The Padres reassigned several players to minor league camp on Sunday. This time we saw first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig, outfielder Shane Peterson, right-handed pitcher Eric Yardley, right-handed pitcher Webster Rivas, and catcher Stephen McGee all depart. Unfortunately, all those moves didn’t clear up the question of who plays left field.
The Padres’ battle for the left field position is between five to six different veteran outfielders. Green has recently said the Padres will not carry six outfielders on the 25-man roster, so something must give.
Renfroe is 26 and owns a career 1.3 WAR. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from Copiah Academy (Gallman, MS), and the San Diego Padres in the 1st round (13th) of the 2013 MLB June Amateur Draft from Mississippi State University
Renfroe started 126 games for the Padres in 2017. He struggled against right-handed pitchers and, eventually in August 2017, was demoted to Triple-A El Paso. When the demotion went public, manager Andy Green said the Padres need Renfroe to work on his plate discipline and get on base more consistently.
“He’s got strides to make,” Green said. “If you’re going to have a winning culture here, you have to be willing at times to make tough decisions and send guys down that you like as human beings, that you value as teammates, that you think have a good future with your organization, but at present aren’t quite getting the job done.”
Renfroe finished 2017 playing in 122 games for the Padres, recording a .231/.284/.467 batting line. He hit 26 home runs, 25 doubles, 58 RBI, stole three bases, and put up a .751 OPS. The negative on Renfroe was that he struck out 140 times in 479 plate appearances.
So far this spring training, Renfroe has played in 17 games with a batting line of .250/.294/.583. He has four home runs, 11 RBI, and a .877 OPS, including 12 hits and 12 strikeouts. 2018 projections for Renfroe look ironically close to his 2017 season. With him projected to have 443 plate appearances with a batting line for .249/ .308/.480 with 23 home runs, 23 doubles, 60 RBI, and .788 OPS.
The 28-year-old left fielder, second baseman, and first baseman owns a career 1.1 WAR. He signed with the New York Yankees as an international free agent, receiving a $300,000 signing bonus. Pirela made his professional debut with the Yankees in 2007 for the Dominican Summer League Yankees 1. He reached Triple-A for the first time in 2013 for the Bombers. After the season, he played for the Aguilas del Zulia of the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League. Pirela began the 2014 season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the Triple-A International League. He ended the International League season with a .303 batting average, 10 home runs, 60 RBI, and was named a postseason MiLB All-Star.
In November 2015, the Yankees traded Pirela to the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Ronald Herrera. Pirela began the 2016 season with the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, and was promoted to the Padres on April 22, 2016. Pirela played in 15 games with the Padres in 2016, making nine starts at second base, and one in right field, before being optioned back to El Paso. Pirela, in June 2016, suffered his second achilles injury after playing in only 35 minor league games on the season.
Pirela started the 2017 season with El Paso, where he batted .331 with 13 home runs. The Padres promoted Pirela to the major leagues in June . Pirela was slotted into left field and impressed with his bat, securing the number three spot in the batting order by August and holding onto the left field position after Opening Day left fielder Travis Jankowski came off the disabled list. Pirela saw his season end in mid-September with an injured finger, but he led the Padres’ regulars in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. In 2017, he was the most improved Padre, and was the Padres’ nominee for the Hank Aaron Award. He finished 2017 with a .288/.347/.490 batting line with 10 home runs in 83 games.
This spring, Pirela has been solid, playing in 15 games with three home runs, two doubles, one triple, eight RBI, a .444/.523/.750 batting line, and 1.273 OPS.
2018 projections for Pirela are questionable. He is projected to have 379 plate appearances with a .265/.324/.444 batting line, 11 home runs, three triples, 22 doubles, 41 RBI, and a .769 OPS.
The 23-year-old outfielder has recorded a career 0.2 WAR. Cordero signed with the San Diego Padres as an international free agent in November 2011. He made his professional debut in 2012 with the Dominican Summer League Padres.
In 2013, he played for the Arizona League Padres. Cordero started 2014 with the Fort Wayne TinCaps and was demoted to the Eugene Emeralds during the season.
Cordero opened the 2016 season with the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League. During July of the same season, he was promoted to the San Antonio Missions of the Double-A Texas League.
He began the 2017 season with the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The Padres promoted Cordero to the major leagues on May 27, 2017. He made his major league debut that same day.
“He’s here quicker than expected,” manager Andy Green said, “but he’s shown he deserves to be here. He belongs here. He had a great game.” said Green in June of 2017.
Cordero, in 16 games this spring, has two home runs, one triple, five doubles, six RBI, a .343/.465/.714 batting line, and 1.179 OPS. Cordero left Thursday’s game against the Giants with tightness in his groin. He is listed day-to-day and could resume running on Tuesday.
Projections for Cordero in 2018 aren’t too impressive. In 273 plate appearances Cordero’s batting line is projected to be .243/.286/.399 with eight home runs, 30 RBI, seven stolen bases, and a .685 OPS.
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