Although the season is not quite going according to plan so far, the Padres have seemed to answer at least one question: Who is the Friars full time first baseman?
Since dealing away Adrian Gonzalez and getting a handful of prospects in return, it's been a carousel of failure and disgrace. Last year, Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu were disappointing and didn't finish off the year with the club, and Anthony Rizzo, who the Pads got from the Red Sox in the A-Gone deal, didn't live up to the hype and struggled at the major league level, after doing well in Tucson. Jesus Guzman raised a lot of eyebrows by ending the year as the Padres best hitter, but it was a pretty small sample size.
Dealing away Mat Latos was a tough pill for a lot of San Diegans to swallow, but the promise was that Yonder Alonso was the real deal and that the other guys in the deal would make it worth it. So far, it looks like the Padres made out like bandits. Edinson Volquez, although winless so far, has a 2.92 ERA through 37 innings (along with 33 K's) and looks like he's regaining his form after having a rough couple of seasons. Brad Boxberger and Yasmani Grandal are doing well in the minors. Then there's Yonder Alonso.
Here are the numbers:
24 hits (leads the team)
9 doubles (leads the team)
.273 average (leads the team in players w/55 AB's or more)
RBI = as many as the $240 million dollar man, Albert Pujols
Ok, so Albert and Yonder only have 4 RBI so far. Still, for a player with such limited experience (117 AB's coming into the season), he's looking pretty good. He'll need some guys to hit in front of him if he's going to be a run-producer, and his glove at first isn't golden by any stretch, but (as Sparky Anderson says) he's one of those guys we can win with. Also, with Latos off to a slow start (1-2, 5.79 ERA, 18 K's/10 walks in 29 innings), getting four prospects for him seems like a pretty good deal.
And he looks good in Padre blue, even if it's airbrushed in this 2012 Topps Heritage card. Was stoked to find this one. Does it seem like the team you're always looking for is the hardest one to find in packs? Still looking for a few guys to round out the '12 Heritage team set, but it's not looking bad so far.
Hopefully Yonder can drive the Pads to a win after an extra-inning loss to Miami last night. Nice to see the Padres put some runs on the board this time, though. Arriba los Padres!