Building for the future …
21-year-old Mat Latos, one hit, one run, one walk over seven innings.
22-year-old Kyle Blanks, three-run home run, 4 home runs in his last 9 games.
22-year-old Everth Cabrera, two hits, now 12-for-24 on this road trip.
When you’re breaking down Wednesday’s victory over the Reds, you really don’t need to look any further than what these three players did.
Yes, I realize it’s one game in a 162-game season but it shows that, unlike last season when these same Padres were spiraling toward their 99-loss season, there’s some real reasons for optimism this time around.
Sure, the sample size is small but if you’re a Padres fan looking at this roster, looking at how Jake Peavy and Chris Young are on the disabled list, you’re looking for something to cling to, to root for. If I was a fan, these three guys would be it.
Latos is a strike-throwing machine who is not overwhelmed by his surroundings or facing big league hitters. He is efficient, doesn’t walk anyone and isn’t concerned with strikeouts. He’s 21 going on 41, at least as far as his approach.
Cabrera is developing into a Major League-average shortstop. Great defense, range, arm, all of that and his bat is coming around. The speed is there as well, which presents a weapon these Padres have had in recent years. I don’t think the Furcal comparisons, at this point, are that far off.
As for Blanks, he’s showing the kind of power he has showed in the Minor Leagues the past two seasons and appears to be making better in-game adjustments at the plate to what the opposing pitchers are trying to do. I don’t know yet what he’ll be given, say, 500 at-bats, but he’ll get a chance to play a lot moving forward.
Consider that in the last week the Padres had added a young pitcher in Sean Gallagher, who I’m sure will compete for a spot in the starting rotation in 2010 and if the Padres make a deal today or tomorrow (I think they will, probably involving Heath Bell) there could be more young talent on the way.
No, it’s not enough to save this season. That was never the point. But there are signs that the future could be a whole lot brighter than the present.
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