Play-cate Jace

Yesterday I posted about Jesse Hahn probably being shut down for the year in September.  Later yesterday the Padres optioned Jesse to AA and called up LHP Frank Garces.  A coincidence, or action/reaction?

Challenge accepted.  Hey Padres – play Jace Peterson more!

(pause)

They probably need a better argument than just that. 

Peterson has played both second and third base in his brief stints with the Padres.  By Dewan Plus/Minus, he’s a better second baseman (+1) than third baseman (-2).  However Jedd Gyorko currently mans second base, and will most likely do so for the foreseeable future, so Jace probably isn’t going to get much exposure at seocnd.

Third base is open, in that there is no entrenched starter there for 2015. Yangervis Solarte is doing a creditable job playing the hot corner. Although his defense over there isn’t great (-1 on the same Plus/Minus scale), it’s better than Peterson’s and encompasses a larger sample size. Jace has played about 10% of the innings at third (66 2/3) that Solarte has (638 1/3) this year.  Solarte has also been a much more productive hitter, posting a .276/.374/.418 slash line since coming over from the Yankees.  For a team that STRUGGLES to produce offensively, Yangervis has been a shot in the arm.

Not much reason to play Peterson based on that.  But there is one factor in Jace’s favor, and that’s his age. Solarte is 27 and at best a fringe prospect at this point in his career.  He started hot for New York, hitting .336 through his first 140 PA with a .414 OBP.  After that he fell off a cliff, hitting .180 with a .264 OBP over his next 149 PA.  Solarte strikes me as a Jesus Guzman-type player; someone who has produced in spurts throughout his career, and who has taken full advange of his opportunity here (good for him!), but isn’t an everyday type player to build around.

If the Padres are seriously considering Solarte as their everyday third baseman for 2015, that’s a problem.

Peterson is 24.  2014 brought his first taste of ML experience.  He’s hit decently and had high OBP numbers at every stop in the minors.  Although he hasn’t done anything at the plate so far in the Majors, the talent is there and the results will come.  September 2014 is a fantastic time to give him an extended shot, to see what he can do and if he’s someone the Padres should include in their long-range plans.  Buddy’s a master manipulator of lineups, so I’m sure he can devise a way to get Peterson more at-bats while continuing to play Solarte on a reasonable basis.

Let’s give Peterson a good look over the next 5 weeks.

The Padres do read this site, right?  Tap the table once if you do.

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  • Bruce K

    Shouldn’t the better question be: why aren’t the Padres giving him a shot to play his natural position, SS? If he’s not going to play second, he needs to play short. With Cabrera on the shelf and September fast approaching, now would be a great time to let him start at SS for the vast majority of the rest of the season. He could use regular MLB ABs, which we have failed to give him so far in his brief appearances.

    I’m also hoping that Gyorko is moved back to third for next season. He’s done well at second, but it will be easier to find a second baseman than someone for third. Heck, maybe Peterson can play second in 2015.

    • An excellent point about Peterson at short, that I’m kicking myself for not discussing. Let’s hope the Padres just skip my post and read your comment.

  • Billy Lybarger

    Why Bud Black continues to give the human out machine known as Alexi Amarista time at short is a head scratcher. Yes, Jace Peterson has had a tough time adjusting to MLB at the plate, but his defense should be solid, and he can develop much faster if he is given playing time. Amarista is a known asset regarding both defense, where he’s been solid but not spectacular at short, and offense, where he’s been pretty much pathetic. It’s time to see if Peterson can play at the big league level and an extended look now would be benefical to the club long term. Having him stay on the 25 man roster while giving him at grand total of three plate appearances is ridiculous. Play him or send him back down so he can play in AAA. Right now the team is hurting his development.

    And a big thanks to Padres Trail for taking my suggestion!

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