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Three Padres came up big after promotion

Spangenberg, Asuaje, Pirela keys to team's improved play
San Diego Padres

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Development in baseball is not linear for most players.
     
Yes, there are some players who immediately click.
     
But most who make it to the Major Leagues face bumps along the road.
     
I've always been interested in the improvement many players show between their first and second trips to the Major Leagues . . . and how some players develop with time.
     
The Padres have three examples of this non-linear path to success this season in Cory Spangenberg, Carlos Asuaje and Jose Pirela.
     
Spangenberg showed promise in 2015 when he hit .270 in 108 games with a .333 on-base percentage. After getting off to a slow start in 2016, a left quad strain ended his season before the first month was completed.
     
Because his feet weren't totally back on the ground this spring, Spangenberg opened the season with Triple-A El Paso. Since returning to the Major Leagues on April 25, the 26-year-old Spangenberg has shown steady improvement offensively while proving to be a versatile performer on defense.
     
Currently, Spangenberg is 10-for-23 in a six-game hitting streak that includes a double, a triple, three homers, six RBIs and six runs scored. He has hit safely in 21 of his last 27 games, going 33-for-99 (.333) since July 16 with six homers, 19 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
     
He already has more homers (11) and RBIs (39) than he had in the first 142 games of his career with the recent run pushing his batting average (.278) and on-base percentage (.331) to respectable levels.
     
Asuaje, 25, wasn't overly impressive in a cameo with the Padres last September or during spring training. Like Spangenberg, Asuaje was dispatched to El Paso with a rather lengthy list of things to address both offensively and defensively.
     
He did it.
     
He returned to the Major Leagues on May 24 a much more refined player - again offensively as well as defensively.
     
Asuaje has shown much better range at second while hitting .288 with a .350 on-base percentage.
     
Pirela, 27, is living proof that unexpected things happen in baseball. Like Spangenberg and Asuaje, Pirela opened the season at El Paso. Unlike the other two, there were never any strong expectations that Pirela would play for the Padres this season.
     
Since being promoted from the Chihuahuas on May 6, Pirela has been the Padres' leading hitter at .298 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .350 on-base percentage and a .529 slugging percentage for a .879 OPS in 56 games. Pirela has hit safely in 23 of his last 28 games.
     
NOTE WORTHY:
     
--The Padres are 22-13 at Petco Park since May 21 - a .629 winning percentage. Since May 21, the Padres have averaged 4.4 runs per game and hit .265 with runners in scoring position. Overall, the Padres are 30-27 at home this season.
     
--The Padres have 46 home runs since the All-Star break, the fourth-highest total in the Major Leagues. They also have 14 multi-homer games since the All-Star break.
     
--RF Hunter Renfroe is 3-for-24 since Aug. 7 with 13 strikeouts. He has one double and one RBI with two walks during the slump.
     
--C Austin Hedges has three, two-hit games since returning from the concussion disabled list. He is 10-for-40 with two doubles and two homers.

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Development in baseball is not linear for most players.
     
Yes, there are some players who immediately click.
     
But most who make it to the Major Leagues face bumps along the road.
     
I've always been interested in the improvement many players show between their first and second trips to the Major Leagues . . . and how some players develop with time.
     
The Padres have three examples of this non-linear path to success this season in Cory Spangenberg, Carlos Asuaje and Jose Pirela.
     
Spangenberg showed promise in 2015 when he hit .270 in 108 games with a .333 on-base percentage. After getting off to a slow start in 2016, a left quad strain ended his season before the first month was completed.
     
Because his feet weren't totally back on the ground this spring, Spangenberg opened the season with Triple-A El Paso. Since returning to the Major Leagues on April 25, the 26-year-old Spangenberg has shown steady improvement offensively while proving to be a versatile performer on defense.
     
Currently, Spangenberg is 10-for-23 in a six-game hitting streak that includes a double, a triple, three homers, six RBIs and six runs scored. He has hit safely in 21 of his last 27 games, going 33-for-99 (.333) since July 16 with six homers, 19 RBIs and 23 runs scored.
     
He already has more homers (11) and RBIs (39) than he had in the first 142 games of his career with the recent run pushing his batting average (.278) and on-base percentage (.331) to respectable levels.
     
Asuaje, 25, wasn't overly impressive in a cameo with the Padres last September or during spring training. Like Spangenberg, Asuaje was dispatched to El Paso with a rather lengthy list of things to address both offensively and defensively.
     
He did it.
     
He returned to the Major Leagues on May 24 a much more refined player - again offensively as well as defensively.
     
Asuaje has shown much better range at second while hitting .288 with a .350 on-base percentage.
     
Pirela, 27, is living proof that unexpected things happen in baseball. Like Spangenberg and Asuaje, Pirela opened the season at El Paso. Unlike the other two, there were never any strong expectations that Pirela would play for the Padres this season.
     
Since being promoted from the Chihuahuas on May 6, Pirela has been the Padres' leading hitter at .298 with eight homers, 29 RBIs, a .350 on-base percentage and a .529 slugging percentage for a .879 OPS in 56 games. Pirela has hit safely in 23 of his last 28 games.
     
NOTE WORTHY:
     
--The Padres are 22-13 at Petco Park since May 21 - a .629 winning percentage. Since May 21, the Padres have averaged 4.4 runs per game and hit .265 with runners in scoring position. Overall, the Padres are 30-27 at home this season.
     
--The Padres have 46 home runs since the All-Star break, the fourth-highest total in the Major Leagues. They also have 14 multi-homer games since the All-Star break.
     
--RF Hunter Renfroe is 3-for-24 since Aug. 7 with 13 strikeouts. He has one double and one RBI with two walks during the slump.
     
--C Austin Hedges has three, two-hit games since returning from the concussion disabled list. He is 10-for-40 with two doubles and two homers.

 

San Diego Padres