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Bats stepping up as SD's season enters stretch

Renfroe, Reyes, Margot among players with successful road trip
San Diego Padres

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

I'm looking forward to this offseason.

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

I'm looking forward to this offseason.

My guess is that it could be very interesting. Padres general manager A.J. Preller has plenty of chips to play if he wants to head in the direction of trading.

Right now, I count eight position players on the Major League roster who are either keepers or would draw interest on the trade market. That doesn't include Freddy Galvis, and I think it would be wise for the Padres to keep the shortstop for at least one more season.

As for pitchers, the Padres are deep in prospects approaching the Major Leagues. On Friday night, Jacob Nix will be the fifth starting pitcher to make his Major League debut with the Padres this season. There are many more knocking on the door -- Chris Paddack, Cal Quantrill, Michel Baez, Logan Allen -- and even more down the line.

If Dinelson Lamet returns from Tommy John surgery and Matt Strahm is converted into a starter, the Padres could have 12 young pitchers vying for rotation spots next year.

My list of controlled players who will play a role in the Padres 2019 season -- either as regulars here or trade chips -- consists of outfielders Manuel Margot, Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, Franmil Reyes, Travis Jankowski and Franchy Cordero; catcher Austin Hedges and first baseman Eric Hosmer.

Video: SD@MIL: Margot laces an RBI double to center field

Yes, there are six outfielders on my list. So someone has to be moved. Maybe two.

The positions the Padres are going to need to address next season are second and third base -- plus shortstop, if Galvis doesn't return. They could also use another veteran starting pitcher or two. Even if Galvis returns, they'll need a backup infielder who can play short -- something they lack now.

Luis Urías, 21, is the heir apparent at second, although his 2018 numbers at Triple-A El Paso are a bit disappointing. And season-ending thumb surgery slowed the rapid advance of the Padres' No. 1 prospect, shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who is still a teenager.

But I have to admit that I am getting more excited about the future as some of the Padres' top prospects, particularly the starting pitchers, approach the Major Leagues.

Notes

The Padres' 4-3 road trip to the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers produced a number of notable hitting performances:

• Renfroe got a chance to start all seven games on the trip, and he responded by hitting safely in all seven games. He returns to Petco Park Friday night having homered in four straight games. Renfroe was 11-for-29 (.379) on the trip with two doubles, four homers, two walks, 12 RBIs and four runs scored with a .419 on-base percentage, a .862 slugging percentage and a 1.281 OPS. Renfroe raised his batting average from .231 to .250 on the trip. He also struck out only three times in 29 at-bats.

Video: SD@MIL: Reyes cracks opposite-field solo homer in 9th

• Reyes' production wasn't far behind Renfroe's on the trip. He played in four of the games after being recalled from El Paso and went 9-for-15 in a four-game hitting streak that included the first two three-hit games of his Major League career. Reyes, who raised his batting average from .221 to .269, also had two doubles, three homers, five RBIs and six runs scored with a slash line of .600/.625/1.333.

• Margot was 10-for-25 on a trip that included the first five-RBI game of his career. He had two doubles, a triple, a home run, eight RBIs and five runs scored with a .680 slugging percentage and a 1.280 OPS.

• Hedges was 8-for-21 (.381) on the trip with a double, two homers (both at Wrigley Field), two walks, five RBIs and four runs scored for a .435 on-base percentage, a .762 slugging percentage and a 1.197 OPS. Hedges has four homers in his past 11 games since July 25 while raising his season batting average from .225 to .249.

• Infielder Cory Spangenberg returns home on a four-game hitting streak, having hit safely in five of the six games he played on the trip. He went 7-for-19 with two doubles, two walks, three RBIs and three runs scored with a slash line of .368/.429/.474.

• Third baseman Christian Villanueva was 9-for-21 (.429) on the trip with two doubles, his 20th homer, one RBI and three runs scored with two walks for a .478 on-base percentage, a .667 slugging percentage and a 1.145 OPS.

• Jankowski was 7-for-17 (.412) on the trip with two walks, a clutch stolen base in a comeback win, four RBIs and three runs scored.

San Diego Padres