Hunter Renfroe is still having a productive 2019 season, but the San Diego Padres expect more from the slugging outfielder who has been in a slump since the All-Star break.
Motivation is a key factor for baseball players.
Let’s face it- The majority of major league players have roughly an equal amount of talent. It is the little things that take an average player into a Hall-of-Famer. Sure, there are exceptions to this statement, but the majority of hall-of-fame caliber players worked extremely hard to attain their success. These men look for an edge to power them through the tough times that are inevitable in the game of baseball.
Competition is another driving force that can lead to top-level performance.
It is no coincidence that since the trade of Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe has slumped horribly. In the first half of the season, Renfroe put up a slash line of .252/.308/.613 and hit 27 homers. In this second half of 2019, he is at a .184/.269/.328 with his slash line and has hit just four homers. That is a huge difference and has resulted in Renfroe being platooned with Josh Naylor, Manuel Margot and Wil Myers for playing time. Even Francisco Mejia has found himself playing left field, as the Padres attempt to gain some offensive punch from their outfield unit. The team needs more firepower from this group.
So why is Renfroe struggling and does it have anything to do with the loss of Reyes?
Only Renfroe knows that answer, but you can be sure that the outfielder was significantly motivated by the competition with Franmil Reyes for playing time. He would never admit it- but that battle left him with a chip on his shoulder. The stocky outfielder played the game with something to prove. Renfroe must find that driving factor again. He needs to take his offensive game to the next step for the Padres to indeed be a relevant team in major league baseball.
Hunter Renfroe has been in a two-month slump and must find consistency. The flashes of brilliance are indications that he is capable of more. Patience has been an issue in the past, but the slugger has already walked more this year than at any other time in his career. There is some progress in that area, but the Padres need more from him. These final 32 games are a chance for Renfroe to re-establish himself as a vital member of the future.