Tuckin’ Hell – Part 14

Tom Pringle (@PedroiasFace) will be covering the Padres during the season. His updates won’t be game-recaps, more like weekly or monthly recaps. If you don’t get the twist on words in the title, you’re dead to him.

What Happened?

It’s been 12 days since the last edition. I’ll admit, work and life have been making watching the Padres difficult. Which is disappointing as the Padres have had an exactly average run, going 5-5 since part 13. They won the series against the Tigers, they were hit hard by the Dodgers before clobbering Kenta Maeda and they won the series against the Indians.

The Tank isn’t quite going to plan, or is it?

What went wrong?

Chase d’Arnaud made only six plate appearances in the last 14 days, batting a cool .000 and drawing one walk. He was, unsurprisingly DFA’d. Which is a real shame, not only for Chase, but also for baseball fans. We will no longer see his smiling face on a diamond at Petco for the foreseeable future.

On a more serious note, we have seen a big drop off by Austin Hedges. In the last 14 days he’s batting .185/.214/.222, with a wRC+ of four (4). Over the last 14 days, this puts him in the same region as Chris Carter (wRC+ of 9), Matt Davidson (wRC+ of 5) and finally Brandon Drury (wRC+ of 1).

So what’s happening with Hedges? It’s not that he’s striking out more, his strikeout rate has actually reduced in recent weeks, which has seen him return to his career average of approximately 27%.

Hedges has shown that he can be a power hitter, in AAA last season he hit 21 HR, with a .597 SLG. His strikeout rate during this time was down at 15.3%, which if he could translate that to the big leagues, would be pretty special.

Let us look at his contact, the following graph shows a rolling 15-game spread of his soft, medium and hard contact.

His hard contact has taken a big drop in the last 10+ game period, at the same time we’ve seen that hard contact be replaced by a spike of medium contact. More worrying is the gentle rise of soft contact over the last 20+ game period. With a different slash line this would be good for a hitter like Xander Bogaerts, who isn’t hitting for power but is finding the gaps with soft and medium contact.

Well, what about his fly ball to HR ratio on a 15-game rolling average?

Fly balls are on the rise and home runs are on the down down DOWN.

Even with juiced (maybe) balls, soft and medium contact on the up, with fly balls on the up does not make for pretty viewing.

Hedges needs to either drop that fly ball rate and concentrate on producing hits, or somehow find that power he has shown during this season and in AAA last season. Otherwise, he’s a defensive first catcher with very little upside on offense.

What went right?

We’ll make this quick after so much of the post has been taken up by Austin Hedges.

Manny Margot, after a return from the DL has been a very welcome return to the lineup. Over the last 14 days, he’s batting .314/.368/.486 with a wRC+ of 129, which out of all hitters for the Padres (Min 20 PA), is a clear number one.

The starting rotation. Just look at this.

In three starts Luis Perdomo has a 2.76 ERA with a 2.73 FIP, in two starts Jhoulys Chacin has 1.50 ERA, 2.99 FIP and finally in three starts for Dinelson Lamet he’s sporting a 3.71 ERA, 3.63 FIP. It’s worth noting that Lamet’s stats were so much better prior to last night. He was really slapped about against the Indians.

Even with Lamet having a rough outing last night, his last 14 day 3.71 ERA is not bad, considering how the rest of the starters in the league are doing. A 3.00 ERA is pretty respectable right now, this rookie should be proud of his achievements so far. His 9.53 K/9 puts him in the same region as David Price (9.95 K/9), Zack Greinke (9.75 K/9) and Masahiro Tanaka (9.43 K/9).

The kid is shining and Padres fans should be excited for the future, especially when their minor league aces make debuts in the coming years. Lamet won’t be a number one starter, but he will certainly be a solid compliment to those future starters.

What’s next?

A series against the Phillies and then it’s the All-Star break. I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to a break.

The Great All-Rounder Experiment Will Austin Hedges Ever Hit Again? How long will Jankowski last in the lineup? Days until Weaver is DFA’d? Is Hunter Renfroe a worse defensive outfielder than Hanley Ramirez? If you had a $99 for 5 Padres home wins in June ticket, would you want them to keep losing?

^ We’re done with this ^

Until next time, here’s some numbers that I’ll keep updated for the year.

Stats: (Positions in brackets for all qualified players in MLB)

Win/Loss – 36-49 .424

Individual Stats:

Batt Avg. Leader – Y. Solarte .268 (83rd) *NEW*

OBP Leader – Y. Solarte .349 (69th)

OPS Leader – W. Myers .792 (81st)

 

Starter ERA – J. Chacin 4.52 (47th) *NEW*

Strikeouts – J. Chacin 82 (44th)

Relievers WHIP – B. Hand 0.96 (24th) *NEW*

Team Stats:

Batting AVG – .228 (30th)

OBP – .295 (30th)

OPS – .678 (29th)

 

ERA (Starter) – 4.81 (23rd)

ERA (Relievers) – 4.57 (23rd)

Strikeouts – 712 (13th)

WHIP (Relievers) – 1.29 (11th)

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