Despite being ranked 30th in all but one offensive statistical category (ranked 29th in slugging percentage), the San Diego Padres are only three games below .500 at 21-24, and that is surprising.
While there are no standout or star players as far as the rest of the league is concerned, Seth Smith has been undoubtedly the best player for the Friars so far this season.
Smith, who was acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Oakland A’s, is leading the team in just about every category including batting average at .333, home runs with five, 17 RBIs, 12 doubles, and is tied for the run lead at 18, to go along with his team-leading .608 slugging percentage. His 40 hits are good enough for second on the squad, Everth Cabrera leads with 45. Smith is currently fourth in the NL in batting average.
While the batting average is above par, the rest of the stats aren’t even close to measuring up to the rest of the league. The five home runs are eight shy of Troy Tulowitzki’s NL leading 13 (10 shy of Jose Abreu’s MLB-leading 15), and the 17 RBIs are far less than the league-leading 43 from Giancarlo Stanton.
What this goes to show is, while the stats are good enough to lead the Padres, they are relatively pedestrian numbers, and that is probably why they currently sit toward the bottom of the standings.
However, Smith has been on quite the tear lately. Over the past nine games, Smith is posting a .464 batting average (13-for-28), with three of his five dingers coming in that stretch, as well as 10 of his 17 RBIs.
Another positive is that Smith seems to be hitting his stride in his career. He has averaged a .269 batting average in his seven years in the big leagues, and seems to be hitting much better already this season. Smith averages about 10 home runs a season, and has already hit the half way mark with five, and is on pace to pass his average of 36 RBI per season with 17 through 45 games. His best season statistically was back in 2011 with the Colorado Rockies, where Smith hit .284 for the season, with 15 long balls and 59 RBIs on his 135 hits.
Smith’s production has been a bright spot in what has been a relatively rough start this season. Other than the pitching staff, which has been quite stellar thus far and is currently third in the league in team ERA at 3.10, Smith has shown that he still a very capable veteran ball player.
Smith will most likely finish right around even, or possibly better stats than his career averages, and for the Padres, that would be great news. While he was only signed to a 1-year deal worth $4.5 million back in January, Smith’s play has proved that he would be a valuable asset moving forward, and would be a very viable addition moving forward.