On Fire in the Desert Vol. 1

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Spring training doesn't matter. But, for four glorious weeks in February and March, it doesn't matter if a player has no chance of making the team, or is facing AA/AAA opponents, or is performing in an impossibly small sample size...these stats can be fun to dream on.

So far, the really impressive performances have been from the position players. That's ok, early spring is tough on pitchers, and no Padres hurler has accrued more than five innings yet. We'll check back in with the pitching staff in Vol. 2.

Christian Villanueva (3B)

24 PA, .450/.542/.950, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 4BB/5K, Opp. Qual 6.9

The former Cubs prospect has always been known for his glove, but in 2017, he had a breakout offensive campaign in AAA. Though he probably won't unseat Headley from the starting gig at third base, Villanueva's defensive versatility (the team has worked him out at short), and right handed bat, give him an inside track as a utility infielder.

Fernando Tatis Jr. (SS/3B)

24 PA, .381/.458/.667, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 2B, 3BB/7K, 3 SB, Opp. Qual 6.1

The 19-year old shortstop started off the spring 1-for-12 with zero walks and six strikeouts. Since then, he's been dominant (7 H, 3 2B, 3 BB, 0 K, 3 SB, 7 RBI in 9 AB), even posting a 4-for-4 performance against his former organization, the White Sox, on March 4th. Tatis has made it clear that his goal is to make the team, not just be a Spring participant.

Luis Urias (2B/SS)

17 PA, .538/.647/.942, 5 2B, 4BB/2K, Opp. Qual 6.1

The Padres' No. 3 prospect wants to be in the bigs, and it shows. It's going to be extremely hard for the Padres to keep the 20-year old in the minors for very long.

Austin Hedges (C)

13 PA, .600/.692/1.800, 4 HR, 6 RBI, 3BB/1K, Opp. Qual 7.5

Going into his Age-25 season, Hedges has already established himself as one of the preeminent defensive backstops in the game. This Spring, he's debuted a new, simpler, swing that has produced impressive power. He is an easy 20-HR candidate, and is probably a .260/.310/.420 slash-line away from being one of the most valuable catchers in the game.

Franchy Cordero (CF/OF)

23 PA, .421/.522/.947, 2 HR, 4 2B, 5 RBI, 3BB/6K, Opp. Qual 6.5

This young outfielder brings plus-plus speed, above average defense and an above average arm to the Padres outfield competition. He already has great value as a fourth outfielder, or the LHB in a corner-outfield platoon, but if the Padres see a potential everyday player, he might be best served starting the year in AAA.

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