"I think Drew is going to play in the big leagues," Bill Bryk, the Padres' minor league field coordinator, admitted. "It will be up to his bat whether he is a fourth outfielder or starter. He is not a flyer; he is actually an average runner but he is a very good outfielder. Drew has outstanding makeup."
"He commands the outfield well," added former Padres director of player development Tye Waller.
As good as his defense is, his bat continues to emerge. What was once a deficient part of his game has increasingly become a positive.
"I worked with our hitting coach a lot (Tom Tornicasa) and whenever I would work with him I would kick butt," explained Macias. "It would last a week and Torny would get on me and say, ‘Here we go again.'"
Macias, batting in the lower half of the order for much of the year, knocked in 66 runs and scored 79, both career-highs. He was also among the best at hitting with runners in scoring position (RISP), batting .302 in 139 at bats and he elevated his numbers to .368 with RISP and two outs.
There was no significant dropoff in his production at the plate in the final month of the season, as in the previous year with Fort Wayne. His walk and strikeout totals remained the same compared to previous years and there is room for improvement to that end.
One concerning part of his game is his work on the basepaths. He stole 15 bases but was also caught 15 times and has been nabbed 29 times in his last 60 attempts at thievery. He is a tick above average speed-wise but has trouble reading pitchers properly on stolen base attempts.
"Line drives, singles doubles," added Bryk. "If he adds a little more power than we might have a big league starter."
The Padres have asked Macias to gain 15 pounds this off-season. The hope is he can increase his power output from the 35 extra base hits he had in Lake Elsinore. The challenge will be maintaining a weight he has never carried and its effect on his defensive play.
For a 35th round pick, Macias has turned into a productive minor league player. There are aspects of his game that need refinement but he can become a Major League player – whether as a fourth outfielder or a starter is yet to be determined.
It will be interesting to see how the added weight affects his frame and whether he loses any of the trademark hustle. There is also a difference between good weight and bad weight – which one will Macias add, especially considering it will be a weight he has never held before. Then there is the key of keeping the extra poundage on over a long season, conceivably in Mobile!