This afternoon, the Padres announced that Ryan Schimpf has been optioned to Triple-A El Paso. Relief pitcher José Valdez has been recalled, and will join the big league club for the second time this season since being claimed from the Angels in May.
Schimpf, who has started 83 games for the Padres this year, has slashed an interesting .158/.284/.424, providing 0.5 bWAR. While starting many conversations about launch angle and flyball rates, his walk rate (13.7%) hasn’t been high enough to overlook his 35.5% strikeout rate. For perspective, Hunter Renfroe has had a 12.7% walk rate and a .364 OBP since May 8th, while Schimpf has walked at a 8.2% rate and posted a .259 OBP in that time.
The Padres have had quite a few infielders move to the outfield to get playing time, including Allen Córdoba and José Pirela, so they could get creative with their lineups in the near future, but it’s a safe bet that Cory Spangenberg gets a good chunk of playing time in Schimpf’s absence. Spangenberg has had a rough season as well, with a .240/.262/.306 batting line, giving him a very low 52 wRC+. He posted a .733 OPS in 2015, the only season that he’s been able to stay healthy, so perhaps the Padres think he can regain and surpass that production if he is healthy this year.
Valdez will provide some relief to a bullpen that has thrown 17 innings in the last four games. In his one appearance for the Padres this year, he threw three scoreless innings, allowing two hits, a walk, and three strikeouts.
It was a brief stay to be sure, so there’s no telling how long Schimpf will be down in El Paso, even though manager Andy Green says he’s going down to Triple-A to “get hot again” (via Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune).