On this edition of Friar Fridays we’ll take a look at the third base spot.
Ultimately this position is dominated by NL MVP candidate Chase Headley, so let’s start there.
Headley became only the second Padre to ever lead the NL in RBIs last season on his way to NL MVP consideration. Headley finished 5th in the voting behind a slew of top-name players including winner Buster Posey, Ryan Braun, Andrrew McCutchen and Yadier Molina. Headley only finished with 1 fourth place vote and received a total of 127 points. Posey received 422 points. Headley finished the season with a .286 average, 31 long balls, and a league leading 115 RBIs.
Last season was Headley’s best season by far. His 31 homeruns were only five less than he’d hit for his entire career. His .286 average was the second best of his career behind his 2011 season when he hit .289 and his 115 RBIs was the best of his career after posting a previous season high of 64 in 2009. The switch-hitting Headley hit better as a left last season, posting a .300 average from that side of the plate compared to his .257 average as a righty.
His 2012 campaign was good enough to earn him a Silver Slugger. Padres fans are hoping that 2012 wasn’t a fluke season as they will turn to Headley to provide the same numbers again this season at the plate.
In the field, Headley has a career fielding percentage of .965 at third base. Last season he posted a .976 fielding percentage, committing 10 errors. His play at third base earned him a Gold Glove in 2012. While he focuses on producing at the plate, he’ll also be looking to improve his glove at the hot spot to keep those Gold Gloves coming.
Behind him on the team’s depth chart is James Darnell who has a career average of .235 after appearing in seven games. Behind him is Cody Ransom who came over from Arizona. For the 2012 season he hit .220 with 11 home runs. It’s unlikely that either of these guys will see the field for an extended ammount of time. Logan Forsythe is being groomed to play the super utility role and will likely fill in for Headley if need be. Also, top prospect Jedd Gyorko could step in and fill the void if he’s not over at second base.
Check in for next week’s edition of Friar Fridays as we take a look at the shortstop position featuring Everth Cabrera.