110 games into this wonderful 2018 season, the San Diego Padres find themselves with a record of 42-68, and 18.5 games out of first place.
Coming off the worst month in franchise history, it’s safe to say that last place is secured.
While digging up some stats, I stumbled upon something truly unbelievable.
The San Diego Padres ranked dead last in MLB on-base percentage in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. Not-so-coincidentally, the 2018 Padres have the lowest OBP in all of baseball.
In order to win a baseball game, a team must score runs. In order to score runs, players must get on base. Infielders such as Jose Pirela (.310 OBP), Christian Villanueva (.277 OBP), Carlos Asuaje (.292 OBP), and Cory Spangenberg (.260 OBP) are awful at getting on base, and continue to get consistent playing time. To put things into perspective, the Chicago Cubs have a team OBP of .347.
Call up time
With the #1 ranked farm system in all of baseball, you’d think that A.J. Prefer would have called up a couple of prospects by now. This is not the case. Luis Urias deserves to be called up, and play every game. The 21-year-old has a .378 OBP this season and a .392 career OBP. Once on base, Urias ranks 9th in PCL runs scored.
Being a former collegiate catcher, watching Austin Hedges play defense is a dream come true. From pitch calling, to blocking, communicating, and throwing, he is clearly one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. Unfortunately, 25-year-old Hedges has struggled offensively. Although injuries have held Hedges back, his career .255 OBP is pitiful.
Francisco Mejia is playing quite well in Triple-A El Paso, hitting .333 with a .409 OBP since being traded to the Padres. Mejia is only 22 years old, and has a .346 OBP over seven seasons in the Minor Leagues. Although defense has been questionable at times, Mejia is still very young, and the Padres have shown that an elite defensive catcher does not simply create wins.
Although OBP is not the end-all statistic that I’ve made it out to be, it’s incredibly important. The defending World Series Champion Houston Astros led all of MLB in OBP in 2017. Ranking 2nd were the Indians, followed by the Yankees, Cubs, Rockies, Dodgers, and Twins, all of which made the 2017 postseason.
The answer is simple for A.J. Preller; call up Urias and Mejia. Both players are major league-ready, and need to become comfortable in the show.
What’s the worst thing that could happen? The Padres lose more games?
Gavin is a San Diego native and former collegiate baseball player. He recently graduated from the University of Arizona and has followed the Padres his entire life. Gavin’s writing style emphasizes statistical analysis and player development. He looks forward to covering the Padres and their bright future.