Know Your Foe: the Padres are riding Seth Smith's ridiculous bat

Denis Poroy

Former Rockie Great Seth Smith is tearing the cover off the ball for the Padres; who saw that coming?

Remember that two week stretch when Seth Smith was a Colorado celebrity? Smith was the perfect embodiment of everything ridiculous, unlikely, and flat-out mind-blowing during the insane post-season rush of 2007. In his very first taste of Major League baseball Smith became a pinch-hitter extraordinaire, thrown into some of the highest leverage situations imaginable: late inning at bats where the game, and the Rockies' playoff hopes, hinged on his performance.

And perform he did: Smith received 8 plate appearances in September of 2007. He got a hit in five of them. He scored four runs, including a go-ahead run against the Padres in the famous game 163 (the Rockies would need three more go-ahead runs before the game was over). A kid no-one had ever heard of hit .625 in September of 2007 because it was September 2007 and the Rockies are apparently still in debt to the Baseball Gods for that.

In the ensuing years Smith had some part-time years with the Rockies, hitting pretty well but not great, defending alright, and being perfectly useful while not a star. He was eventually traded to Oakland for a reliever, and just like that, faded from the consciousness of Rockies fans. I would run across a box score or a highlight on MLB Network and think, "huh, I remember Seth Smith. I liked him." Then I might look at his stat line, and it would be so boringly average that I'd immediately forget what it was. That was Smith after 2007. Spectacularly average.

So what the hell has gotten into him this year?

Before the 2014 season the Padres traded for him, again for a reliever. A position player being traded for a reliever is the ultimate shrug of the shoulders regarding your ability. Relievers are like snacks snagged from the vending machine, and the players traded for them are like the quarters you scrounge for under the couch cushions. Low value currency to get low value meals.

But in this metaphor, Smith has turned out to be some ultra-rare 1930's specialty quarter that, instead of Washington's noggin, features FDR giving Hitler a wedgie. Because Smith has been exceptionally valuable this year. Troy Tulowitzki leads MLB in wRC+, we all know this, but guess who's second? It's not Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Giancarlo Stanton or any of the other usual suspects. It's good-ol' Seth Smith.

Smith has a herculean .339/.427/.580 slash line--at Petco freaking Park-- which grades out to a 182 wRC+. That would have put him second only to Miguel Cabrera last season. His 1.5 WAR is more than a win better than any other position player on his team.

Therein lies the rub with this Padres team. It's like they're stacked with Seth Smiths (Seths Smith?), circa 2008-2013. Capable, but boringly, horrendously average. They have a couple good to great performers--Smith, Andrew Cashner, and, uh, how about Ian Kennedy?--but for the most part they are the definition of "whatever."

The Padres are 29th in batting WAR and 14th in Pitching WAR. Their blah 19-22 record perfectly reflects their abilities; they are the definition of a "three games below .500 team." If you're a good team, you should beat the Padres. Sure, you might run into Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy and drop a series. So they're a pesky team, but beatable.

Unless Seth Smith comes to bat in the late innings with the game close. Then you best beware.

