Exactly six months ago today, Tommy Medica made his major league debut for the San Diego Padres.
In last season's brief stint, Medica went 20-for-69 with three home runs and 10 RBI in garbage time for a lowly San Diego squad.
Showing promise, Medica was given the nod to see significant time during this year's spring training, and the decision is paying major dividends for the Padres. He's leading all hitters with a .500 batting average and 14 hits, while also hitting two home runs and driving in six.
Here are five takeaways from the spring training performance of a budding star.
5. Medica Is a Versatile Fielder
In his first two years at Santa Clara University, Medica was primarily a catcher.
Early in his junior season, though, he tore the labrum in his throwing arm, forcing him to miss the remainder of the year. Upon his return, Medica started 50-of-54 games at the corner outfield positions.
Now with the Padres in 2014, Medica has been seeing time primarily at first base, where he's had great success in spring training.
If the Padres can move him between first and outfield, he'll be even more valuable of an asset to a team in desperate need of just that.
4. The Padres Will Find a Spot for Medica in the Lineup
Even though he played in only 19 games last year, Medica lead San Diego with a .290 batting average.
His .380 on-base percentage was also first on the team, while his .449 slugging percentage was third.
Yes, he wasn't actually "first" because he didn't fulfill the minimum number of at-bats needed to be considered, but the hitting potential is evident.
So far this spring, he has a clear lead in those categories again.
Don't be surprised if Medica finds his way into the starting lineup on a regular basis at some point in the year.
ANOTHER base hit for Tommy Medica. If he keeps this up how could Buddy keep him off the Opening Day roster?— The Friars Following (@FriarsFollowing) March 9, 2014
3. Last Year's Brief Success Was No Fluke
Often times when a prospect is brought up at the end of a struggling season, they impress, but never truly follow through.
Medica is out to disprove that common trend.
In his first ever major league regular season game, Medica hit a home run off Cliff Lee. To many, that screams fluke.
Although the power isn't always there, Medica has consistently been a solid contact hitter. Of his 14 hits this spring, only four are for extra bases.
A contact hitter is much more likely to sustain his performance rather than a strict power hitter, which bodes well for a hitter like Medica.
2. Medica Is a Model for Consistency
In the 13 games Medica has played this spring, he has registered hits in 11 of them.
Going off of the last takeaway, this level of consistency bodes much better in the long run for a hitter looking to prevent going into a slump.
Nine of those 11 games have seen one hit from Medica, while the other two have had three each.
And in 10 of the 11 games in which he's recorded a hit, Medica has only seen three at-bats, or less.
Tommy Medica is really going to force the #Padres hand on 25-man roster decisions.— Mickey Koke (@mickeykoke) March 9, 2014
This maximization of an opportunity is a great sign for not only Medica, but also the Padres' long term plans at first base.
1. The Padres Have Found Their Next Face of the Franchise
Try naming one player from last year's Padres who could be the single representative of the team.
Exactly, you couldn't do it.
Amongst all of its recent struggles, San Diego has finally found a young, versatile player who has overcome an injury to show incredible promise for the future.
Call me crazy, but I think the Padres have found their diamond in the rough.