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10/29/1982 (34 y, 3 m, 24 d)
2005 June Amateur Draft - Round: 7, Pick: 18, Overall: 218, Team: San Diego Padres
$1.5M / 1 Years (2016)
Venable was designated for assignment Thursday. (7/7/2016)
Contract Crowdsourcing 2015-16: Day 8 of 15
Carson Cistulli (FanGraphs)
San Francisco's Secret Home-Field Advantage
Eno Sarris (FanGraphs)
PTP'ers Who Could Become PTP'ers
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
Rearranging the Padres, By Popular Suggestion
Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs)
San Diego's Historically Tenuous Trio
Blake Murphy (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Gwynn Jr. isn’t the only son of a former big leaguer on the Padres. The son of Max followed up his 2008 debut with 200 additional plate appearances and a much-improved batting line. In fact, the two seasons look nothing alike. In 2008, he struck out 19% of the time and walked nearly 11%. In 2009, those numbers regressed to 30% and 8%, respectively. Venable is a lefty bat that can generate some pop: he hit 12 home runs in 226 Triple-A in plate appearances, then 12 more in 324 Major League plate appearances. Age-wise, his experience is misleading because he turned 27 last October and, as such, is essentially entering his prime.
The Year Ahead:
There’s not a ton that Venable is going to do especially well. He’ll hit for some average and pop, but in terms of one identifiable and marketable skill… there is not much hope. Venable is more suited for a corner outfield spot despite his so-so arm strength. He’s got a shot at a 15/15 home-run/stolen-base year, perhaps more if everything goes just right. At worst, he’ll be the left-handed part of a platoon next year, which does cut into his playing time a bit. If your best option for corner outfield production is Will Venable then you may be in some trouble. (R.J. Anderson)
Whenever he took the field, Venable was likely to contribute to one of your counting stats, but his rates were nothing to go wild about. Venable continued to show slightly above-average power, which is saying something for a hitter stuck in spacious Petco park. That much we expected. What we did not see coming, however, is the sudden outburst of stolen bases from the Princeton grad. While Venable showed stolen-base skills in Single- and Double-A ball, he hadn’t showcased them again until recently, swiping almost 30 bases this past season. Venable has always been an athlete, as he was an All-Ivy League player in basketball and baseball, so seeing him use his speed is a big plus for owners. He’s into the prime of his career now, and while that may mean more power, it doesn’t mean he’s magically going to learn how to hit the ball better. Venable’s inability to simply make contact is going to kill his batting average, no matter how fast he is or how many homers he can hit. If he can hit a mere .255, he’s worth having around as a third outfielder, or a bench option at the very least. (Zach Sanders)
The Quick Opinion:
Venable is a machine when it comes to counting stats, but he's going to hurt you in the batting-average category. If he can simply hit .255, he's worth having around.
Max Venable's son has the tools -- power, patience, speed and defense -- but has had a hard time putting them all together so far. Strikeouts have been part of the problem, as he's struck out in over a quarter of his Major League plate appearances so far. Even last year, when he made some improvement in that category (22.4%), his swinging strike rate was almost 40% worse than league average. We just can't expect a good batting average from Venable it seems. He'll still steal you close to 30 bases, and if he was ever moved out of San Diego's lefty-killer park, he might even hit you 20 home runs. But in San Diego, it looks like another year of the heavy side of a platoon, ten-ish home runs, thirty-ish stolen bases, and a poor batting average. That still has its' use in some leagues -- especially all ottoneu formats other than 4x4 --- even if the massive breakout is not coming. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
Forgive us all our unreasonable man-crushes. Venable still has all the tools, but another year of platooning and producing so-so results in a power-sapping park makes him less exciting.
