After an awful month of April, which saw him hit .167, Peter Ciofrone became the player the Padres had hoped upon his acquisition from the Boston Red Sox for Brandon Puffer last year.
From May through August, Ciofrone swatted at a .342 clip with an on base percentage of .415, becoming the epitome of something the Padres’ system has lacked in recent years – a productive hitter. It is safe to say he has boosted his status as a prospect within the system, especially with new Director of Player Development Grady Fuson in charge:
“He can hit. He is a poster child for what I want to teach in this organization.
“I am going to stress offense a lot coming here. The lack of really good offensive players that this organization has lacked in developing.”
Ciofrone entered the year with four homers under his minor league belt in 182 games and bested that total by one in 102 games this past year. But the impressive statistics that came into play was really his ability to put the ball in play consistently where fielders were not. The Padres believe he will continue to develop more pop in his bat and his ability to get on base is an organizational asset.
A left-hand hitter, he excelled in pressure situations. With runners in scoring position he batted .363 and with runners on base and two outs he hit .387. He had 33 multi-hit games and 14 games with three hits or more.
“He has the ability to get on base,” said former Director of Player Development Tye Waller. “When you look at the complete player you want guys who can do a number of things.”
He also added seven steals this season after entering the year with six total.
Hamstring injuries and a knee sprain caused Ciofrone to miss several weeks during the year but it never affected his play at the dish.
One problem facing Ciofrone is his lack of position. He has played at every position on the infield except pitcher and catcher with varying degrees of success. Ironically, he was a four-time Gold Glove award winner during his high school days in Long Island, New York (Smithtown) - the same school that produced Frank Catalanotto and Jim Mecir. The problem has been footwork in the field and perhaps a bit of misconception about his abilities, something the Padres and Ciofrone hope to rectify.
“Solidify a position,” Fuson said of the plan for next year. “There isn’t really a position for him.”
And what will it take to find a spot for him?
“Me getting my eyes around him a little more and seeing what he did in the off-season and then fitting him in.”
Given his lack of position at this moment in time, Ciofrone will have to continue to hit as he moves forward and more importantly make believers out of the Padres’ staff in his fielding ability.