The Coast News Group

Jay Paris: Padres could have a solid foundation up top

Dumping on the rebuilding Padres is easy as 1-2-3.

But that’s for those looking to pile on. Instead, look at what’s piled atop the order.

Giddy-up. Guts. Guile.

Those are the three things to look for in the three Friars leading the lineup: Travis Jankowski, Manuel Margot and Wil Myers.

“To me it’s an exciting brand of baseball,’’ manager Andy Green said.

There’s never been a skipper more appropriately named for the can-I-see-your-ID Padres. While Myers is the youthful face of the franchise after signing the richest deal in team history, Jankowski and Margot are the kiddies.

But what all three have in common is attacking this great game in a similar manner. It’s to get on base and get on the rivals’ nerves.

“They can bunt, they can steal, they can slash, they can move the ball around the yard,’’ Green said. “It’s a fun top three of the order.’’

It’s clear the Padres enter most games undermanned, and where’s the joy there? When you’re paying more players not to punch the Petco Park clock than those dressing in its clubhouse that can be a problem.

There’s no sugarcoating it. The Padres are a safe bet to run their consecutive-season streak to seven of finishing under .500. Come this fall, they may be deep on the wrong side of the ledger.

But it’s baseball, where there’s a surprise around every curveball.

Few though expect the Padres to zigzag their way into contention, especially in the daunting NL West.

So if the fresh-faced Padres really are heading south — unlike the Chargers, who pointed their compass north — the ride figures to be bumpy.

Still, baseball can be fun even if the score might not confirm it. I’m focusing on Jankowski, Margot and Myers to keep my summer baseball candle flickering.

Jankowski, who hit .245 last year while swiping 30 bags, has shifted from center field to left. Margot is roaming the great expanse in center, where his quicks are put to the test.

Between them, not many fly balls are expected to return to the pitcher with grass stains.

“Travis and Manny have a ton of athleticism,’’ Green stressed. “There are a ton of reasons to believe in those guys.’’

The Padres always keep the faith but they didn’t retain All-Star closer Craig Kimbel in 2015. He was peddled to Boston for much more than a hill of beans.

Margot was the big prize among the four prospects headed to San Diego. In putting this latest Padres puzzle together, he’s a piece that must fit snugly.

So while this year is likely a sprint to the bottom, don’t lose focus on the lineup’s beginning. If speed kills, maybe the Padres can collect a pelt or two.

“I think each one of them would claim to win that race,’’ Green said. “But I think I will put Wil in the three-spot, just like I did in the lineup.

“Jankowski and Margot? That would be fun to watch.’’

Just maybe that goes for the Padres as well — at least up top.

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected]. Follow him @jparis_sports on Twitter.