PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 10: U.S. Futures All-Star James Darnell #10 of the San Diego Padres looks on during the 2011 XM All-Star Futures Game at Chase Field on July 10, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Yesterday, the Padres announced that third baseman Chase Headley would need to be placed on the disabled list due to a fractured pinkie on his left hand, and in a related move, they've called up top prospect James Darnell to fill his roster spot.
The Padres have been using Logan Forsythe at third base for the past couple days, but I would expect Darnell to get a pretty sizable opportunity over the next couple weeks given how well he's hit in the minors this year. While splitting the season between Double-A and Triple-A, the 24-year-old Darnell has hit .317/.415/.573 with 29 doubles, 23 homers and a very solid 64-to-70 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
Questions still revolve around his defense, as some expect him to have to move off of third base somewhat soon, but it's hard to ignore his potential with the bat. It'll be interesting to see how the Padres deal with the gamut of hitters they have for next season: Headley, Darnell, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman should all be around next season, even though the Padres only can use them in left field and at first and third base.