Less than a week to go until Opening Day! For the red-hot Padres, it can’t get here fast enough. At 18-12, the Friars have the best record among NL West teams, rank third in the Cactus League and second among all National League clubs.
The Padres have won 15 of their last 20 after a slow start, hitting .307 over that stretch. On the Spring, San Diego is averaging 5.8 runs and 10.3 hits per game.
With the regular season quickly approaching, the first issue of this year’s Blueprint has been sent off to the printer. Here is a sneak peak at the first cover, featuring both Nick Hundley and Cameron Maybin. Both players recently signed contract extensions, ensuring the Padres future down the middle of the diamond.
The San Diego Padres today announced that they have agreed to terms with catcher Nick Hundley on a contract through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015.
Hundley, 28, set career highs in nearly every offensive category in 2011, including runs, hits, triples, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. He hit .288 (81-for-281) with 16 doubles, five triples, nine home runs, 29 RBI and 34 runs scored in 82 games, including 73 starts behind the plate. As catcher, he threw out a career-high 24 would-be base stealers last season, besting his previous total of 13 from 2008.
Since making his Big League debut in 2008, Hundley has posted a 3.94 ERA that ranks seventh among National League catchers over that four-year stretch.
The Padres come to Spring Training with a new-found depth at catcher, a strength that goes beyond the seven players in Big League camp.
Reporting along with the pitchers on Sunday were Nick Hundley (no introduction needed), John Baker (acquired from MIA in exchange for Wade LeBlanc) and Yasmani Grandal (acquired from CIN in Mat Latos trade), all off the 40-man roster. Also in camp are non-roster invites Brad Davis, Jason Hagerty, Eddy Rodriguez and Ali Solis.
Not far behind is one of the Padres most exciting prospects. Austin Hedges, a 19-year-old catcher out of San Juan Capistrano, was selected by San Diego in the second round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Hundley enters camp expected to be the Padres go-to man behind the dish. He is coming off a year in which he set career highs in nearly every offensive category, including runs, hits, triples, home runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Hundley also started a career-high-tying 73 games behind the plate, a total he is likely to top in 2012.
The acquisition of Grandal from MIA instantly inserted a top catching prospect into the Padres organization, strengthening the club’s position as having one of the top minor league systems. Ranked by Baseball-America as the Padres’ No. 2 prospect and No. 53 in all of baseball, Grandal flew through the minors last season, playing at High-A, Double-A and Triple-A in the Reds organziation.
Hedges has been named the Padres No. 6 prospect by Baseball-America despite playing just nine games as a professional. He was widely considered the top defensive catching prospect when selected 82nd overall in the 2011 draft.
Nick Hundley, expected to go out on a rehab assignment tomorrow, tested out his strained right oblique this afternoon. Hundley strapped on the gear and threw down to each base, going through a full exercise of baseball movements to test out his side (Brad Ausmus, in gray, is working with him).
Padres players and staff talk about their favorite cities to visit when not playing at PETCO Park: