The Padres announced they’ve selected infielder Matthew Batten onto the big league roster. Fellow infielder Sergio Alcántara has been designated for assignment to clear active and 40-man roster space.
Batten, who turned 27 last week, is in the major leagues for the first time. The Friars selected the 5’11” infielder in the 32nd round of the 2017 draft out of Quinnipiac University. Despite lacking draft or prospect pedigree, he’s played his way to the big leagues with a productive five-year showing in the minors. Batten is a .286/.368/.401 hitter in 420 minor league games, and he’s amidst a breakout 2022 campaign.
The Connecticut native has spent the entire season with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate in El Paso. Through 264 trips to the plate, he’s hitting .299/.399/.504 with ten home runs. Batten has walked at an excellent 13.6% clip while striking out in a lower-than-average 19.7% of his trips, and he’s chipped in 13 stolen bases. El Paso is a hitter-friendly environment, but that level of production was eye-opening enough for the front office to give him an opportunity nevertheless.
Batten has a fair bit of minor league experience at each of second base, third base and shortstop. He’s seen sporadic time at first base and throughout the outfield as well, and he figures to serve a multi-positional bench role for manager Bob Melvin. That role had been filled of late by Alcántara, but he’ll lose his spot amidst a rough season at the plate.
The Padres claimed Alcántara off waivers from the division-rival Diamondbacks in early May. The out-of-options infielder stuck on the active roster and appeared in 22 games, but he offered very little offensive production during his limited at-bats. Alcántara had also struggled during his early-season stint in Arizona, and he carries just a .159/.183/.239 season line. Over a career-high 255 plate appearances with the Cubs last year, the 25-year-old (26 next month) posted a .205/.303/.327 showing.
Despite lacking much offensive punch, Alcántara has suited up for four different teams over the past three years. A highly-regarded defensive infielder, he’s capable of playing anywhere on the dirt and has drawn strong reviews from public defensive metrics for his shortstop play. The Friars will have a week to trade the defensive specialist or place him on waivers.
Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Batten’s promotion before the team announcement.