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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Top 100 San Diego Padres: #86 Juan Bonilla


Bonilla was originally drafted out of Florida State in 1977 by the New York Yankees with the 606th overall pick, but the pick was voided and in January of the following year, he was signed by the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent. He spent three seasons in the Cleveland organization and compiled a truly unspectacular batting line. Bonilla's ability with the bat began and ended with hitting for a decent average. That decent average coupled with range at second base was enough to entice Padres who traded Bob Lacey for him after acquiring Lacey four days earlier from the Oakland Athletics.

Juan Bonilla became the Padres' starting second baseman in his rookie year and he didn't disappoint at the plate hitting at a tick above average relative to the league and leading Padre infielders in On-Base Percentage. Despite leading NL second basemen with 13 errors, Bonilla showed good range. Acquiring Bonilla was looking like a good decision.

Unfortunately, Bonilla's sophomore season was shortened by a broken wrist and drug rehabilitation. During the 45 games he did play in, Bonilla's batting average fell ten points as did his Equivalent Average. One bright side was the improvement in his fielding which had been a negative his rookie season.

Bonilla's third season with the Padres is is the one that has him on this list. Despite his offensive numbers continuing to decline, Juan put together his most valuable season of his career thanks to what may well have been a fluky spike in his fielding value. Thanks to a holdout the following year, he would be released and would end up signing with the team that originally drafted him.


Blogger BillyB said...

Bonilla should be on this list for one reason...his verbal jousting with hated Dodger Dusty Baker.

I can't remember if it was '82 before he was injured, or '83...but we were just beating the crap out of the Dodgers.

Bonilla said something in the papers, then Baker, then Bonilla...

I was sitting in left field the night it all culminated. Bonilla had gotten drilled on his first AB, but on his next AB he lined a ball over Baker's head for a double.

As he stood on 2nd he pointed out at Baker and started yelling what we assumed to be a string of profanity.

Which was nothing compared to the crap all of us in left field were yelling at Baker.

For that...we salute you, Juan Bonilla!

10:00 AM, July 03, 2006  

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