The San Diego Padres start a three-game series in Arizona on Friday night. The Padres are, as usual, pitching really well. In fact, over the last month, the Friars’ arms have the 4th-best earned run average in baseball.
The only staffs that have been better are the Cubs, the Giants, and the Mariners. All three of those teams are in first place while the Padres have the 4th-worst record in baseball. How is that possible, you ask? The most likely reason is because right now their offense is, as usual, one of the worst in North American professional sports.
One possible way to fix this issue is start doing whatever the El Paso Chihuahuas are doing, especially in the outfield. The Padres' Triple-A affiliate has some dudes who are tearing up the Pacific Coast League.
Hunter Renfroe, the former first-round pick, went deep again on Friday night and already has 10 home runs and 33 RBI. What's really encouraging there is in his short pro career he's been better in the second half of the season.
Renfroe has been almost as good as Alex Dickerson. The Poway native spent a little time with the big club, but since being sent down he's gotten a hit in every single game he's played. Dickerson extended his hitting streak to 25 games on Friday and is batting .412. That's Ty Cobb territory.
Dickerson and Renfroe are a big part of the reason the Chihuahuas leads the P-C-L in runs, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. El Paso is second in the league in home runs. They're also the reason you're going to be hearing a lot of rumors about Matt Kemp being on the trade block because if he's not clogging up right field one of these guys can get some playing time at Petco Park.
The Padres are at a crossroads. It sure doesn’t look like the Giants are going to come back to the pack and making the post-season this year is very likely not in the cards again. The best-case scenario for General Manager A.J. Preller is probably to have Kemp get hot in June and make himself attractive enough to deal, or have Melvin Upton Jr. or Jon Jay keep putting up good numbers and ship one of them out for some more prospects.
Heck, maybe have all three happen. That way you can start an outfield of Dickerson in left, Travis Jankowski in center, and Renfroe in right, with Manuel Margot and Jabari Blash also waiting in the wings.
It certainly would not make the record any worse than it is right now and it just might be the start of a special future for the Padres organization.