Renfroe's game picked up since All-Star break

Notes on rookie contributors, Mejía/Hedges, Reyes, Margot, Hosmer, Galvis

September 8th, 2018

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

Hunter Renfroe has homered each of the past two nights in Cincinnati.


He has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, going 19-for-58 (.345) with three doubles, nine homers, 18 RBIs and 14 runs scored. During the run, Renfroe had a career-best 11-game hitting streak.


And going back farther, the 26-year-old corner outfielder has hit .277 (43-for-155) since the All-Star break with seven doubles, 14 homers, 20 runs scored and 33 RBIs in 36 games. He has a .594 slugging percentage for a .895 OPS.


Also worth noting, Renfroe has cut down his strikeout rate to one every four at-bats since the break.


"Hunter is swinging the bat really well right now," Padres manager Andy Green said recently. "He's swinging the bat really well against right-handers (12 of his last 14 homers have been against right-handed pitchers). He's had a lot of really good at-bats against them."


"He's turned some fastballs around. He's doing a nice job using the whole field. His two-strike approach has changed for me. He's trying to make a lot of the adjustments we've asked him to make. There's a lot to like, especially over the last month."


The Padres other right-handed-hitting corner outfielder - rookie Franmil Reyes - is also on a run.


He has hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games - a run that included a career-best 10-game hitting streak. During the run, Reyes has gone 17-for-46 (.370) with two doubles, six homers, nine runs scored and 10 RBIs with six walks for a .442 on-base percentage and a .804 slugging percentage for a 1.246 OPS.


Meanwhile, although center fielder Manuel Margot has picked up his offense recently, Green said there are no plans to return him to the top of the order this season.


"We want to leave him alone where he is right now," Green said recently. "It's been a long enough season to say let's leave him down there where the pressure is off him, where he doesn't feel like he has to do something special. He's taken walks down there better. He's driven the ball down there better. He's driven in runs better down there."


"I don't want to read too much into it. I think it's one of those things that will wash away next year. But it's definitely played that way this year."


Margot has hit .317 (13-for-41) with three doubles, a homer, three RBIs and four runs scored since Aug. 24 while hitting at the bottom of the order.




--The Padres are 6-4 over their last 10 games with rookies figuring prominently in every win - RHP Jacob Nix (Aug. 28); LHP Joey Lucchesi, 2B Luis Urías (Aug. 29); LHP Eric Lauer, RHP Robert Stock and RF Franmil Reyes (Aug. 30); RHP Brett Kennedy, Urías and Reyes (Aug. 31); Reyes (Sept. 3), and C Francisco Mejía, Lauer and LHP José Castillo (Sept. 6).


--Mejía's two-homer, four-RBI game in his first start at catcher for the Padres Thursday had some fans immediately jumping on the "Mejía at catcher" bandwagon. But Austin Hedges is 7-for-22 (.318) during an active six-game hitting streak with two doubles, four RBIs and three runs scored. Hedges has seven homers in his last 32 games while raising his batting average from .225 to .240.


--1B Eric Hosmer's two run homer Friday night was his 14th of the season and his first since Aug. 21. His three-RBI game was his fifth of the season, but his first since June 4.


--SS Freddy Galvis is 2-for-15 over his last four games with nine strikeouts, including two, three-strikeout games.