San Diego Padres: Projecting The 2018 Starting Lineup
Baseball fans rejoice, the 2018 MLB season is not too far away. While free agents such as J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, Yu Darvish and others remain unsigned, we are just over a month away from Major League Baseball Spring Training games. So with baseball drawing closer, let’s take a closer look at the San Diego Padres and their projected 2018 starting lineup.
Now things could certainly change from now until Spring Training, given how many free agents are out there still, but as things stand now, this is how we see the San Diego Padres starting lineup shaking out.
- Manny Margot, Center Fielder – Unfortunately for the Padres, they do not have a true lead-off hitter. No one stands out as a top on-base percentage type of player. As a result, they will likely need to go with one of their more dynamic players, in the form of Manny Margot. Margot offers some power and speed, which is certainly a nice quality to have atop of lineup. His .313 OBP leaves a lot to be desired, but at least there is some potential for a 20/20 type of player to help jump-start the order. In other words, he is one of their better hitters, so get him as many at-bats as possible.
- Freddy Galvis, Shortstop – The team went out and acquired Galvis this Winter. Given their roster is not flush with top of the order bats, their offseason acquisition will likely find himself somewhere near the top. Again, he offers a bit of a blend in terms of power and speed, as he is a potential 15/15 type of player. He is in the prime of his career, and the Pads acquired him for a reason.
- Wil Myers, Left Fielder – To put it simply, Myers is the best player on the team. You want your best players to get as many at-bats as possible. The 27-year-old is coming off a 30 homer season, where he also stole 20 bags and scored 80 runs. His .328 OBP is one of the best on the team, which is not necessarily a positive, meaning he will likely find himself in either the two or three hole. The problem with batting him second is simply they do not have an obvious choice to bat third if he is not in this slot.
- Eric Hosmer, First Baseman – Surprise! Now, this is obviously speculation, as Hosmer is currently a free agent. He has been linked to the Padres for months now, however. At this point in time, the Padres, Cardinals or Royals appear to be the most likely landing spot for the big-name free agent. If he does find himself out in Cali, he is a lock to bat in the middle of the order. Either right before or after Wil Myers. It is a move the Padres need to make, as their offense looks a lot more complete with him in the order.
- Hunter Renfroe, Right Fielder – The positive, he has some serious power. In 445 at-bats last season, Renfroe hit 26 homers as a 25-year-old. However, he struggled mightily against right-handers, hitting .202 in 331 at-bats. He also struck out a ton, whiffing in 140 of his at-bats. Against righties, he struck out virtually once every three at-bats. He will need to show improvements in order to hold down a full-time gig. But if he can, he would certainly make for a powerful threat to drop in the middle of the lineup.
- Chase Headley, Third Baseman – The San Diego Padres are looking to move Headley, who they acquired from the New York Yankees this Winter. That deal was mainly so the Pads could acquire a controllable arm in the form of Bryan Mitchell. But with Yangervis Solarte now in Toronto, Headley is looking like the starting third baseman for the Friars. For as long as he remains on the team. He had his best years in a Padres’ uniform not too long ago. So he and the team are hoping he can find some of that old magic. I would not bank on it though.
- Cory Spangenberg, Second Baseman – Cory Spangenberg is one of those guys who never seems to get much respect, despite being a pretty good ballplayer. He is not an All-Star, but this writer has always been a fan. He can play multiple positions, with third base being his primary one a season ago. However, while Headley is there, second base is the more pressing need. He will need to fend off Carlos Asuaje for the role, however. The four-year veteran is still only 26 (27 in March). He is coming off a season in which he hit 13 homers and stole 11 bags. He could be a sneaky option to take the two slot. Nevertheless, until the team gets fed up with Freddy Galvis (which honestly might not take too long), he likely finds himself on the bottom portion of the lineup.
- Austin Hedges, Catcher – The good news, he hit 18 homers in 2017. The bad news, just about everything else he did with the bat in 2017. Don’t expect Hedges to be much more than a bottom third of the order kind of catcher. One who can hit a homer here and there. Whoever catches for the San Diego Padres, is a likely candidate to bat eighth. Backup Rocky Gale shouldn’t be too threatening to steal the starting role, so Hedges should be safe.
How do you see the San Diego Padres starting lineup shaking out for the upcoming 2018 MLB season? Tell us in the comments!