Padres mulling tablesetter options

Jay, Spangenberg among possibilities to bat leadoff

February 24th, 2016

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Early on in camp, Padres manager Andy Green made the plunge and named, in order, the first three starting pitchers in the rotation.

The rest of the major decisions -- like who will hit leadoff -- will have to wait, he said Wednesday.

"We're willing [now] to make decisions on half of our starting rotation out of the chute, but the rest can play itself out over spring games," Green said.

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Green did say that outfielder Jon Jay and second baseman Cory Spangenberg peg best as guys who can hit at the top of the order.

"When you look at candidates to hit at the top of the order, you're looking at a Jon Jay type who has traditionally had a high on-base percentage, you look at what Cory Spangenberg brings to the lineup," Green said.

"But I wouldn't limit us to those two options at this time. But those two guys [can] fit up there; left-handed bats with some speed and past history of being able to steal bases."

A year ago, the Padres had an unconventional leadoff hitter at the outset of the season in center fielder Wil Myers, who will now slide down into a spot in the order that would be a better fit for him.

Jay, who has hit second in the order for most of his career, does already have 500 plate appearances in the leadoff spot, hitting .270/.343/.361. Spangenberg, who has only played in 128 big league games, might be better fit for No. 2 in the order, as he has a .307 average and .383 on-base percentage in 118 plate appearances there.

"You're looking for a guy to set the table, get on base and have a productive at-bat," Green said.

The Padres didn't have nearly enough production out of the leadoff spot in 2015, as they ranked 13th in the National League in team batting average (.247) and 14th out of 15 teams in on-base percentage (.303).