Welcome to the second edition of the Padres Mailbag! Despite the fact that this is coming two days late, I still thought y’all had some good questions this week and can’t wait to get started. And luckily for me, I don’t have to. So let’s go.
What is going to happen to Travis Jankowski with so many changes to the lineup, and him not being able to play for 3ish months? - “SDforlife” in the comments
As for 2019, probably not much. He just got optioned this week to Triple-A El Paso in favor of Eric Yardley, who then was optioned to Triple-A himself about 24 hours later. He might be back with the big club in September when rosters expand, but even then, I don’t see him playing a role beyond spot starts, defensive replacements and pinch-running opportunities. If he survives the offseason and is still a Padre come late March, I see...well...spot starts, defensive replacements and pinch-running opportunities.
I touched on this in last week’s mailbag a bit, but he’s simply not talented enough to start on a good major league team, which I would like to think the Padres have a chance of being next season. He probably has more value as a bench piece than a trade chip, though, so depending on the futures of Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe and Franchy Cordero, he might stand a decent chance to nab a fourth outfield spot.
Who will be called up in 9 days? - “wegotballsley” in the comments
I’ll condense all the information I could find from three different sources - Dennis Lin via The Athletic, MLB.com and Kevin Charity on Ben & Woods - and report what I found right here, cause that’s easier. All three sources are fantastic in their own rights, though, so be sure to check them out when you’re done reading this wonderful mailbag. If you want to listen to Kevin’s interview, here’s the link: kevin-charity-one-guy-i-think-should-get-opportunity-javier-guerra.
The first name that came up with all three was Javy Guerra, a shortstop-turned-relief-pitcher who throws absolute smoke. Like, upper-90s, low-100s smoke. Surprisingly (or maybe not depending on how much confidence you have in converted shortstops pitching), he pitched really well in High-A Lake Elsinore before recently getting the call to Double-A Amarillo. In 19 innings this year across the two levels, he’s posted a 3.32 ERA, 1.105 WHIP, 26 strikeouts and 8 walks. He’s already on the 40-man roster, and all signs point to him making his major-league (pitching) debut in September.
The second name that came up on MLB.com and in Kevin’s interview was Edward Oliveras, another name I touched on in last week’s mailbag. The 23-year-old right-handed outfielder has put up some gaudy numbers in Double-A Amarillo, and could get a look as well. For reference, Oliveras is ranked as the Padres’ 18th best prospect.
Ronald Bolaños, a 23-year-old right-hander who’s posted a 3.62 ERA in 129.1 innings in 2019 across High-A and Double-A, is another name to keep an eye on. The Pads’ 16th ranked prospect would require some 40-man gymnastics to avoid being exposed in the Rule 5 Draft, but this could very well happen, too.
Beyond that, no names of note appear to be on the horizon, outside of maybe a Franchy or Jacob Nix return from injury.
Which Padres have tried a Justin Turner/JD Martinez/Hunter Pence complete swing rebuild? And which ones should? - “hbar” in the comments
Nobody on the roster has done anything as drastic as those three names you just mentioned, but someone who has made a significant adjustment this year is actually Eric Hosmer. His swing looks more or less the same as last year, and he still grounds out to the second baseman at a mind-numbing rate, but there have been changes.
His launch angle (I know half of the readers just clicked away from the article because I used that term, but oh well) is up to 2.2 degrees this year, a big leap from his atrocious -1.2 number last year that resulted in a .253/.322/.398 slash line. He’s always had a violent swing and natural left-handed power, but he simply hit the ball on the ground far too often for someone with his power potential. He still won’t be mashing 40 bombs in a season anytime soon, but he’s quietly been one of the Padres most consistent offensive producers this year, and his revamped swing path is certainly one of the main reasons why.
As for who should consider something similar, I’ll take Austin Hedges. It’s not that he needs to hit the ball in the air more, necessarily, he just needs to hit the ball period. I don’t know what adjustments he needs to make outside of shortening what is quite possibly the longest swing in the majors, but something has to change. It really can’t get worse, so why not revamp the swing entirely?
Which Padre has the coolest do, and why? - “Notabandwagoner” in the comments
Finally, a hard-hitting question.
Let me start this by saying something that may be a bit controversial. Simply having long hair doesn’t mean you have a good ‘do. Yes, I’m looking at you, Travis Jankowski and Trey Wingenter. It takes no creativity to not cut your hair for like seven years. I’m looking for something unique here, and three names immediately jump out.
The first is Fernando Tatis Jr. The creativity is off the charts - blonde dreads, with single strands colored in red, blue, etc. Designs cut into the sides as well. Excellent stuff.
Next, Chris Paddack. Personally, I wouldn’t touch the mullet with a ten-foot pole, but Paddack somehow makes it work, and it fits with his whole cowboy/Texas thing he’s got going on. He also said in Spring Training that he goes through conditioner at about twice the rate that he goes through shampoo, which shows me a level of dedication that you just don’t find every day. It’s honestly kind of a terrible look, but he puts the effort in and it fits his persona, so he gets the seal of approval from me.
The last one - my sleeper - is Kirby Yates. He debuted the mohawk this year after rocking a pretty mediocre look last year, and boy has it paid off for him. As a hitter, getting tied up in knots by a Hawaiian dude with a mohawk who would probably rather be surfing just can’t be fun. And that’s why it’s so fantastic.
As honorable mentions, Cal Quantrill has a solid set of hair, but really lacks in the creativity department. Austin Hedges has decent yet overrated hair, and Luis Urías quietly mixes it up pretty nicely. Also, RIP-but-not-really to Manny Machado’s straightened combover, which was an absolute disaster.
Oh, and Wil Myers...what the hell is going on with Wil Myers? I have no idea, and quite honestly, I don’t think Wil does either.
If you could have one Padre on a TV show, who would it be? I would have had Reyes, but I would take Margot. - “SDforlife” in the comments
You’re 100% right about Franmil, because he would’ve been my choice even if the player pool was expanded to the entire league. But I’ll bend the rules a bit and give Tatis and Urías their own joint TV show.
A Keeping Up with the Kardashians situation only with Padres middle infielders instead would be excellent television, especially if random bros like Wil were allowed guest appearances. Margot would be a good choice too just because that dude smiles for like 75% of every game, but the Bebo-Wicho dynamic is just too good to pass up. Just call it Los Niños and watch the ratings roll in.
Is Chris Paddack really the next Nolan Ryan? - “Notabandwagoner” in the comments