Padres and Platoons - Left Field

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In this installment of "Padres and Platoons," we'll look at the situation in Left Field. Check my previous articles for a detailed look at second base and third base.

There is an argument to be made that Wil Myers will struggle in right field, forcing his move to left field. However, that still leaves one corner outfield spot without a permanent occupant. For the sake of this piece we'll assume that position is left field.

The Padres have five players in the left field competition:

Jose Pirela, the Padres' best hitter in 2017, is trying to prove that the bat, 122 OPS+, and left field-defense, 9.3 UZR/150, were no flukes.

Hunter Renfroe has to show that he can hit RHP in order to garner everyday at bats.

Travis Jankowski showed in 2016 that he could play elite center field defense, steal bases, and be a serviceable lead off hitter against righties. He's battling to make the team as a true 4th outfielder / backup center fielder.

Alex Dickerson looked good at the plate in 2016, putting up a 112 OPS+. Since then, injuries in 2017 and 2018 have limited him to only one game (2 AB, 2017 Spring Training).

Franchy Cordero was an extra-base-hit machine in El Paso last year. In limited big league action his positives--good outfield defense, elite speed--and negatives--lots of strikeouts, poor plate discipline--were on full display.

Here's how they stack up in terms of left field defense, platoon split and positional versatility.

Left Field Defense vs. RHP vs. LHP Versatility

Jose Pirela

Age: 28

Bats: R, Throws: R

5.8 UZR/150

(546.2 Inn)

82 wRC+ (338 PA)

113 wRC+ in 2017

143 wRC+

(150 PA)

Average RF

Below Average 2B

Hunter Renfroe

Age: 26

Bats: R, Throws: R

-8.9 UZR/150

(1088.2 Inn in RF)

77 wRC+ (375 PA)

14 BB, 121 K

178 wRC+ (140 PA)

10.3 AB/HR

Below Average RF

Travis Jankowski

Age: 26

Bats: L, Throws: R

5.9 UZR/150

(180.2 Inn)

89 wRC+

(434 PA)

10.8 BB%

22 wRC+

(132 PA)

Very Good CF

Good RF-lacks arm

Franchy Cordero*

Age: 23

Bats: L, Throws: R

10.6 UZR/150

(195.2 Inn mostly CF)

.985 OPS

(400 PA)

26 BB, 114 K

.702 OPS

(118 PA)

3 BB, 48 K

Good-to-Very Good CF

Alex Dickerson

Age: 27

Bats: L, Throws: L

-8.9 UZR/150

(547.1 Inn)

116 wRC+

(225 PA)

93 wRC+

(68 PA)

Below Average 1B in Minors

All stats from Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference

*Cordero's hitting stats are a combination of his 2017 AAA, MLB and Dominican Winter League appearances.


-Cordero and Jankowski fill the obvious, long-term role of backup CF / 4th OF. They are both extremely capable defenders and have the left handed bat to compliment Margot with spot starts in CF. The Padres will likely have one or the two on the 25-man roster all season.

-Renfroe and Dickerson are, in some respects, mirror images of each other. Both have platoon splits, and defensive metrics that significantly decrease their value as everyday players. Renfroe is the better option for a platoon because his split against lefties is so impressive that it easily outweighs the poor defense that the team would suffer when he starts.

-Pirela is the only guy on the list who has shown, at the MLB-level, that he can play quality defense AND hit both righties and lefties...his split vs. RHP improved dramatically with regular playing time in 2017.

-Dickerson is currently injured and is considering surgery.

-Cordero, Renfroe and Jankowski have two options remaining...Pirela and Dickerson have one.

Which players could benefit from more time in the minors? Which, if any, do you think can develop into above average, everyday starters? Who compliments Margot in CF and Myers in RF the best? Which players make sense in a platoon in terms of current value AND development?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Gaslamp Ball community and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gaslamp Ball staff or SB Nation.