Padres’ Matt Batten moving up MLB ranks
Matt Batten, selected by the San Diego in the 32nd round of the Major League Baseball Draft in 2017, has advanced through the Padres’ farm system and is now playing second base for the El Paso Chihuahuas.
After starring at St. Joseph High, the Shelton resident was a standout at Quinnipiac University, where he is the school’s all-time career hit leader.
Batten began the 2019 campaign at Double-A Amarillo. After two games, Batten was promoted to play for El Paso in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League.
In 103 games for the PCL Northern Division-leading Chihuahuas, Batten is batting .298 with 55 runs scored, 44 RBIs. He has stolen six bases, to go along with six home runs, three triples and 18 doubles. He is hitting .417 over the last 10 games.
Batten smashed a grand slam and plated a career-high seven runs to lead El Paso to an 8-6 victory over Salt Lake at Smith's Ballpark on July 6, as reported by MiLB’s Katie Woo.
Batten wasted no time extending his home run streak to three games. With one out and the bases full in the second inning, he ripped the first pitch he saw from starter Parker Bridwell for his second career grand slam, giving the Chihuahuas a 4-0 lead.
"I was just looking to hit something I could elevate to the outfield," Batten said to Woo. "He spun a slider and I tried to lift it and get at least one run."
An inning later, the 24-year-old faced the right-hander again with the bases loaded. This time, he settled for a single that scored Padres No. 16 prospect Austin Allen and Aderlin Rodriguez to make it 6-1. He grounded out in the fifth and reached on a throwing error in the seventh, before recording his third knock of the night, a two-out RBI single in the ninth off southpaw Sam Freeman.
"[Today] was exciting," Batten said, noting that some extra work with hitting coach Morgan Burkhart and fielding coach Lance Burkhart was starting to pay off. "I had some good situations to hit in and luckily got a few good pitches to hit. I took advantage of that and everything fell into place."
His seven RBIs fell one short of the El Paso team record, set by current Padres catcher Austin Hedges on July 10, 2016.
Batten has continued to play well against the Salt Lake City. The next time out, he went 4 for 5 with two runs scored. Batten hit .341 to open the current season for High-A Lake Elsinore. Then came the quick transition that landed him in El Paso.
Batten had 249 hits at Quinnipiac, where he stole 65 bases and tied the school’s Division 1 record for career runs scored with 139. He put together a 25-game hitting streak as a sophomore and became the first player in school history to record at least 50 hits in all four seasons of his career.
He was drafted by the Padres in 2017 and reported to the rookie league. In 49 games between rookie ball and short-season Class-A, Batten hit .241. In 2018, he batted .272 playing in 78 games for three teams
As reported by David Borges in the New Haven Register, Batten spent almost all of his first spring training in minor league camp this spring, but got an unexpected call-up as a reserve for the big-league team in its final Cactus League game. Batten played the last two innings at second base and drew a walk in his lone at-bat. Even better, his parents, John and Linda Batten, had flown in that day and were at the game.
“Obviously, the end goal is you want to make it all the way to the big leagues,” he said in Borges’ story. “Every day, I’m making sure everything I’m doing is working towards that, not taking it for granted. Just continue to grind and work my way towards my main goal.”