will need to really be impressive next season, but each are really polished pitchers who come with a collegiate background.
Next year the Padres team will consist of very young players. Manuel Margot just turned 21, and like most of the rookies, there will be growing pains. However, the upside of these young men far outweigh any errors they potentially will make on the field or in the batters box.
In the foursome’s first game Hunter Renfroe went 2-4, Margot and Asuaje went 0-4 and Austin Hedges went 1-3 with two strikeouts. There were some complaints from teams competing against the Giants for the N.L. Wildcard that the Padres started all four players. It’s not like the team has better options, and in fact these young players easily provide a much better chance for the Padres to win. The Padres team is transitioning into a young group. It is not the franchise’s fault that their Triple-A team advanced in the minor league playoffs. The Padres haven’t had any opportunity to evaluate their young players like most every other team has.
As indicated by manager Andy Green a couple of days ago, the young guys will play most everyday and only Wil Myers is essentially guaranteed every day at bats. The young manager needs to get an idea what these young players can do against major league caliber pitchers, and with that the next 10 games will be fun to watch. Enjoy it, Padres fans, because this will be your first brief glimpse into the exciting 2017 season.