Jose Pirela has come out of the gates on fire for the Padres. Has he done enough to now be a must-add off the waiver wire?
The Padres have remained competitive even though they lack a ton of major league talent. We touched on one intriguing Padre earlier this week, and there is quietly another quality producer donning a San Diego uniform. Jose Pirela is on fire right now for the Padres, and after having solid success in 2017, should he now be a waiver wire add?
Jose Pirela is starting to fit the mold as a fantasy “late bloomer”. After never really getting a full-time shot for the Yankees, Pirela has found new life as he approaches 30 years old. He ended the 2017 season with a career-best, .288/10 HR/40 RBI/.837 OPS, line over 83 games.
While he was off fantasy radars as it appeared he was a man without a position, injuries to the Padres’ outfield, allowed Pirela to run away with the left field job and he has proven to be San Diego’s best hitter. He is even now being slotted atop the order after posting a .324/10 RBI/2 SB/.824 OPS line over 17 games.
He has not homered, but leads the NL in triples and in hits, and has notched seven doubles. Even though he still holds a high 56% GB rate, his 18% LD rate is respectable, and his 39% Hard contact rate is one of the best in the league.
Combine that with the 21% LD, 47% Med and 34% Hard contact rates from 2017, and it further builds the case that Pirela has no problem squaring the ball up. The power is probably capped at 15 HR, but if he can get the GB rate down, that is certainly a number that he can hit this season.
The counting stats atop the Padres’ order may not jump off the table, but he gets his at-bats and having the likes of Eric Hosmer behind him is not the worst set-up. He has also pitched in two steals as well in 2018. He stole four bases last season and has a 30 SB campaign under his belt, so the moderate SB numbers are there as well.
Jose Pirela will not post a season that jumps off the page. Yet, he is a waiver wire add that will not hurt owners in any category and can stabilize a lineup that has batting AVG or counting stat weakness. He has shown the ability to hit the ball, and hit it well, over a big enough sample size to believe in him.
Make the move.