Venable appears to have all the tools necessary to succeed at the major league level -- respectable power, moderate speed and solid plate discipline -- but the Padres continue to use him as a part-time player, likely a result of his .216 career average against left-handed pitching and the fact that Petco Park is a power-killer for lefty hitters. With strong defense and a solid on-base percentage, Venable did see his role increase somewhat in 2012 as he continued to improve both his strikeout and walk rates. He appeared in a career-best 148 games, but unfortunately, his power production remained relatively unchanged. Venable's biggest allure, at least until he earns a solo gig in the outfield, is his 20-plus stolen base potential, a mark he has reached in each of his last three seasons. However, deeper league owners and owners with both daily roster moves and immense dedication are likely to be the only ones able to take advantage of his four steals per month average. Unless those fences coming in have a huge impact on his power output. (Howard Bender)
The Quick Opinion:
Always a bridesmaid and never a bride, Venable continues to live in a platoon in the San Diego outfield thus sapping his fantasy value the way Petco saps his lefty power. Deeper league owners will enjoy his OBP and speed, but that's about all he offers in the fantasy game.
After four seasons of flying under the fantasy radar, Venable jumped into the limelight in 2013 with a very strong breakout season. For years he was a fairly well-kept secret. He never seemed to have a full time job, but was a virtual lock for roughly 10 home runs and 20-plus steals at a very reasonable cost. His average wasn't the greatest, and given the numbers he posted, with an average of just 413 plate appearances per season, there was little impact to be felt there in mixed leagues. Last season Venable played in more games than he had in any other season and not only did he swipe another 22 bases, but he hit also a career-best 22 home runs, pushing his isolated slugging percentage to .216, another career-high. The power increase and the improved work at the plate against lefties allowed him to stay in the lineup regularly and he will likely be listed as the team's starting right fielder walking into 2014. Fantasy owners should remain leery of Venable's power increase though, as there is very little evidence in his batted ball data that suggests it was a potential starting point rather than a fluke. The only real outlier is the spike in his home run per fly ball rate while virtually everything else stayed well in line with his career averages. Sure, he could be a late-bloomer, finally seeing his breakout during his age-30 season, but the likelihood of regression to his previous four season's averages seems much more likely. (Howard Bender)
The Quick Opinion:
After a breakout season in 2013, Venable has gone from flying under the radar to the fantasy spotlight. Posting a 20-20 season is fantasy gold. But those seeking a repeat performance may want to temper their expectations as the power surge seems to be more fluke -- his batted ball data says that a power regression is on its way.
A year after producing a home run per fly ball rate roughly double his career average, Venable went right back to a slightly below average HR/FB rate last year. You obviously could have seen that coming, but it would've been harder to predict that he'd steal just 11 bases after topping 20 steals for three consecutive years. That dip in production combined with the fact that he's entering his age 32 season is enough to render him valueless. But after the Padres went and acquired three big name outfielders, any value Venable had left vanished. (
The Quick Opinion:
Will Venable isn't really that great at baseball and the Padres brought in three outfielders who are, so Venable is a non-factor.
Remember when Will Venable had a 22 home run and 22 steal season? Did you even know that happened? It was not too long ago in 2013, but subsequent years have not been to kind to him. Last season he looked like the Venable most of us were used to in San Diego -- roughly a league average hitter who hits a few homers and steals enough bases to be an undervalued commodity in most fantasy formats. His trade to the Rangers ended up being a frustrating move, as he was 48% worse than league average with the stick in just under 40 games. Venable is currently a free agent at age 33, which is certainly not a positive as pitchers and catchers are meeting in just a few weeks. When he does get picked up, it is quite likely he will go back to being a part-time player who should get about 400 or so plate appearances, mostly against right-handed pitching. If he gets a job and is in a set platoon, there still could be fantasy value here despite his late season struggles last year. Venable was very efficient on the bases last season (16 for 17 in stolen bases), so where he ends up and the role he ends up in will likely dictate whether he is a viable fantasy baseball asset this season. (Ben Duronio)
The Quick Opinion:
Entering his mid-30's, Venable is likely headed toward a part-time role whenever he lands with a team. If he is given a regular platoon role, he could still add some fantasy value in deeper daily lineup leagues due to his decent power and solid speed.
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Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:35 AM ET
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