A prolonged batting slump can be very stressful for Major League Baseball players. Often, it feels like Groundhog Day as they revert to the basic principles of hitting in trying to break out of their slump. All hope this is the day their luck changes but, for some, that day never comes. A player who falls under this category is Trent Grisham who could determine the success of the San Diego Padres in 2023.
Bottom of the San Diego Padres batting order needs more offensive production
After a closer look at the Padres roster, some vulnerabilities could haunt them through the summer. The franchise’s top players, notably Manny Machado, Juan Soto and newly signed Xander Bogaerts should make an offensive impact this season. Still, just as in 2022, the Friars will need more production from the bottom of the batting order if they expect to contend for a postseason berth.
Grisham has been slumping at the plate for the past two seasons. He needs better plate discipline. It seems he has no strike zone recognition. Opposing pitchers can expand the zone on him during at-bats with runners in scoring position. Everyone believes Grisham has the physical tools to regain his skill set at the plate.
Trent Grisham needs to show he more than good-glove, no-bat
Despite all his struggles, he played in 152 games and batted .184 with 17 home runs and 53 RBI last season. This includes being benched for the final month of the regular season due to his inconsistencies at the plate.
In the postseason, he hit .200 with three home runs and five runs batted in in 12 playoff starts. This stretch included going hitless in 19 at-bats against the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series.
Let’s not forget that Grisham served as the Padres primary leadoff hitter in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Almost half of his hits (54) were for extra-bases. He clubbed 10 homers and also hit eight doubles and three triples. Also, he drew 31 walks and scored 42 runs. Grisham finished with a .251 batting average with a .352 OBP and .808 OPS in his first season with the Friars.
San Diego Padres have a Gold Glove center fielder in Trent Grisham
Despite all his struggles at the plate, Grisham takes great pride in his defense. He is a two-time Gold Glove winner with the Padres. Grisham’s ability to cover the ground from the left field gap to the right field gap makes his value essential to the team’s success. Grisham achieved eight defensive runs saved above average with a .994 fielding percentage, tallying just two errors in 346 fielding chances last season. His glove provides a strong argument to keep Grisham in the lineup regardless of his batting average.
Trying to play winning baseball is serious business. It is about being competitive and bringing energy to the diamond each day. There is no rest for MLB players as they strive to get better in all facets of the game. Some will call it an inner work ethic to get better.
It does not matter if you are working on becoming a more effective baserunner, making more consistent contact at the plate or getting a better read on the baseball defensively. Baseball fans have seen too many talented players fall through the cracks because they failed to work on their craft once making their major league debut.
The hope is for Grisham to regain his stroke. Not surprisingly, Padres manager Bob Melvin is confident his center fielder will rebound in 2023. But if he continues to struggle at the plate and the offense has trouble putting runs on the scoreboard, the Friars have no alternatives at the moment.
Right now, leaving Grisham out of the lineup is not an option.