Padres Spring Spotlight: Robert Stock and Carlos Asuaje

Credit: Padres

We are now over halfway through the spring training slate, with just two weeks left until Opening Day.

Thus far, spring training has been fun to watch for Padres fans, perhaps the most fun in years, as top prospects have been in big league camp the entire time, not to mention they have played well.

I want to focus on some players who have made a splash this spring who might not be getting the same amount of coverage.

These guys could be underappreciated veteran players or prospects that could be contributors to the major league club either this season or very soon after. Spring is a time for seeing what you got down on the farm, and the Padres have had a lot to look at.

Here is a look at a pitcher and batter that have played worthy of recognition so far this spring.

Pitcher: Robert Stock

Cue the “his Stock must be rising” jokes. Stock was drafted as a catcher in the second round in 2009 by the Cardinals. He began pitching in 2012 and is now 28 years old. Usually, this is not a recipe for a major contributor, but Stock is making his mark this spring. He has touched 100 MPH on a few pitches, including getting a key strikeout to get out of a bases-loaded jam. He had a 2.98 ERA in 41 appearances between Single-A Advanced and Double-A in the Reds organization during the 2017 season. He has never pitched higher than Double-A in his five seasons as a pro pitcher.

Stock is not on the 40-man roster, but he has certainly made an impression. In five games, he has a 3.86 ERA with six strikeouts compared to just one walk. He has posted scoreless outings in three of his last four appearances. Padres manager Andy Green has even said he has “put himself in the mix” for a bullpen spot, which would be incredible for a 28-year-old, non-roster invitee.

Batter: Carlos Asuaje

Andy Green will have a tough decision at second base. Cory Spangenberg is making just as strong of a case as Asuaje for action. Even Jose Pirela might get in on that action too. Asuaje clearly has worked hard this offseason. He is second on the team in hits this spring with 11, and is slashing .344/.371/.594, including a home run and two triples. He also has two hits and a walk against lefties, which is what the Padres are hoping he can improve on to justify an everyday second base role.

He hit .270 last season in 89 games last season and he looks like he has not missed a beat this spring. The second base job is up for grabs and Asuaje is putting together a good argument for his case. The question will be how well he can hold up against tough lefties and play defense every day at second. For what it’s worth, in 55 innings so far this spring, he has yet to commit an error. He has played the most at second among the candidates so far and could be well on his way to earning the Opening Day nod.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

This article has 3 Comments

  1. I believe Asuaje ceiling to be as a reserve but I agree his LH bat when mixed in with our other projected middle IF’s is needed in the backup role. Going forward it would help if he had more position versitility though. Spangy on the other hand to me seems like better suited at 3B as a possible back-up or platoon partner for Villanueva if we can get Headley moved early in the season. Spangy will probally have to be sent back to AAA to start the season as he options left. I see a backup role in the future from Spangy also. Stock is a great story, he needs to pitch more in the minors and then if a need arrises in San Diego he needs to shine right away. I think their are more experienced bullpen options to start the year.

  2. If Asajue is that good, I’m curious if it would force Padres to move Urias to SS and Tatis to 3B long term.

    Carlos has worked very hard and deserves his chance. Plus we don’t have a ton of lefties in the lineup. My bet is he hits over .300 this year.

    1. I understand your logic, but Asajue has limited experience at 3rd, as does Urias. It’d make more sense to slide one of them over to 3rd and keep the (as of now) superior defender at the more important position (Tatis at SS). Just seems like a better use of resources.

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