Margot's game just beginning to awaken

Talented rookie has made a nice impression this season

Margot's game just beginning to awaken

SAN DIEGO -- For the better part of the past two months, Padres outfielder Manuel Margot has arrived at Petco Park tired.

With his 2-month-old son, Diamond, at home, Margot found little time for rest after games. In the two nights since Diamond and his mother returned to the Dominican Republic on Wednesday, Margot has gotten "the best sleep ever." The thrill of fatherhood, though, isn't lost on him.

"It's the best thing that's happened to me," Margot said Friday through a team interpreter. "I think when you have a little creature like that, another small person like that, so innocent, it really puts things in perspective. It's really amazing."

Like Diamond, Margot's career is in its infancy. Margot, who turns 23 on Thursday, declared last month he aspires to be a superstar. His prime will come when Diamond can witness and understand it.

"That's why I want to be a superstar," Margot said. "I want to set a good example for my son. I think if you have someone to follow like that and someone to look up to, then they have something that they want to aspire to be. So if I'm a superstar, it's going to give him motivation to do the same."

Even with the lack of sleep, Margot hasn't slowed. He's hitting .288/.344/.486 since his son was born, slugging eight of his 13 home runs in the past two months. In Friday's 4-1 loss to the Rockies, Margot hit his seventh triple, making him the 10th Major League player to reach that total this year.

Nearing the end of his first full season in the Majors, Margot entered the game against the Rockies with a stolen base in three consecutive games, a streak that ended Friday. He leads all National League rookies with 17 steals. As a father, Margot is 7-for-7 as a base stealer.

Manager Andy Green said Margot could develop into a 50-steal player, yet there are tweaks to be made. It begins with Margot's on-base percentage, which Green said he hopes to see jump about 20 points next season.

There's also the matter of, as Margot put it, "the learning process" of stealing bases.

"His ability to utilize advance information is still in its primitive form," Green said. "There's stuff he can use to be elite. Right now, he's still scratching the surface.

"It's fun to dream on that and think about what it looks like when it's fully formed."

Given his age, Margot has plenty of time to develop, but in conversations with Green, he has consistently expressed his desire to improve, telling his manager, "I could be better."

As Margot has begun to prove on the bases, it's not in his personality to wait around.

"The faster you reach your goal, the better it is," Margot said. "In this game, again, if I'm acquiring a lot of experience now, then it's going to make me a better baseball player in the long run."

Worth noting

• Green said he would consider using left-hander Clayton Richard, who is 7 2/3 innings from his first 200-inning season since 2012, for an inning of relief in the season finale against the Giants should he finish his start Wednesday against the Dodgers at 199 innings. 

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for based in San Diego. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.