Hairston Never Got the Memo

I spend the weekend at Comic-Con, and the Padres go out and win three straight games. Are they even allowed to do that?

Scott Hairston hit another home run on Sunday. Dude is batting .364/.417/.909 in July. He also has eight homers this month and 11 RBI. That’s pretty hard to do.

Hairston has some unusual splits in 2008. First off, he’s destroying left-handers: .297/.313/.658, with 10 homers in just 115 plate appearances. Sure, the OBP is low, but why would you ever let a pitch go by when you’re knocking the snot out of the ball like that?

Hairston also is one of the few Padres that does anything when leading off an inning:

Hairston: 104 PA, .333/.385/.740
Rest of team: 872 PA, .209/.266/.324

The other thing I love about Hairston is that apparently he never got the memo about Petco Park. Check out his home/road splits so far in 2008:

Home: .295/.346/.584
Road: .217/.271/.442

Imagine if Hairston had the luxury of playing all his games in that bandbox downtown. If you think his numbers this year are a fluke, here’s his career line at Petco: .301/.349/.593. Granted, 237 plate appearances aren’t a lot, but in Hairston’s case, they represent just under a quarter of his career total.

Speaking of Petco Park, the Pads are back in town Monday to take on Hairston’s former team, the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks. I’ll be out there all three nights. At this point in the season, hanging out at the park and watching games beats the bejeezus out of sitting around thinking about what might have been.

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105 Responses »

  1. #97@Tom Waits:
    Well, first off, as far as younger players go, I suppose it would be nice, once and for all, to see if Ambres or Mcanulty can ever get enough sustained playing time to show that their minor-league numbers are all park-influenced fluke. I’m just about ready to call McAnulty a bust, but he’s tearing the cover off the ball at AAA, and he’s never gotten any sort of sustained ML playing time, although I’m not sure where you stick him at this point to do so. His minor league numbers certainly look like somebody who could contribute.
    But, of course, neither Ambres or McAnulty is particularly young. They’re both 28. I had hopes for Huber, too, but he never got a chance to play, either with the Pads or in AAA and has been pretty brutal.

    SO I don’t know; looking at san Diego’s minor league system, as I’ve been doing for the last hour, is pretty depressing. It’s the result of a fatally flawed drafting premise that pushes signable guys with low upside over true talents. It’s what gave the Padres Matt Bush in 2004 when Verlander, S Drew, Jeremy Sowers, Phil Hughes, Homer Bailey, Jeff Niemann and Jered Weaver were all available. It’s the philosophy that took Tim Stauffer ahead of Conor Jackson, Nick Markakis, Paul Maholm and Carlos Quentin. The Padres have skimped on the draft for years, only to throw money at minor-league veterans with no upside, and this team is the end result of that. This, I think, is the point I’ve been trying to argue – that San Diego can’t achieve what it wants to unless it gets serious about drafting and developing good players. this year’s Dominican camp signings are a start, a very positive one, but then their terrible decision to draft Dykstra in the first round (and he’s not going to sign, probably) undid some of that progress. You can’t build a team around cast-offs and journeymen. You have to develop talent, and the Padres just aren’t doing that right now. All the league-average second basemen in the world won’t change that.

  2. And keeping Edgar Gonzalez around to “keep his brother happy” is foolish. We tried that at second base last year. Brian Giles has actually been better this year, without his kid brother around.

  3. #102@David Coonce: It’s only foolish if Egon doesn’t hit. He’s hit in the minor leagues and never got a chance to play. Now he’s hitting exactly like he did in the minors. I think I was fairly clear that Egon’s value, in order, arises from his ability (possibly) to post a 100 OPS+ or better, to do so at league minimum, and then as a nice benny for his younger brother. We didn’t sign Marcus Giles to keep Brian happy; Brian was a Padre regardless. We signed Marcus because he had a pretty good track record as a hitter and defender, and if he had continued that, there was a chance to lock up second base at a fairly cheap price due to the brother factor.

    #101@David Coonce: You’ll get no argument from me about the limitations of the Padre draft strategy. In 03 and 04 it was brutal; the new regime has made better picks, but Dykstra makes you wonder if their new process is really that different or if they’ve simply executed the standard Padre draft process better.

  4. #103@Tom Waits:
    Hitting in the minor leagues without getting a chjance to play sounds exactly like McAnulty, Huber and Ambres. We’ll see. I hope I’m wrong about him Gonzalez.

    As far as drafts go, the Padres avoidance of high-upside guys has driven me crazy for a long time. The Dominican signings this year were huge though, and restored some faith for me in the front office – a front office this talented can’t be clueless with regard to young talent, can it? The only bummer is that all those Dominican signings are 16 years old, and we’ll have to wait quite a while to see if any of them pan out.

    Speaking of Marcus Giles, wither goes NOG?

  5. #104@David Coonce: Sometimes a guy can hit in the minors but not the majors. Usually it’s a lack of patience on the part of the big-league club, combined with the player not having enough upside to make the team more forgiving.

    The chances of an older player turning into a star are very small, but the chances of them being valuable is less small. And Egon, to his credit, came out hot. We’re not carrying him for any reason other than his 113 OPS+. That plays. So does Gerut’s 114.

    McAnulty, Ambres, and Huber haven’t had enough major-league at-bats to say they can’t hit in the majors, but only Huber has enough upside, because of his power, to really be that concerned with.