With the thirteenth pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, the San Diego Padres added a toolsy talent to their outfield in the form of Mississippi State’s right fielder Hunter Renfroe.
A power hitter with a big swing and lackluster contact, Renfroe has the bat to go the distance early and often at Petco Park, evidenced by his 15 homers last season. The former Bulldog, though, has struggled with making contact throughout his collegiate career, and tends to strike out more often than the Padres will like. Despite his deficiencies at the plate, Renfroe has outstanding patience and will get the occasional walk.
Another outstanding part of his game is his defense, which is exceptional considering he made the switch from catcher to outfield before his junior season. Renfroe has a big arm and the accuracy to make all the throws from right field. Baseball America even went as far as rating him the top corner outfield prospect of the 2013 class.
Renfroe had almost missed out on his opportunity in the majors after sitting the majority of his freshman season at Mississippi State and struggling as a sophomore. A bounce-back junior campaign (.352 average, 15 HRs, 58 RBIs), though, got him back on the MLB radar and landed him with the Padres at No. 13 overall.
It’s going to take some time for Renfroe to adjust to the speed and complexity of MLB pitching. With a couple years to develop in the minors, he should become a reliable contributor for the Padres with a decent batting average.