Tool Time: Top Hitters for Average

As spring training rolls in for the San Diego Padres major league squad and the minors gets underway soon, MadFriars.com will take a look at the top five players in a number of categories. Today, we begin our "Tool Time" with best hitter for average in the system.

1. Cedric Hunter

After just one term in rookie ball and Instructs, Hunter has shown that few possess his innate abilities. He has so little movement in his swing and his balance is always on point.

Hunter has the best inside-out swing in the system, giving him full extension on any pitch. He can pound any pitch and learns and adapts on the fly.

2. Paul McAnulty

If there is anyone who is the benchmark for not wasting an at bat, McAnulty would be it. He goes up to the plate with a purpose and understands how he is being worked and adjusts to it as the game progresses.

McAnulty has a level swing and a quick bat. He is not fooled often and he has an incredible eye for recognizing pitches. Pitchers often fall victim to being overly confident against him and he will make them pay.

3. Will Venable

There is no one that can bring what he is taught on the sidelines to the field as quickly as Venable. His ability to learn, adapt, and translate place him among the elite.

Venable has a firm understanding of the strike zone and his fast wrists give him an explosion through the ball. While he is aggressive, he does not miss many pitches and has the strength to turn a pitcher's pitch into a base hit.

4. Luis Durango

The kid has led his respective league in hitting for two years straight and came close to leading the entire minors in batting last season. The competition may not be as fierce as it has for other members of the list but the feat is no less impressive.

Durango has a good eye, a solid approach and uses the opposite field well. He can also drop down a bunt and beat it out with his plus speed. Even balls he slaps to third base are a challenge for the fielder to execute properly or see his foot touch the bag before the ball hits the glove.

5. Javis Diaz

With the best two-strike approach in the system, Diaz can go with any pitch. His hand injury last year curtailed his potential but make no mistake – this kid will be lacing line drives to the gaps.

His bat speed is phenomenal and he pounds the ball into the ground to use his speed to his advantage. While Diaz is a solid bunter, he also has surprising pop for his size.

Also in consideration (alphabetical):

Matt Antonelli
A solid understanding of the strike zone and the ability to let a pitcher's pitch go allow him to drive his pitches.

Peter Ciofrone
Blessed with incredible bat control, Ciofrone can drop the bat head anywhere in the zone and get results.

David Freese
A quick, compact swing gives Freese the ability to hit balls on any side of the plate. He has great explosion out of his stance.

Chase Headley
Armed with a clean swing that allows him to get extension and stay inside the ball to drop balls to all parts of the field.

Chad Huffman
Extremely quick hands and an aggressive approach count for few wasted at bats. He knows what he wants to hit and often connects.


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