San Diego Padres 2013 Season Preview: The Outfielders

Jake Roth USA Today Sports

The San Diego Padres will begin the 2013 season with six outfielders on their roster. All six outfielders will be familiar to Padre fans as they were all with the team last year as well.

Right Field: Will Venable will start in right field when a right-handed pitcher is on the mound for the opposition. Venable has now played in parts of five different seasons going back to the 2008 season. At 31-years-old, Venable is at a point in his career where he needs to advance to the next level or the franchise needs to turn the page on him. Venable is a .253 career hitter and has never had higher totals in a single season than 13 home runs and 51 RBI. This spring, Venable hit a disappointing .200 in 63 appearances at the plate with three home runs.

Chris Denorfia figures to see time in right field when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound or possibly if Venable goes into a prolonged slump. Denorfia hit .293 last season in 130 games for the Padres while playing all three outfield positions but primarily right field. This spring, Denorfia is hitting .290 and while he does not hit the ball out of the park much (zero home runs this spring and eight in 2012), he is a solid fourth outfielder who can play all three outfield position if need be.

Center Field: Cameron Maybin had a terrible first half in 2012 but a much improved second half after changing his batting stance last July. Maybin had a solid spring, batting .317  while slugging .488 with a .837 OPS. He is a solid defender who has the ability to patrol Petco Park’s spacious center field and track down balls with ease.  The Padres are looking for Maybin to continue the progress he has shown since the second half of last season.

Left Field: Carlos Quentin battled a balky right knee which left him sidelined for much of this spring. Quentin is being counted on to bring power to the lineup, but with only 11 spring training at bats with the parent club, questions still remain as to what his mobility will be in the outfield and his overall durability. In 2012, Quentin hit 16 home runs and had 46 RBI in 284 at bats. The Padres need him to stay healthy.

Mark Kotsay is back for 2013. Kotsay is a Bud Black favorite and brings a veteran presence to the outfield as well as the clubhouse. Kotsay hit only .259 last season, but had an outstanding spring this year. Kotsay hit .441 and slugged .647 with an OPS of 1.171. This unexpected performance may get Kotsay some at bats early in the season as a pinch hitter to see if he can continue his hot bat.

Jesus Guzman has the ability to play right field, left field, second base and even first base. In 2012, Guzman hit .247 with nine home runs and 48 RBI in 287 at bats while playing in 120 games. Guzman enjoyed a great spring this year batting .325, slugging .700 with an OPS of 1.104. As hot as Guzman has been this spring, Black will try to get his bat into the lineup if he can.

San Diego will need Quentin to stay healthy to provide a consistent power source and Maybin to continue his progress at the plate if they want to be be a viable force in the National League West this season.

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