Finding A Home for Christian Villanueva
This week, rookie third baseman Christian Villanueva made history by becoming only the fifth Padres rookie to homer in three straight games with his 2nd inning home run of Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Villanueva went 3-4 during the game and has hit safely in six straight games, raising his average to .340. The Mexican born third baseman is tied for fourth in all of Major League Baseball in home runs with 6 and is tied for seventh in the National League with 13 RBI’s. He currently has a 1.230 OPS (On base percentage + slugging) but does not have enough at bats to qualify as a league leader. However, if Villanueva continues to swing the bat the like this, his at bats will come. Villanueva has had a very interesting route to the majors.
Christian Villanueva was born in Guadalajara, Mexico on June 19th 1991. He was signed by the Texas Rangers as an international free agent in August of 2008 but was forced to miss the 2009 season with knee surgery and was eventually traded along with Kyle Hendricks to the Chicago Cubs for Ryan Dempster in 2012.
Villanueva found himself blocked in the organization by USD Alum Kris Bryant and continued to battle injuries, breaking his right fibula in Spring Training 2016. After being released by the Cubs, he signed a Minor League deal with the Padres and began the 2017 season at AAA El Paso. During the season at El Paso, Villanueva hit .296 with 20 home runs.
In September 2017, Villanueva was promoted to the Padres and made his MLB debut on September 18th, 2017. In 2017, he went on to play in 12 games for San Diego, batting .344 with four home runs. After a crazy road to the majors, it seems that Villanueva has found his place at Petco Park.
The Padres currently sit at 7-13 and are in the cellar of the NL West. This is despite winning three of four games last weekend vs the Giants. The Friars were unable to take that momentum into their weekday series with the Dodgers as they were swept, despite rallying back from a two run deficit in the 9th inning on Tuesday night. Trailing 3-1, Eric Hosmer homered to cut the Dodgers lead to 3-2 and after a long Villanueva flyout, Chase Headley doubled with two outs to tie the game. However, the Padres would go on to lose in 12 innings.
San Diego will now hit the road for its next two series. First the team will head to Arizona for a three game weekend series with the Diamondbacks, and then will travel to Denver to take on the Rockies. Tyson Ross (2-1 3.50 ERA) will start on Friday and Clayton Richard (5.73 ERA) will take the ball on Saturday.
Roster News: RHP Luis Perdomo was optioned down to AAA today and RHP Kirby Yates will be reinstated from the 10-day DL tomorrow.