His coach says he is “maybe the most feared hitter in the Northwest League.” He’s shown consistent ability at the plate and in the field.
Yet Hawks third baseman Kevin Padlo has yet to get a call to the next level — what gives?
“I know it’ll work out in the end,” said Padlo, who is hitting .313 in 54 games. “I just have to keep it up, and if I do, I’ll get my chance, so no reason to stress about it.”
Numbers show that he’s on the fast track, with the third-best batting average in the league, second-most home runs (eight), second-most steals (29) and the top OPS (on-base plus slugging, .950).
For good measure, he also flashes a nice glove at the hot corner.
“He’s 19 years old, and at the end of the day, the last thing we want is for him to have to come back,” Hawks manager Frank Gonzales said. “When he moves, we want him to stay there and keep going up.”
Part of the reason Padlo has yet to move up is the fact the next step in the Colorado Rockies’ system is full-season Single-A Asheville (N.C.), where third baseman Shane Hoelscher is hitting .323 with 10 home runs.
Padlo started the season in Asheville, but hit .145 in 27 games.
“I was disappointed when I got sent down, but it turned out to the be best thing for me, because it gave me a chance to get my timing down, get my confidence up,” Padlo said
An 11-game hitting streak ended Monday, but Padlo has reached base in 12 straight games. He said one of his goals is “a hit everyday.”
He did not play Wednesday, getting a well-earned rest, but is expected back Thursday in Hillsboro, Ore.
“He’s learning a lot here, and he’s maintaining his offense while working on defense to become an all-around player,” Gonzales said. “There’s never been any sulking that he’s still here. That’s really stood out, how mature he’s been, especially at his age. He’s going to be a special player — he already is, really.”
With 17 games remaining, Padlo’s slugging percentage (.535) and stolen bases would be good for fourth in team history. Rickey Henderson also had 29 steals in 1976. Yes, that one.
“When we score 3, 4, 5 runs, he’s in the middle of that — he carries us, he’s awesome,” Gonzales said.
As with any minor-league baseball player, Padlo of course hopes to move up, but said he understands a bit of patience is needed.
He also has experienced being sent down, so prefers to be in a spot to work on his game daily to stay at the next level up.
“It’s not a big deal, I know there’s a plan for me, just have to keep working hard, see where it goes from here,” Padlo said.
HAWKS FALL TO EUGENE
Boise dropped the rubber match of its three-game series against Eugene, 11-5, at Memorial Stadium.
Boise (20-39) never got within three runs in the game, yielding 18 hits. Eugene (29-30) jumped out to a lead it never relinquished with five runs in the top of the first inning. Tyler Follis, Brian Mundell and Carlos Herrera had two hits apiece for the Hawks, who were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
The Hawks finish out the month with 11 straight road games — their annual fair-induced road trip. They finish the regular season with six straight home games, starting Sept. 1.
EMERALDS 11, HAWKS 5
E—Jimenez, Mineo, Alamo, C.Herrera, Mundell. LOB—Eugene 12, Boise 9. 2B—Dewees, Whiting, Delarosa, Mineo, R.Marcano, Mundell. SF—L.Castro. SB—Whiting, Delarosa, Derkes, L.Castro. CS—Dewees.
|J.Paulino W, 2-6||5||3||1||1||1||4||4.47|
|J.Palacios L, 3-3||4||9||6||1||0||1||3.07|
WP—Cozart. PB—W.Jimenez. HBP—by H.Jones (Machin), by J.Paulino (Follis). Balk—Steele, Cozart. T—3:30. A—3,066.