On a weekend that both Bryce Harper and Michael Trout – the two top outfield prospects in the game – were called up from the minor leagues, don’t overlook the move San Diego made in recalling Blake Tekotte.
You’re not going to find Tekotte’s name on any top-prospect lists. Baseball Tonight and MLB Network aren’t going to dedicate time on their daily reels every time he singles to right field. And, it’s a safe bet Tekotte won’t go on to achieve the perennial All-Star status expected of Harper and Trout.
Still, there are reasons to love Tekotte. The reason I do is he was the unsung third man of a collegiate Big Three. Tekotte was the leadoff hitter for the 2008 Miami Hurricanes team that also featured Jemile Weeks and Yonder Alonso. In fact, the trio batted 1-2-3 in the lineup, combining for 50 home runs on the year.
Alonso, with 24 homers, was the outright slugger on the team, though he once joked that in batting practice, Weeks would often claim to be the best power hitter in the lineup. Meanwhile, Tekotte was putting up a spectacular under-the-radar season, leading the Hurricanes with 88 hits, 27 steals, and an eye-catching 12 hit by pitches.
Yet, while Alonso and Weeks were each selected in the first round of the 2008 draft, Tekotte didn’t go until round three. Since then, he’s been the same under-the-radar presence he’s always been – steadily climbing the Padres’ organizational ladder, while average 30 steals per year, while proving himself as a legitimate professional center fielder.
Alonso and Tekotte have since been reunited, following the offseason trade that sent ace right-hander Mat Latos to the Reds in exchange for a ransom of prospects, including Alonso. And, if the Padres outfield continues to scuffle – Jesus Guzman, Cameron Maybin, and Will Venable are hitting a combined .215 on the year – don’t be surprised if Tekotte starts claiming some regular playing time in San Diego.