At the Pub, you might sit down and be unable to decide on a pint to drink, or want to try a variety of beers without committing to any of them. You’ll order a sampler, 4 beers served in smaller portions. This is that, in blog form.
Leave The Dong, Take The Cannoli
The San Diego Padres are bad, as expected, and currently hold the worst record in all of Major League Baseball. The Padres have a bad offense, as could have also been expected due to a lineup filled with mostly young players and castoffs, and currently rank 28th in wRC+, 28th in wOBA, and 30th in offensive fWAR, at -0.2, meaning the Padres offense, as a whole, is below replacement level. The Padres, however, are decidedly un-bad at one thing: mashing taters.
The Padres rank tied for 5th in MLB at crushing dongs, having hit 51 home runs through 39 games. That’s 1.3 per game. They are currently on pace for over 200 big flies this season, which would smash the previous team record of 172, set all the way back in 1970, the team’s 2nd year in the league. Wil Myers has 10 blasts. Ryan Schimpf has 9 dingers. Austin Hedges, surprisingly, has 8 very handsome round-trippers. Erick Aybar, the new Alexi Amarista, has 4, and rule 5 hanger-on Allen Cordoba (more on him later) has 3, which must have been particularly soul-crushing for the opposing pitchers. Among those listed, only Myers, the star, and Cordoba, in very limited exposure, have been above-average offensive players.
It’s gotten to the point that Padres manager Andy Green, who hit 2 career ding dongs as a player, has said that the team has become too reliant on scoring via the long ball, saying terribly that “You want a winning offense, you get guys on first and second, you need to get a bunt down, you get the bunt down,” but also correctly and simply that if they could just hit better (no bunting!) “with the power we have, we’ll be a very good offensive baseball club.”
It probably won’t happen, but at least the home runs keep things interesting. Chicks, and everybody else, dig the long ball.
Is Andy Green Negging Allen Cordoba?
Here’s another terrible thing Andy Green, former no-hitting utility player, said last week, this time about Allen Cordoba:
“To me, I see a super-utility guy. Some of the most valuable guys you can have on your team are guys that can handle the bat well — they can play center field, and they can play shortstop. That’s a rare commodity in the game of baseball. He has the ability down the line to be that type of player, because he’s that athletic.”
Plucked out of rookie ball and placed on a major league roster, Allen Cordoba may be losing his official prospect status soon, but he remains essentially a prospect. Whether he sticks with the Padres through the season or is sent back to the Cardinals, it’s almost a certainty that the next stop in his career will be a return to the minors, probably to Double-A, maybe even all the way down to High-A. Despite his offensive success, he should not be judged at all by his current performance, offensive or defensive, as he’s very much a project to be developed.
I think Green’s point is that he could end up being an up-the-middle player, either as a shortstop or a center fielder, but the way he says it makes it sound like he doesn’t see Cordoba as a major league regular, a starter with a defined position. He essentially says that Cordoba’s defense is currently better in the outfield than in the infield, and talks about some mechanical issues that he’s been working on with coach and former infielder Ramon Vasquez. He says these exact words though: “you can see him as a shortstop” and “he has good arm strength.” In other words, there’s no reason to think he can’t, with continued development, eventually be a good defensive shortstop at the major league level.
Cordoba is a shortstop prospect, a statement which has value, and he has shown an advanced feel at the plate in the majors when he has no business being in the majors. While the team may need him to be a utility player right now in order to justify his continued presence on the roster, there’s no reason to pigeon-hole him into a role that lessens his potential value.
The Draft Just Turned Into A Threesome
The MLB draft is now less than a month away. This is when teams really start narrowing down their draft boards and media outlets begin to ramp up their list-making, reporting, and mock-drafting. All spring, the consensus has been that there were two players at the top of the draft that had separated themselves from the rest of the pack. California prep RHP Hunter Greene and University of Louisville LHP/1B Brendan McKay have been said to be the clear top two, with a group of several other players decidedly behind them.
Of course the Padres pick third this year, so a situation like this would not great for them, being stuck as the third pick in a two pick draft. However, after a slow start to the season, Vanderbilt RHP Kyle Wright has bounced back and entered the conversation as someone who could be picked as high as first, and if not first, maybe second. The consensus top two has become a consensus top three, and while most evaluators, including Baseball America, still rank Wright third in the class, it’s not that clear-cut anymore. This is good for the Padres.
There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt about the Padres and Hunter Greene angling for him to drop to the third pick. We don’t know how true these rumors are, but we do know that if they are trying for that, they need one of the two teams picking ahead of them to pick someone other than Greene or McKay. Having Wright finish the year so strongly increases the likelihood that Greene falls to the Padres, and even if he doesn’t, it would give them an option to pick one of the two top college pitchers in the draft, if they’d like.
With AJ Preller in charge, we won’t really know what the Padres are going to do until they do it, and then when they do it we may not immediately understand why they did it. Last year, with the eighth pick, the Padres took Cal Quantrill, who ranked 38th in Baseball America’s final top 500 ranking. They then paid him an over-slot bonus. It seemed kind of crazy at the time, but it’s worked out quite nicely so far.
Luis Robert Update
Nineteen year old Cuban free agent Luis Robert, the last big-name prospect of the current international signing period, who could sign the highest bonus for an international amateur since Yoan Moncada, will be eligible to sign a contract with a major league team on May 20th, just 5 days from today. As of right now, nobody has any idea which team he has chosen, if he has narrowed down his choice from the teams he worked out for, or how soon he will make his decision after he is eligible to sign.
That is the end of the update. We’re just going to have to wait.
The Vocal Minority used to post on Mondays. Now we might post on a Monday a few times a year. Follow me on Twitter.