Hitting Stats

Name G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wRC+ BsR Off Def WAR
Seth Smith 33 129 3 15 14 0 11.60% 17.10% 0.245 0.395 0.336 0.422 0.582 182 -0.4 11.6 -1.5 1.5
Chase Headley 23 89 4 9 11 1 9.00% 23.60% 0.188 0.218 0.2 0.281 0.388 91 0.3 -0.6 2.7 0.5
Cameron Maybin 13 44 0 5 0 1 6.80% 13.60% 0.122 0.4 0.341 0.386 0.463 144 -0.5 1.7 1.5 0.5
Chris Denorfia 35 117 1 9 12 6 5.10% 12.80% 0.091 0.34 0.3 0.336 0.391 108 1.3 2.3 -1.4 0.5
Yasmani Grandal 32 100 4 9 11 2 12.00% 25.00% 0.205 0.254 0.216 0.31 0.42 109 0.6 1.6 -1.5 0.3
Rene Rivera 17 46 1 1 7 0 0.00% 26.10% 0.136 0.323 0.25 0.267 0.386 83 -0.1 -0.9 2 0.3
Alexi Amarista 37 96 1 9 8 3 10.40% 19.80% 0.082 0.231 0.188 0.274 0.271 56 0.2 -4.6 2.3 0.1
Everth Cabrera 38 167 0 15 3 7 3.60% 24.00% 0.069 0.336 0.252 0.279 0.321 69 1.1 -4.6 0.2 0
Nick Hundley 26 48 1 1 3 0 0.00% 20.80% 0.125 0.351 0.292 0.292 0.417 99 -0.7 -0.8 -0.4 0
Carlos Quentin 1 4 0 0 0 0 25.00% 25.00% 0 0 0 0.25 0 5 0 -0.4 0 0
Kyle Blanks 5 10 0 1 0 0 0.00% 30.00% 0 0.286 0.2 0.2 0.2 9 0.1 -0.9 -0.5 -0.1
Jace Peterson 10 24 0 1 0 2 0.00% 25.00% 0 0.235 0.174 0.208 0.174 9 0.5 -1.9 -0.4 -0.2
Xavier Nady 22 42 3 4 4 0 11.90% 21.40% 0.27 0.08 0.135 0.238 0.405 82 -1.1 -1.9 -0.9 -0.2
Tommy Medica 15 33 1 5 2 0 6.10% 45.50% 0.129 0.267 0.161 0.212 0.29 41 -0.3 -2.5 -0.9 -0.3
Will Venable 40 145 1 11 6 0 6.90% 26.20% 0.075 0.253 0.188 0.248 0.263 46 -0.7 -9.5 2.6 -0.3
Yonder Alonso 39 136 0 9 7 3 5.10% 11.00% 0.07 0.219 0.195 0.235 0.266 41 1 -8.1 0.1 -0.4
Jedd Gyorko 38 151 5 11 20 2 6.60% 25.20% 0.131 0.175 0.161 0.219 0.292 41 -0.5 -10.7 -1 -0.8

Pitching Stats

Name W L SV G GS IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP LOB% GB% HR/FB ERA FIP xFIP WAR
Ian Kennedy 2 4 0 8 8 49 10.29 2.02 0.55 0.307 74.30% 46.90% 7.00% 3.12 2.35 2.7 1.3
Andrew Cashner 2 5 0 9 9 57.1 7.38 2.67 0.31 0.288 74.40% 54.10% 4.90% 2.67 2.81 3.29 1.1
Robbie Erlin 2 4 0 8 7 42.2 7.8 2.32 0.63 0.302 68.30% 36.90% 6.30% 4.22 3.13 3.68 0.7
Huston Street 1 0 12 17 0 17 10.06 2.65 0.53 0.205 100.00% 42.50% 7.10% 0.53 2.52 2.83 0.4
Joaquin Benoit 1 0 1 18 0 18.2 8.68 2.41 0.48 0.213 75.30% 34.00% 5.00% 2.41 2.68 3.38 0.3
Tyson Ross 4 3 0 8 8 50.2 7.99 3.2 1.07 0.296 71.70% 58.20% 16.70% 3.02 3.99 3.38 0.2
Nick Vincent 0 1 0 16 0 15.1 9.39 1.17 1.17 0.243 68.60% 30.60% 10.50% 3.52 3.1 3.03 0.1
Tim Stauffer 1 0 0 11 0 15.2 8.04 4.6 0 0.31 81.00% 50.00% 0.00% 2.3 2.85 3.6 0.1
Alex Torres 1 0 0 17 0 15 8.4 4.8 0 0.211 88.20% 45.90% 0.00% 0.6 3.04 4.34 0.1
Dale Thayer 2 1 0 20 0 18.2 9.16 2.89 0.96 0.269 89.10% 43.10% 10.50% 1.45 3.59 3.52 0.1
Donn Roach 1 0 0 11 0 19 5.21 3.32 0 0.328 75.90% 65.10% 0.00% 2.84 3.21 3.96 0
Kevin Quackenbush 0 0 0 2 0 2.2 10.13 6.75 0 0.286 50.00% 42.90% 0.00% 6.75 3.1 4.08 0
Hector Ambriz 0 0 0 1 0 2 4.5 9 0 0.333 50.00% 16.70% 0.00% 4.5 5.1 6.41 0
Eric Stults 2 3 0 8 8 39.1 4.35 1.6 1.83 0.345 76.20% 39.70% 15.70% 5.03 5.32 4.36 -0.5

Haha, Kevin Quackenbush.

Friday, May 16, 6:40 PM MDT: Eric Stults vs. Jorge De La Rosa

Saturday, May 17, 6:10 PM MDT: Robbie Erlin vs. Jordan Lyles

Sunday, May 18, 2:10 PM MDT: Andrew Cashner vs. Juan Nicasio

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker