February 28, 2018

By Chris Ello, February 27, 2018 


The Padres hit an inside-the-park home run on Monday, and they hit plenty of outside-the-park home runs as well. 


Hunter Renfroe hit one halfway to downtown Phoenix. Villanueva, Reyes and Coleman also went yard. Franchy Cordero rolled one around the yard, and then rolled around the bases.


The Friars hit five HR's in all in their 10-4 Cactus League thrashing of the Ohtani-obsessed Los Angeles of Anaheim. Andy Green's boppers even mixed-in a pair of doubles and a triple.


What in the world of the '27 Yankees is going on here?


(The law of baseball writing demands that we insert a friendly reminder to all readers: it's only spring training).


But, hey! Fernando Tatis homered on opening day, Luis Urias hit one the next day, and Austin Hedges connected the day after that. Maybe it's fair for us get a little excited about the power potential of this ballclub.


The Padres? Power? Somebody wake up Phil Nevin and Ryan Klesko and tell them the news.


The two former Padres griped that nobody would ever be able a power threat playing half their games in Petco Park. And for a decade or so, that has been the prevailing opinion. It has affected the Friars, who haven't been able to draw big-swinging free agents.


And the statistics -- from last year, at least -- still support the theory. According to ESPN's ballpark home run ratings, only AT&T Park in San Francisco, among NL stadiums,  was a harder place to go deep than San Diego.


But, just maybe, some of that has to do with the players who were trying to go deep. Wil Myers hit 30 HR's last season, but he and Renfroe (26) were the only Friars to reach to 20-mark. Adding everything up, the Padres hit 189 homers in 2017, better than four NL teams.(Philly, San Fran., the ATL, and Pittsburgh).


So maybe this season, maybe in a season to come shortly, the Padres will have more bashers, and Petco Park can be somewhat cut down to size. The Padres may never blast their way to a postseason appearance, but you get the feeling there may be some pep in this team's ability to pop.