SAN DIEGO -- In just over a month, the Padres will enter the offseason with plenty of question marks surrounding their corner outfield spots -- and the half dozen players set to compete for them next spring. In center field, however, Manuel Margot has erased those questions. The 22-year-old rookie
SAN DIEGO -- In just over a month, the Padres will enter the offseason with plenty of question marks surrounding their corner outfield spots -- and the half dozen players set to compete for them next spring. In center field, however, Manuel Margot has erased those questions. The 22-year-old rookie is making a case that he'll roam center at Petco Park for years to come.
Margot continued his second-half power surge with a three-run shot Tuesday night, the decisive blow in a 6-3 Padres victory over San Francisco. Margot also worked a walk during a sixth-inning rally and made a leaping catch in center field.
"When you're able to be an impact two-way player, that's what can make you into a superstar," Margot said. "That's something that I want to be. That's something that's pushing me -- to be that type of player who can have that kind of impact on both sides of the ball."
Indeed, it seems there's little Margot can't do. Power was supposed to be the tool most lacking from his skill set. But he's now launched 13 homers in his rookie campaign -- eight since the All-Star break.
On Tuesday, Margot found himself in a two-strike count in the fourth inning, then turned around a Matt Moore fastball and smacked it off the facing of the second deck. The pitch was below Margot's knees, yet he crushed it off the "2" denoting the number of strikes on the scoreboard.
"Just watching his batting practice, you knew [power] was going to come, but you didn't know exactly when it was going to come," said Padres manager Andy Green. "I was kind of looking at Year 2, Year 3, down the road, where it would start to click in. ... It's come quicker than expected."
For the better part of the past month, the Padres clubhouse has joked that Margot's homer binge is the result of "Dad strength." All eight of those second-half homers have come since the birth of his son, Diamond.
Obviously, there's a bit more to it.
"Every day, he's incredibly disciplined in his routines, with a purpose," said Padres hitting coach Alan Zinter. "He's very conscious of making every swing a good swing. His focus is there every day."
Margot is hitting .270/.314/.434 this season, solid numbers but a bit misleading. He struggled in May, while battling a nagging calf injury, which sent him to the disabled list for a month.
Other than that, Margot hadn't run into many cold stretches this season -- until an early August swoon saw his batting average dip 16 points in three weeks. He's responded nicely, hitting .333 with three extra-base hits and three walks over the past week.
"You have to try to stay consistent," Margot said. "You have to do the same things every day, and for me, that's what's worked. When you start to move away from that or drift from that consistency, that's when you start to encounter the grind."
AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.