The San Diego Padres promoted minor league veteran Ryan Schimpf to the major league roster on June 14th. He's gone 2-for-7 with a double and an RBI in his first two MLB contests. Schimpf wasn't on prospect lists pre-season but he's a rookie and he's in the majors, so here he is as part of our 2016 MLB Rookie Report series.
Schimpf was not an obscure amateur: he was a regular for Louisiana State University in 2008 and 2009 and with some pretty big offensive output: hitting .320/.416/.592 in '08 and .336/.449/.668 in '09, hitting 38 homers in his 182 game college career. Despite the gaudy stats scouts were a tad skeptical due to his size (5-8, 180) and questions about his defense. He was drafted in the fifth round by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Injuries hampered Schimpf in the Jays system, limiting him to 57 games in 2011 in the worst case. He showed power, hitting 10 homers that year and 22 more in 2012 but fell behind on the depth charts due to problems in the batting average department. He eventually figured out Double-A but never got the bat going in Triple-A, hitting just .189 for Buffalo in 2014 and .200 in 2015.
The Padres picked him up as a minor league free agent for 2016 and the switch in organizations was helpful: he hit .355/.432/.729 for Triple-A El Paso before his promotion with 15 homers, 21 walks, and 33 strikeouts in 166 at-bats. Yes, this is the Pacific Coast League and El Paso is a much friendlier place to hit than Buffalo, but the Padres needed a bat, Schimpf is mashing, and this was the best run of hitting he's done since college. Give him a shot.
Schimpf is a left-handed hitter born April 11, 1988. He is too old to be a classic prospect at age 28, but his power from the left side is intriguing and he's always shown a good walk rate even when struggling to hit for average. A second baseman earlier in his career, he played all positions except center field and catcher for El Paso. Third base is his best slot, where he shows a decent arm and more range than you may expect.
He isn't going to hit .300 and perhaps not .250, but Schimpf's combination of left-side pop and defensive versatility could make him a solid role player.