The Padres are in the midst of a lost season - or, perhaps more accurately, a lost year. Less than a year after going all-in for the 2015 season, general manager A.J. Preller and Co. made an about-face and began stripping the 25-man roster of most anything of value. They opted to let Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton walk, and dealt Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel for prospects on back-to-back days in November. On June 4 of this year, they dealt James Shields to the White Sox, and over the next eight weeks Fernando Rodney, Drew Pomeranz, Melvin Upton, Andrew Cashner, and Matt Kemp were sent packing. The word “rebuilding” feels a bit too light.
As a result of these machinations, the Padres have gradually given more and more playing time to various rookies and retreads, as the games have to be played. And while they cannot hope to sniff the playoffs this season, they nevertheless have a trio of young(-ish) players that could help your fantasy team down the stretch.
Alex Dickerson has been kicking around in the minors since 2011, when he was drafted in the third round by the Pirates. He was never confused with a top prospect due to his tweener profile, but he has always had the ability to put the bat on the ball, and enough power to knock double-digit home runs. Dickerson is better against right-handed pitching, which is no surprise, but he’s not impotent against southpaws - and the Padres have been playing him almost every day since the end of June. He’s currently hitting .270/.311/.504 with 20 R, 7 HR, 26 RBI, and 3 SB in 148 PA this season, though he has slumped a bit in the last ten days, and is owned in just 13% of Yahoo! leagues.
Travis Jankowski was a supplemental first round pick in 2012, and has slowly but surely worked his way to the Majors. He falls into the dreaded (for our purposes) “better in real life than fantasy” category, as his terrific defense does not offset his utter lack of power. What he does offer, however, is excellent speed - his 26 steals are tied for seventh in all of baseball, despite the fact that he has only accumulated 252 PA. Jankowski is batting .263/.372/.338 on the year, with 43 R, 1 HR, and 8 RBI, and he’s been a borderline regular in the lineup since mid-June. The lack of power makes him a bit of a drain in both HR and RBI, but he’s an asset in leagues that utilize OBP, and his runs and steals would help in any format. He’s owned in 19% of Yahoo! leagues.
And then there’s Ryan Schimpf. The 28-year-old rookie has been toiling in the minors since 2009, having been drafted in the fifth round of that year’s draft. He has long been limited by his subpar hit tool, and his .217 average this year is certainly an eyesore. However, Schimpf’s power and willingness to work the count has never been in doubt, and so his .217/.346/.535 slash line is 33% above-average by wRC+. He has played in 52 of his team’s 55 games since being called-up, and has racked up 28 runs, 12 home runs, and 29 RBI in just 191 PA. Schimpf qualifies at both second and third in most fantasy leagues, and he ranks in the upper-third at both positions in R, HR, and RBI since making his big league debut. It may be difficult to work his bat into a fantasy lineup given that average, but he is an asset in three categories nevertheless - and he’s owned in 13% of Yahoo! leagues.
All told, these three players have plenty of flaws, and none are likely to make or break a season. However, they all offer value in multiple categories, and could help a team in need of a couple of steals or home runs get a leg up on the competition. And for a trio of 25-plus year-old rookies, it’s difficult to ask for much more.