Chase Headley is a third basemen for the San Diego Padres. His 2011 Topps baseball card reminds fans that just about a year ago, June 10, 2010, Headley started the rare triple play, a triple play he called, “The most routine one I’ve ever seen.” Yup, just your average 5-4-3 triple play. Happens all the time. Maybe not, but that’s that kind of guy that Headley is, he just goes out there and does his job and makes things happen. And he’s out there almost every day. Since becomming a regular in 2009, Headley has played 156 and 161 the past two seasons. In 2011 Headley looks like an iron man again, missing just one game heading into this series against the Minnesota Twins.
In preparation for this Padres series I spent a couple of days last week watching the Padres and here is what I’ve seen from Headley: a switch hitter who does a pretty good job hitting balls on the outside of the plate, has a good eye for balls off the outside of the plate, and struggles to hit balls off the plate on the inside. He hits for a fairly high average and he can steal a base here and there. As a righty he has a tendency to pull the ball down the left field line, but as hitting as a lefty he does a pretty good job of spreading the ball around, with plenty of opposite field hits out to left field. He should keep the Twins corner outfields busy, whoever Gardenhire decides to put out there (Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, Ben Revere, Jason Repko). Headley just turned 27 this past May so Headley still has a lot of productive baseball in front of him if he can continue to stay healthy.
Along with what I saw personally, Baseball Reference compares Headley favorably to Lastings Milledge and Luis Matos, so he isn’t going to be GREAT, but he’s serviceable as a National League third basement.
The Twins will luck out here sending Brian Duensing (Friday) and Francisco Liriano (Sunday) to the mound as Headley struggles mightily against LHP. He is hitting just .250 against left handers and his OPS is nearly 150 points lower, so the Twins should have success. Having played exclusively in the National League Headley has not faced either Duensing or Liriano. Scott Baker will really have to pick his spots on Saturday to stay ahead of Headley, and even pitch up in the zone as Headly struggles on pitches up above the belt and chases a lot of high fastballs. In just 3 ABs against Baker, Headly is 1-3 with a double and a strikeout.