Thursday, September 09, 2010

Where Are They Now? The 2009 Italian WBC Team: Part 1

Connecticut native Chris Denorfia was easily the player whose 2009 World Baseball Classic performance stood out the most to me. He played a very good center field and was 4-for-10 with three doubles at the plate. Italy scored just seven runs in their three WBC games, with Denorfia scoring two and driving in another pair. This didn't translate into success in professional baseball, however. The 28-year old spent almost the entire 2009 season at the Oakland Athletics' AAA affiliate, Sacramento, batting .271 with 9 HR, 49 RBI, 15 SB and 62 runs.

Signed by San Diego in the off-season and called up to the big club in May, he has made the most of his major league opportunities with the National League's top team this year. Aided in part by injuries to Scott Hairston and Tony Gwynn Jr., but mostly due to his own performance, Denorfia has seized the starting center field position and been a key contributor to the Padres' surprising season. Prior to games of September 2, he was hitting .281 with 9 HR, 35 RBI, 6 SB and 38 runs in 76 games.

Denorfia is a solid all-around player, but pretty much a career minor leaguer until this year. Already reaching his 30th birthday in July, there's not a lot of upside for Chris's major league career, although it appears there's potential he could settle into the role of solid fourth outfielder for several more years.

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