William Dion Venable
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 2", Weight 205 lb.
- School Princeton University
- High School San Rafael High School
- Debut August 29, 2008
- Final Game July 6, 2016
- Born October 29, 1982 in Greenbrae, CA USA
Venable hit .244/.352/.372 in 2003 for Princeton University and followed with a .344/.379/.438 line in 2004. Will was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 15th round of the 2004 amateur draft but did not sign. Returning for his senior year at Princeton, he hit .385/.437/.636 and led the Ivy League with 9 home runs, tying two Harvard sluggers. He was second in the Ivy League in average behind Matt Kutler and made the All-Conference outfield alongside Kutler. He was the second all-Conference player in both basketball and baseball, following Chris Young. Will was selected by the San Diego Padres in the seventh round of the 2005 amateur draft.
In 2006, Venable led Padres farmhands with 160 hits and tied Luis Cruz for the most doubles (39). He hit .314/.389/.477 for the Fort Wayne Wizards and was named the Padres Minor League Player of the Year. He scored 86, drove in 91, stole 18 bases in 23 tries and tied Jeff Baisley for the Midwest League lead in runs. He was second to Erik Lis in the MWL batting race and made the All-Star team in the outfield alongside Jay Bruce and Cameron Maybin. He was left off of the Baseball America top 20 prospect list for the Conference, presumably due to his being older than the average player. They did rank him the #5 prospect in the Padres chain.
For the 2006 West Oahu CaneFires, Venable hit .330/.390/.473. He led Hawaii Winter Baseball in average, was second to John Otness in OBP and third in slugging. His 10 doubles led HWB and he tied Yoshiyuki Kamei for third in hits (30). In the outfield, he was error-free. Baseball America named him the #11 prospect in the league.
In 2007, Will batted .278/.337/.373 in 134 games for the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League. He then put up a line of .292/.361/.464 in 120 games for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League in 2008. He was called up to San Diego in late August and hit a triple in his major league debut on August 29, 2008. He played 28 games in center field for the Padres, putting up a line of .264/.339/.391, giving him an inside track on a starting job in 2009.
Venable was a starter in the outfield for the Padres from 2009 to 2015. In his rookie season, he hit .256 with 12 homers and 38 RBIs in 95 games while playing mostly right field. His next two seasons, 2010 and 2011 were nearly identical, as he was the team's regular right fielder both years, hitting .245 and .246 with 7 triples both years, 11 and 14 doubles, and 29 and 26 stolen bases. In the tough hitting environment of Petco Park, his production was better than it may have looked, worth an OPS+ of 104 and 99 respectively. He improved that number to 114 in 2012, largely because he raised his batting average to .264 and nearly doubled his number of two-base hits, to 26. His home run and RBIs number were nearly identical to 2011, with 9 and 45 and he remained very solid on the basepaths, with 24 steals in 30 attempts. In 2013, he split time almost evenly between right field and center field and had his best season, with an OPS+ of 126 thanks to a .268 average, a career-best 22 homers, 64 runs and 53 RBIs. AQgain splitting time between the two outfield slots in 2014, he fell back to .224 with 8 homers and 33 RBIs, and his OPS+ plummeted to 78. He also seemed to lose much of his speed at age 31, being successful only 11 of 17 times in steal attempts. he bounced back in 2015, however, as he now played mainly centerfield, hitting .258 with 6 homers and 30 RBIs in 98 games for San Diego and seeing his OPS+ climb back to 98.
On August 18, 2015, he was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Marcus Greene and a player to be named later. The Rangers wanted to add some outfield depth over concerns about Josh Hamilton's health. He played his final major league game with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016.
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2013)