If asked to name the three most important players on the San Diego Padres roster, the opinions may vary among the players, but I would be willing to bet the name Carlos Quentin would come up in almost every top three listed.
One of the poster boys for the being a great player but can’t stay healthy club, Quentin has spent the last two seasons playing for the Padres. If you feel like getting a little petty — which I will for the sake of this article — Quentin’s 156 missed games over the last two seasons almost makes it feel like he’s actually only been around for one season because that’s almost a full season’s worth of missed games.
No knock on Quentin because injuries happen, and more often than not they’re unpreventable — but the fact that his injuries are noteworthy enough to speak on to this extent speaks volumes about his impact on this Padres ball club.
I’m big on skill-set, and Quentin’s ability to hit for power while maintaining a nice average and on-base percentage when truly healthy is an attribute that runs few and far between throughout the Padres organization .
In 2008 while with the Chicago White Sox, Quentin’s 88 at-bats were a career high and he finished that season with 36 home runs, 100 RBIs and produced a .288 on-base percentage. That’s what he’s capable of when he’s healthy.
No other current Padres player besides Chase Headley has ever hit 30 home runs in a season before, and in Headley’s case he himself has never hit more than 13 home runs in any other season in his seven seasons in the big leagues. Quentin has hit 20 or more home runs all four of his seasons in which he had 350 or more at-bats.
Now that you get the idea. Quentin entered this spring training coming off yet another surgery and has struggled mightily at the plate thus far. Quentin’s hit-less day at the plate in Thursday’s 8-0 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers left his batting average sitting at an even .100
After homering in his first taste of spring action on Mar. 4 — a great sign by the way — Quentin has gone hit-less in his last three games. While you always want to see your favorite players hit well, I would advise Padres fans to not worry about his struggles, because in all honesty they should be expected and looked at as a blessing in disguise.
How you ask? Well Quentin is working on a new batting stance that will alleviate pressure off of his oft-injured knees. Padres hitting Coach Phil Plantier spoke with team’s broadcaster’s during Thursday’s game on how huge keeping Quentin on the field is for the Padres and how hard he’s worked to make adjustments to do just that.
Plantier also spoke on the plan to use Quentin just enough for him to stay sharp but decrease wear and tear on his body, which I feel is a smart decision. What I gathered from the conversation is that we might not see Quentin that much during the spring, and when we do, he might struggle as he gets used to his new batting stance.
Honestly, Quentin might struggle into the regular season as well — but in my opinion him struggling early in an effort to find success doing things in a way that would help prevent missed games is a tradeoff that Padres’ fans should be happy about.