PEORIA, Ariz. — On a back field at the Peoria Sports Complex on Saturday, Manny Machado, Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer had just finished turning their first around-the-horn double play together. As third-base coach Glenn Hoffman reached into his bag of baseballs, he made an astute observation.
“That’s gold!” he shouted, hitting another fun go, this time toward shortstop. “We’ve got some gold in this infield!”
A lot of gold, in fact. Scattered among the trio are eight Gold Glove Awards — four for Hosmer and two apiece for Machado and Kinsler.
“It’s a really good infield, man,” Hosmer said. “The guys have the credentials to back it up.”
Defense might be the calling card. But the offense isn’t far behind either. Hosmer and Kinsler are coming off down years, by their lofty standards. But Hosmer could be in line for a bounce-back season after some swing changes. Kinsler, meanwhile, will end up fighting for middle-infield playing time with top prospects Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Add Machado to the mix, and the Padres feel as though they suddenly boast one of the best infields. The entirety of that group is under control for a long time.
This season, the infield projects for 12.7 WAR, according to Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections. One Padres official mused that number seems low, in that it doesn’t account for a potential breakout season from Tatis.
No group of Padres infielders has combined for a WAR that high since 2004. When Tatis hits his stride — whether this season or in the future — it’s not difficult to envision the current group blowing well past that 12.7 mark.
It’s also worth pointing out the nature of the infield makeup. Hosmer, Machado and Kinsler have 28 years’ worth of big league experience among them. They’ve each played in a World Series and have combined for 10 playoff appearances.
This article brought to you courtesy of MLB News writer AJ Cassavell. Read the full article HERE.