The first week of Spring Training is the absolute best time to get excited with tiny sample sizes. Getting excited by tiny sample sizes is a bad idea to begin with, but if it’s going to be done then why not go all out?
So far, Kyle McGrath (Preseason #18), Trey Wingenter (PS #24), and Jose Castillo (PS #38) all have a hitless inning under their belts. Adam Cimber (PS #47) already has two perfect innings over two appearances. Wingenter was sitting in the high 90s and struck out three hitters, while Castillo struck out two. Brad Wieck (PS #29) and T.J. Weir (PS #45) have also made appearances. They each gave up a hit, but were otherwise unscathed. Interestingly, MLB.com’s Padres depth chart projects Brad Wieck to have a job in the bullpen out of camp. This is all the more likely with strong bullpen candidate Jose Torres being placed on the restricted list earlier this month, due to a domestic violence arrest. Kyle Lloyd (PS #37) pitched two complete innings in his only outing and gave up one hit while striking out two. Let’s be serious. It is way too soon to get excited about anything, but it’s promising that everyone has been effective.
On the offensive side Fernando Tatis Jr. (PS #4) made headlines when he hit a home run in his second Spring Training at bat. But that has been his only hit in eleven at bats. It’s noteworthy that his eleven at bats leads the team with the next highest guy being at eight at bats.
Fernando mania! @Padres 19-year-old top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. launches oppo homer in #SpringTraining opener. He's No. 8 among @MLB's #Top100Prospects: https://t.co/TuTZgd5PTS pic.twitter.com/sUmZaBRyXY
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 23, 2018
Christian Villanueva (PS #32) was a September call-up and finished the season 11-for-32. His hot streak has continued into spring where he has collected four hits in his first eight at-bats including one home run. He can play 1B or 3B and he very well could have enough talent to unseat Cory Spangenberg for a utility role on the team. Spangenberg himself is auditioning to replace Carlos Asuaje at 2B which could make Villanueva’s path to the big league roster a little easier if he can take the opportunity to assert himself as the back-up third baseman.
Converted outfielder/catcher Rowan Wick was acquired by the Padres on February 16th. While he’s not immediately a Top 50 Padres prospect, Wick has played in the Arizona Fall League and been on the St. Louis Cardinals 40-man roster, so there’s something there and it will be interesting to see how he is used during Spring Training and where he is assigned at the start of the season.
Jonathan Aro, another offseason acquisition outside the Top 50 prospect range has already seen some playing time. He lost a large chunk of his 2017 season to a 50-game drug suspension and his now entering his age 27 season with a total of eleven Major League innings. Aro did perform well in Triple-A last year and could get some big league time this year, but it likely won’t be enough to make a meaningful fantasy contribution.
All in all it’s too early to read in to any Spring Training statistics, but it is interesting to see who is getting playing time. Most of the expected starters across the big leagues have yet to see a lot of playing time, so the prospects need to come out strong if they want to continue getting playing time. Even if they get that playing time and perform, you only need to look as far back as 2017 and Jabari Blash‘s 7 home runs for a reminder that Spring Training stats aren’t a good predictor of the Opening Day roster.
Article featured image of Trey Wingenter – courtesy MiLB, via East Village Times
Eric Killian is an Army Officer who covers the San Diego Padres for Prospects1500. He is a longtime baseball fan and collector whose collecting inspired him to learn all he can about up-and-coming players. He recently relocated from Sierra Vista, AZ., to El Paso, TX. Follow him on Twitter @USKillian