Happy 26th birthday to Padres infielder, Carlos Asuaje.
He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 11th round of the 2013 draft out of Nova Southeastern University in South Florida. The Venezuelan came to the Padres by way of a trade with the Red Sox after the 2015 season that sent Craig Kimbrel to Boston. Asuaje was accompanied by Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and Logan Allen.
He played in the 2016 Futures Game at Petco Park, along with teammates Margot and Hunter Renfroe. He went 2-2 in that game with a run scored.
This season, he played 89 games for the Friars and played a good second base. He put together really good at-bats and seemed to always work the count. The Padres need pesky hitters, and Asuaje fits that bill. He hit four home runs with 21 RBI and had a .334 on-base percentage.
He had a fantastic July when he hit .307 in 24 games. He also hit a respectable .273 with runners in scoring position, something the Padres struggled with over the season.
It seems the Padres will give Asuaje a chance to earn the everyday second base spot heading into the 2018 season. Yangervis Solarte is most of his competition, and many believe Solarte will be dealt this winter. Also, Cory Spangenberg seems to be making the nice transition to third base. Ryan Schimpf would be the other name Asuaje should watch for, but he really struggled in 2017, even after being demoted to Triple-A El Paso.
Asuaje had a 90 wRC+ in 2017, which was only a tick below star rookie Manuel Margot.
The jury is still out on Asuaje as far as being the second baseman of the future. He has some stiff competition coming up through the ranks with guys like Luis Urias, and maybe even Luis Almanzar and Esteury Ruiz.
Asujae is an easy guy to like. He has an infectious smile and he made some smooth plays with the glove. He still has a lot to learn (-5 Defensive Runs Saved), but he could develop into an everyday second baseman, at least for the next year or two.
If anything, on the next good Padres team, Asuaje could be a solid utility option and third middle-infielder. Most believe the infield of the future features Fernando Tatis Jr. and Urias, but Asuaje can play himself into the mix with a solid 2018.