Hunter Renfroe Mashes Way To Big Accolades
Best Player: Right fielder Hunter Renfroe found greater consistency with adjustments to his swing and hit .306/.336/.557 with 30 home runs and 34 doubles at Triple-A El Paso to earn Pacific Coast League MVP honors.
"As far as putting the ball in play and putting the ball in play with authority, it was a step forward,” assistant general manager Josh Stein said.
The Padres 2013 first-round pick out of Mississippi State also parlayed his exceptional arm strength into 17 assists in 113 games.
Renfroe’s 22 walks in 521 plate appearances raised concern, but he also reduced his strikeout rate by more than three percent. The 6-foot-2, 220 pound righty positioned himself for a September callup and a shot at the team’s right-field job in 2017.
"He had a monster year—tools in addition to performance,” Stein said.
Best Pitcher: Righthander Dinelson Lamet improved his chances to stay in a starter’s role by working with high Class A Lake Elsinore pitching coach Glendon Rusch to develop a serviceable changeup to pair with his mid-90s fastball and power slider.
Lamet, a 24-year old who signed for $100,000 out of the Domincan Republic, allowed one run over a 32-inning stretch with Lake Elsinore, posting a 2.35 ERA over the 12 starts. After rising to the Texas League, he struck out 11 batters per nine innings in 14 starts with Double-A San Antonio.
"He was more consistent,” Stein said.
The expectation is Lamet will join the Padres at some point in 2017. Improving his Double-A walk rate of 3.8-per-nine is one objective, as is sharpening his changeup.
Keep An Eye On: Lake Elsinore second baseman Luis Urias is a sum-is-better-than-the-parts prospect. Neither fast nor powerful, the 19-year old from Mexico used bat control and smarts to outperform older competition in the Cal League. He hit .330/.397/.440 in 466 at-bats and won the league batting title.
"Night in and night out, his at-bats are as good as anybody’s in the organization,” farm director Sam Geaney said of Urias, whom the Padres signed in 2013.
Best suited to second base but also a serviceable defender at shortstop and third base, the 5-foot-9 Urias has only six home runs in 229 career games but stung the ball enough to keep pitchers and outfielders honest. In mid-July, he went 4-for-9 with a home run in a three-game stint at Triple-A El Paso.
Highlight-Reel Defense Puts Rays On Brink Of World Series
At this point, the list of Rays who haven’t made a highlight-reel defensive play is shorter than the ones who have.
"He’s getting stronger every time we see him,” Geaney said.