The San Diego Padres are essentially out of contention, and are going quietly into the night in that regard. However, there is a bit of a bright spot for them as we head into the final stretch of the regular season, that will see them miss out on the playoffs once again.
A bright spot for the Padres this year has been the play of Will Venable. What started off as a rough year for the veteran has gotten better as the season has gone on, including an excellent month of August. Which has helped him to earn a new two-year contract extension to remain in San Diego.
Venable has had his ups and downs this year, but the second half of 2013 has featured significantly more in the ‘up’ department. Including this extension, which buys out his arbitration years, Venable has been one of the more productive hitters you’ll find anywhere in the league over this last stretch.
Venable’s numbers on the season are as good as we’ve seen in his career. Definitely fitting the definition of a late bloomer, Venable has hit 20 home runs, a rarity at the pitcher’s paradise that is Petco Park, and has maintained a .272 average, both of which are career marks.
After a rough April, which saw him hit just barely over the Mendoza line, Venable picked it up as the season progressed. He hit over .300 in July, before finishing that up with a torrid August. He hit .367 for the month, maintained an on-base percentage near .400. His strikeout rate is higher than you’d like to see, and his walk rate is lower, but with production like that, those figures don’t mean as much.
Venable has certainly earned an extended stay in San Diego. He’s 30 years old, but is a piece to build on for a Padres team that is going to be headed into 2014 looking to avoid finishing under .500 for the fourth straight season. If they get production like this from him moving forward, it’ll go a long way towards improving their fortunes in the standings.