SAN DIEGO—The results were mostly subpar—a .157/.224/.329 line with two home runs in 16 games—but outfielder Michael Gettys welcomed the chance to work in the Arizona Fall League.
“It’s been a good experience so far,” Gettys, a 2014 second-round pick, told MLB.com. “I’m playing against great players every day. You won’t see better competition until you get to the big leagues.”
The 21-year-old former Georgia prep is coming off his best season as a pro. True to draft projections that he could be an impact player, Gettys outperformed older competition at both low Class A Fort Wayne and high Class A Lake Elsinore this year, combining for a .305/.363/.442 line in 128 games. He hit 12 home runs and is in position to begin the 2017 season at Double-A San Antonio.
“I just want to get better in every aspect of the game,” he said. “Hopefully, I go to Double-A next year, but we’ll see what happens.”
Gettys also stole 33 bases in 49 attempts (67 percent) and earned solid marks for his work in center field, where he appeared in 121 games and amassed 16 assists against five errors.
Gettys rebounded from a difficult 2015 season in which he hit .213/.271/.346 with six homers at Fort Wayne.
The progress from Gettys gives the Padres another advanced center-field prospect to go with Manuel Margot, who had a fine season at Triple-A El Paso and joined the Padres in September.
Homegrown Padres center fielder Travis Jankowski, drafted 44th overall in 2012 out of Stony Brook, will serve as competition for Margot and perhaps Gettys down the road for the starting job.
Jankowski ranks as a fine defensive outfielder, though he slugged just .313 and struck out more than a quarter of the time in 2016, which could make him replaceable if he doesn’t improve offensively.
• Second baseman Josh VanMeter, a 21-year-old who finished the season at Double-A San Antonio, ranked fourth in the AFL with 17 walks.
• In the Dominican League, Margot (.277 with six steals) and second baseman Carlos Asuaje (.241 with 10 RBIs in 21 games) gained more experience that could help in 2017.