The Padres have a problem. Their outfielders have been rather anemic at the plate. Tony Gwynn (.111 avg) has already been benched. Scott Haiston seems to have replaced him in CF. Despite the seven runs Shrek has helped to produce, he is batting .200. A big improvement over Tony Not A Clone, no?
Will Venable does not deserve to be included with the aforementioned pair because he leads the team in RBI (9), HR (3) and is second in runs (8). But he's batting .222 and I'm not gonna let his relative awesomeness get in the way of my Chardonay-inspired point.
Should I mention Matt Stairs?
Perhaps I should but only in the context of who might be soon shown the door. Because stuff's happening in Portland.
Remember Chris Denorfia, the almost-30-something guy invited to spring training on a minor league contract who ended up putting the major-leaguers to shame? He's still on fire. He's batting .425. That's his avg, not his OBP, which is .465. He's produced 14 runs in 11 games, and seven of his 17 hits have been for extra bases.
Then there is Luis Durango, who began the season by trying to prove his detractors right. In the first seven games, he had only four base hits in 29 at bats. In his last four games, he has gone 8-17. He is also tied for the second-highest stolen base total in all of professional baseball, at least in this country, with nine. Some 28-year-old guy, also in the Pacific Coast League, is ahead of him with 10. Durango's not scoring a lot of runs, though (5).
And now we come to Mike Baxter, a fourth-round draft pick out of Vanderbilt in 2005 who has slowly been working his way up through the Padres' farm system. Despite spending about half of last season with Portland, Baxter was not starting at the beginning of the year. He quickly insinuated his way into the lineup, however. In 10 games, he has a .370 avg and .553 OBP. Besides his 10 hits, he has nine walks against four Ks. Like Durango, he also has five runs. And like Denorfia, he is not on the Padres' 40-man roster.
Baxter is 25, Durango turns 24 this week and Denorfia turns 30 in July. I see at least two of these guys on the major league roster before then.
By the way, is it OK to say fcuk if I spell it like French Connection U.K. does on its T-shirts?