When Ryan Schimpf faltered as the everyday third baseman over the first two months of last season, Cory Spangenberg, who had been serving in a utility role in the infield and left field, seized control of the hot corner. After failing to impress over the prior three seasons when given an extended look by San Diego, Spangenberg held his own this time around, with his 13 homers and 11 steals in 486 plate appearances proving particularly useful. Spangenberg showed some aptitude as a base stealer in the minors, but his slugging contributions were less expected, considering he hadn't smacked more than four home runs in a season at any professional level. There's still reason to be skeptical of Spangenberg's power, as his barrel rate ranked in the 33rd percentile of players with at least 100 batted-ball events in 2017, while his 29.2 percent hard-hit rate wasn't special either. A 15-15 season could still be attainable for Spangenberg if he approaches 600 plate appearances, but don't count on much of a home-run spike beyond that.
Spangenberg (wrist) returned to action Saturday, going 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in a spring training win over Oakland. The utility man had missed some time after jamming his wrist in his spring debut back on Feb. 24. The fact that he was able to go yard bodes well for the health of his wrist. Spangenberg had somewhat of a breakout season in 2017 with 13 homers and 11 steals over 444 at-bats while seeing time all over the diamond, but primarily at the hot corner. With Chase Headley returning to San Diego, the 26-year-old is locked in a position battle with Carlos Asuaje for the starting second-base gig. While neither player will generate much fantasy buzz in standard formats, Spangenberg's double-digit power-speed combo would certainly be the friendlier asset for deeper leagues should he come out victorious this spring.
Spangenberg jammed his wrist over the weekend and won't play in games for a bit, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com reports. It's unclear exactly how the injury came to be, but it doesn't seem like an issue that will keep him out of commission for too long. However, wrist injuries can be troublesome for hitters if they linger, and Spangenberg won't have much wiggle room while competing for the second-base job in spring training. Consider Spangenberg day-to-day for the time being.
Padres manager Andy Green said that Spangenberg will battle Carlos Asuaje for the everyday role at second base in spring training Playing time was plentiful for both Asuaje and Spangenberg in the second half of last season while the latter logged most of his appearances at the hot corner, but the Padres' offseason pickup of Chase Headley appears to have closed an avenue to everyday at-bats at third base. With 13 home runs and 11 steals in less than 500 plate appearances last season, Spangenberg was a more fantasy-friendly option than Asauje, though the 26-year-old's inferior plate discipline occasionally made him more slump-prone. No matter who ends up coming away with the primary gig at the keystone, there's a decent chance Spangenberg and Asuaje are on the bench versus same-handed pitching after both sported sub-.200 averages against lefties last season. The versatile Jose Pirela could be the main beneficiary of added playing time at second base in those scenarios.
Spangenberg agreed to a one-year, $1.7 million deal with the Padres on Friday, avoiding arbitration. This was Spangenberg's first offseason as an arbitration-eligible player. The recent trade of Yangervis Solarte to Toronto should allow Spangenberg to see slightly more playing time this season, but he is still not a lock to see regular at-bats. He will compete with Carlos Asuaje for starts at second base, while top prospect Luis Urias could take over the everyday job at the keystone sometime this summer. Spangenberg enters his age-27 season after hitting 13 home runs with 11 steals and a .264 average in 486 plate appearances in 2017.
Spangenberg is not in the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Dodgers, Eric Stephen of TrueBlueLA.com reports. The Padres are sending out a right-handed heavy lineup with southpaw Rich Hill on the mound for the Dodgers, so Spangenberg will head to the bench for a second straight game. In his place, Christian Villanueva will start at third base and bat fifth.