by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Padres have clearly started evaluating players to see if they could be part of the solution for 2014 and beyond. One such player is Tommy Medica, who has been manning first base of late (but is actually eligible at catcher in CBS formats). This is important to note, because whenever you get a catcher who is going to play everyday (like Mike Napoli or Victor Martinez), their value gets bumped up slightly due to extra opportunities.
Medica spent the bulk of his time at Double-A this season, hitting .296 with 18 HR and 57 RBI in just 280 AB. His .327 BABIP is not unreasonable, especially considering his 20.7% line drive rate (league average was 17.1%). Throw in a 20.9% strikeout rate, not an outrageous number, and the average is definitely promising.
You can question the power, though, at least a little bit. His 30.4% outfield fly ball rate doesn’t raise any red flags, but his 27.3% HR/OFB does.
While he did post a 19.2% mark at High Single-A in 2012 (19 HR in 356 AB), it’s still not enough to convince us. Especially calling Petco Park home, there’s reason to think the power could fall. The again, he’s still just 25-years old and had 20 doubles this season (and 37 in 2012), so maybe it is simply still developing.
Medica, a 14th round draft pick in 2010, was drafted as a catcher but has only seen five games behind the plate in the minors. He’s spent the majority of his time at first base (118) games), so it’s hard to imagine him suddenly thrust back into catching. Consider his catching eligibility a bonus for 2013.
He failed to make any of the major top prospect list heading into the season, but you would have to think that he’s finally caught people’s attention. He posted a .623 SLG in 2012 and owned a .582 mark at Double-A this year.
Through Sunday the numbers have also translated to the Majors. In 19 AB he slugged 2 HR while adding a double, hitting .316 in the process.
We obviously don’t draw conclusions off of such a small sample, but it’s clear that Medica is going to continue to get an opportunity to prove he can thrive in the Majors. For fantasy owners trying to win titles, that’s all we should really need. At this stage you have to ride the hot hand, so go and grab him in all formats.
Sources – Minor League Baseball, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference