The Lava Lamp – The Infield

The Lava Lamp is lit. I’m feeling groovy. Dallas ran down the list of the pitchers contending for the starting rotation on Monday and Scott covered the Outfield yesterday. It was epic. Like the best rendition of Your Love I’ve ever seen.

It’s time to take a look at the Padres infield. Let’s take a ride around the horn, dude. Right on.


*gestures with his hand*


1B – Starter is  Eric Hosmer.

(Photo by: John Sleezer, AP)

I wrote about this signing last week at my old home, Padres Public. He will be fine. I mean sure, spend all of Uncle Ronnie’s money A.J. Preller. But leave some for when you are building a championship caliber roster in ’21. Or extend some of the first wavers like Manny Margot.

Hosmer’s back-up looks to a bit unknown. Remember Alex Dickerson? Me neither. I predicted he would be Wil Myers back-up last year and then he disappeared for the entire season due to a bum back. He had surgery in June and was said to require 3-4 months recovery. I’ve yet to read of him performing baseball activities, so I’m not sure he’ll be ready during this Spring Training. Chase Headley is on the roster and can cover 1B too. I’m not sure if he’ll stick around, but if so, he played first for the Yankees a little bit (~40 games) when Greg Bird was injured and the Yankees traded for Todd Fraser from the White Sox.

The minors have 20 year old Josh Naylor who played in Lake Elsinore, San Antonio, and fairly well in the Arizona Fall league this past season. I’m honestly not sure what kind of prospect Naylor is. He is an athletic but a bit overweight kid. Sometimes those types work themselves into shape, and the athlete shines. He has big time power, and it should show up in game as he matures. The Padres have moved him up fairly aggressively so he is continually young for the leagues he has played. This season should give the Padres a fairly good sample size of at bats to determine if he fits their future plans. Hopefully he works himself into “the best shape of his life” in Arizona.

After Naylor there is maybe a prospect in Brad Zunica who toiled in Ft. Wayne last season but is now 22 years old and he tends to strike out at a rate above 30% for his ABs. He did produce 42 percent better than the league when he connected or took a free pass, so the offense is capable for the big guy. He’s at least worth checking on from time to time.

2B – I’m going to guess the starter will be Cory Spangenberg.

(Photo by: Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today Sports)

Padres Manager Andy Green likes Carlos Asuaje, and I’m sure he will see plenty of time at the keystone too, but I’m guessing it will be in El Paso. I think Cory’s speed and power will win out for the starting spot. Spangenberg played primarily at 3B last season, but with Chase Headley’s return the move back to second seems inevitable. Spangenberg did play a few games in left field last season as well (~35 games) which could happen again this year as Green attempts to share ABs. Spangenberg showed improved power last year and hit a career best 13 home runs. He also swiped 11 bases and could be looked to be one of the runs scorers in next year’s offense. I haven’t seen one of PogLankford’s optimized batting orders in a while, but against righties I would think Spangenberg would fit in the number two hole behind Manuel Margot.

I see Jose Pirela playing there too when the Padres face a tough lefty. The long term second baseman should be starting his season in El Paso for the AAA Chihuahuas. Luis Urias had a very solid season for ’17 and the Padres asked him to rest and not play in the Mexican league this winter. That could portend a mid-season call-up, but even if not, he should be with the big league team by September. Some scouts and analysts have been bouncing around a possible 80 hit tool for Urias. Guy can rake and has a great eye (.398 OBP last year in AA San Antonio). All while being just 20 years old to start this season.

The Padres have some depth at the position in the minors too. Esteury Ruiz, acquired from the Royals last season will be one to keep an eye on. He should start in low A Fort Wayne. Last year in the Arizona Rookie League he slashed a two-team combined .350/.395/.602 while swiping 26 bases. If he progresses the way many scouts write he is capable of the Padres could have another top 100 prospect on their hands.

SS – The Padres traded for Freddy Galvis

(Photo Source: Patrick Smith, Getty Images North America)

from the Phillies this off-season, and they gave up Eynel De Los Santos to get him. Galvis is an improvement when compared to recent players trotted out to short, but the question for this year will be; is he really much of a player there? His UZR is positive while his DRS is more mixed and a bit negative. But scouts seem to love his defense. He’s the defensive Eric Hosmer of shortstops, if you will. He has been terrible at getting on base , but posted a career best .309 OBP last season. I got into a debate on Twitter about where he belongs in the lineup with me believing he staunchly belongs in the 8 hole. Let him hit a little, maybe steal a little, get bunted over and see if Margot can drive him in. He does have a little pop, so he can punch up the bottom of the order a bit too. But he is too much of an out machine to hit 2nd. Andy Green has been moving him around the lineup this spring, but he has had him at 2 too many times.

The real story for shortstop, as I have painfully buried the lede here, is Fernando Tatis Jr. He has had a very impressive Spring Training and there probably aren’t enough superlatives I could throw at him to describe his play. It is really great to see the Padres finally have a top caliber player in their system and I am rooting for him to get a call up this year.

3B – Chase is back, baby!

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

All you Christian Villanueva fans can suck it! Send his ass to Old El Paso, because we are big time Chase Headley band waggoneers!  Now that I’ve pissed off most of Padres Twitter, I will say I think Villanueva has looked really good this spring. I also think Andy Green will start Headley and he even mentioned Chase’s On Base Percentage with the Yankees (.352!) in an interview with Darren Smith  early this week. The Padres will have to make some tough decisions with the back-up infielders, because if the carry 12 roster spots for non-pitchers, with 2 catchers, 4 OFers and six infielders, Pirela looks to be a 2B/OF, and that leaves only one other spot between Spang/Asuaje or Villanueva. I could see Christian getting regular ABs for the Chihuahuas while Chase works himself up some trade value by the deadline. I’m usually wrong on this thing which is probably why I need to stop taking wild beer bets.

The biggest minor league name manning third for the Padres is Hudson Potts. The former first rounder had a solid year with the Tin Caps last season and should be playing for the Storm this year. Head on up to Lake Elsinore when you can, they will be a fun team to watch.

That is my opener for The Kept Faith. I am really looking forward to this season with the Padres. There is so much Hot Lava Talent™ in the Padres system, how could you not be excited? I look forward to contributing here all season. Go Pads!


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