In today's case, V is for Venable, as in Will. The outfielder has been one probably one of the most frustrating players in recent Padres history. You know the type. Has lots of tools, lots of potential, but it doesn't quite translate to success on the field.
What makes these kinds of players frustrating isn't that they're bad. Melvin Nieves is my go-to example (fairly or unfairly) of worst players in Padres history because (he was traded for Fred McGriff, and he) was the "high ranking prospect" who just didn't pan out. The Melvin Nieves era lasted parts of three seasons, where he compiled a .207 batting average. He only played in 127 games in those three seasons because, well, he wasn't very good.
Will Venable is not Melvin Nieves (despite what you may read on Padre fan forums, where he is sometimes not so lovingly called "Vulnerable", which is not quite as clever as Everth Cabrera's nickname, "Neverth"). Will Venable has had decent seasons, seasons where it seems like he's going to make the big leap to becoming a legit starting outfielder.
But every year it seems like it's just a tease. Always on the brink, never out of the sink. Always lukewarm, never hot or cold.
This year? He's batting... .254, the exact same as his career average. Actually, most of his numbers seem to be right around his career average. Except for one: home runs. His previous season high was 13 (in 2010, his third season), but Thursday night, he bested it, drilling a line shot to dead centerfield against the Reds for his 14th, and he hit number 15 last night in a rare Padres win.
Fitting that earlier in the week, I received this in the mail...
Pretty snazzy, right? This came courtesy of fellow Texan blogger Judson from My Cardboard Habit. Not only did he run a pretty decent Allen & Ginter break, which I participated in, but he saw this and thought it might intrigue me. Dude is perceptive.
This year, I have turned the corner on Will Venable. I despised Melvin Nieves because I wanted him to be as good as Fred McGriff. Well guess what? There's not many players who compare favorably to McGriff (including some who are already in Cooperstown). Who am I to say who Will Venable should be? He is Will Venable, and he is what he is.
What he is, is a solid (some may say Gold Glove caliber) defender, who's got some decent speed and some pop in his bat. Is he a starter on a playoff caliber team? Probably not. He doesn't even start everyday on the Padres, so that's telling you something (besides how awesome my man Chris Denorfia is).
I can tell you a few things about this card as well. It is not a game used letter (unfortunately), but rather a manufactured patch. It is autographed, however, and it is serial numbered to 170. Just like Will Venable, that's nothing to sneeze at.
So I'm taking this post to say... I'm a Venable fan. He's no Cianfrocco or Denorfia, but he just alright with me.
And I probably just jinxed him, I'm sure he'll get traded in the off season, all because of me, and become a Fred McGriff like slugger, just to spite me.