Tough Break for Headley, Opportunity Knocks for Darnell
With Chase Headley going down to have surgery on his fractured finger, it has been speculated he could possibly be out for the rest of the year. So, the question arouse, who would replace him? I speculated that James Darnell, a natural third baseman could be the guy given the organizational depth, and internal questions regarding other options such as Logan Forsythe or Jesus Guzman, either defensively or how the Padres may view a particular player’s future in the organization.
Headley, now officially on the disabled list after injuring his finger sliding into second on a stolen base attempt. The Padres did in fact call up third base prospect James Darnell. It was first reported by Corey Brock that Darnell took a redeye flight to meet the team in New York.
So, who is James Darnell? If you don’t already know who he is, you should.
James Darnell is very athletic. Athletic enough to play a corner outfield spot which is what some scouts have suggested for the last couple of years. He recently has seen action between AA-AAA this year in the outfield for the first time. He has average speed, but has a bat that should translate anywhere on a baseball diamond. He has played first base, corner outfield and his primary position third base.
Being right handed could be more attractive moving forward than players such as, Chase Headley or Jedd Gyorko who may both have a leg up on Darnell in the long term scheme of things. Obviously Headley could be a mainstay in Petco park. However, being that he has adjusted his approach for Petco, (trying to hit singles) may not appeal to the new regime coming from a premium power position, third base. Gyroko seems high on most prospect lists and has been touted by the new regime. I believe he’s their favorite. Having said that, Darnell is a versatile player, and with Headley’s possible season ending injury to his pinky finger (fracture) he could see significant time to display his skills on the highest level.
The consensus on Darnell’s ‘tools’, suggest he possesses solid power, more doubles pop, versus a legitimate Homerun threat (25-30 HR). He has an athletic strong frame, (6’2″-200) accompanied with a good eye, allowing him to have the discipline that will enable him to hit for a high average and hit double digit Homerun totals, possibly 20. Very good mechanics at the plate. He has a strong arm. His defense is a work in progress, and as I mentioned before. He has played multiple positions this year, making it hard for any player to focus on their primary position. However, getting his bat to the big leagues seems to be the path for players who are blocked in the Padres organization.
Padre fans have seen Blanks and Headley, to name a couple move to different positions for their bats. Not uncommon on the MLB level. The new regime is very outspoken about having their players versatile, and surely does not hurt their value as a player or trade bait moving forward if they do not fit the Padres philosophy. I know some people would love to keep Jesus Guzman’s bat in the lineup, and so would I. However, moving forward with the Padres true prospects whom the padres covet such as,