San Diego Padres Predictions
The San Diego Padres finished up the 2012 season 4th in the NL West with an overall record of 76-86. Considering they were a dismal 29-50 at the end of June, it was quite an accomplishment to finish 10-games under .500. Surprisingly it was the Padres starting pitching and defense that hurt this team last year. San Diego’s starters posted an uncharacteristic 4.44 ERA (13th in the NL) and the defense committed a whopping 121 errors (15th in the NL). No one’s really giving the Padres a whole lot of respect in 2013, but manager Bud Black has shown he can take this team to the top out of nowhere. This team had a similar second half surge in 2009 to finish 4th in the division with a record of 75-87. That next year they went 90-72, finishing just two games back of San Francisco in the division and a game back of Atlanta in the Wild Card race. Here’s a quick look at San Diego’s projected rotation, bullpen and lineup, plus my predictions on where they finish the year inside the NL West.
Projected Starting Rotation
Edinson Volquez (R) – Volquez showed some solid improvement in his first season with the Padres. The move from hitter-friendly Great American Park to spacious Petco Park helped him lower his ERA from 5.71 to 4.14 and WHIP from 1.57 to 1.45. He also reached double-digit wins (11) for the first time since going 17-6 back in 2008. He’s got the potential to improve a little more in 2013 and is expected to be the Open Day starter, but I’m not sold on him being an ace at this point in his career.
Clayton Richard (L) – Richard went 14-14 to lead the Padres in wins last year. He also posted a respectable 3.99 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. If he could ever figure out how to pitch outside of Petco Park, he could be a 20-game winner. He’s compiled a 2.82 ERA over all his starts at home, which is pretty remarkable when you consider his career ERA is 4.13.
Jason Marquis (R) – Marquis made 15 starts with San Diego after coming over from the Twins. He went 6-7 with a 4.04 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. The 34-year-old veteran will likely be effective at home and a disaster on the road. It would be one thing if the Padres had him slated at the back of the rotation, but it’s definitely concerning that he’s currently the No. 3 starter.
Eric Stults (L) – Stults enters this season with some pretty big expectations after he went 8-3 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 18 appearances (14 starts) after coming over from the White Sox. It’s hard to ignore the numbers, but I’m not sold on Stults being able to match that success over the course of a full season.
Andrew Cashner (R) – If Cashner could figure out a way to stay healthy, he could emerge as the ace of this staff. The 26-year-old has one of the most electric arms in the game and could be poised for a breakout season. He’s currently battling Tyson Ross, Anthony Bass and Tim Stauffer for the final spot in the rotation. He’s got the most potential and talent of the four and if he’s ready he’ll start the season in the rotation. Cashner has fully recovered from a lacerated tendon in his pitching thumb, it’s just a matter of building up enough stamina.
If the starters can improve and get the lead to the bullpen late in games, teams are going to find it very difficult to rally against this team. The Padres have reliable care of setup men in Luke Gregerson, Brad Brach and lefty Joe Thatcher. When they are able to get the ball to closer Huston Street, you can pretty much give the Padres a W. Despite getting limited chances, Street was able to save 23 games last year with a 1.85 ERA and 0.72 WHIP. The bullpen should also get a boost from the starters who don’t make the rotation. Overall this is a very underrated group.
Everth Cabrera (SS) – If Cabrera could ever figure out how to improve his average and OBP, he would be an absolute nightmare for opposing teams. Despite hitting just .246 with a .324 OBP, Cabrera led the NL with 44 stolen bases.
Logan Forsythe (2B) – Forsythe will likely start the season filling in at 3B, but once Headley returns he will shift back to 2B. In the meantime look for Jedd Gyorko to fill in at second. Forsythe hasn’t showed a whole lot to get excited about his his first two seasons in the big leagues. In 465 career at-bats he’s hitting just .254 with 6 homers and 38 RBI. If Gyorko shows any sort of promise early, Forsythe might be left without a job.
Chase Headley (3B) – Headley emerged into a star and the face of the franchise with a monster 2012 that landed him 5th in the NL MVP voting. He hit .286 with a career-high 31 homers and 115 RBI to go with 31 doubles, 95 runs, 173 hits and 17 stolen bases. A fractured thumb will keep him out until at least the middle of April and it could take some time for him to get back in the swing of things.
Carlos Quentin (LF) – Quentin has the potential to hit hit 30 homers with 100 RBI, but he simply can’t stay healthy. He managed to play in just 86 games last year, where he hit .261 with 16 homers and 46 RBI. He had hit at least 21 homers in each of the previous four years, despite never playing more than 131 games. When he’s in the lineup he will be be a big spark offensively, but it only a matter of time before he find his way back to the DL.
Yonder Alonso (1B) – Alonso was the key addition in the Mat Latos trade a couple years back. In his first full season in the big leagues, he hit .273 with 62 RBI, but disappointed with just 9 homers. I wouldn’t get too discouraged. The kid turns just 26 in April and has shown an improved power swing this spring. It’s only a matter of time before he’s a force in the heart of this lineup.
Will Venable (RF) – Venable has put up respectable numbers despite not playing every day, as he typically finds himself platooning with someone else. He’s averaged 10 homers and 26 stolen bases over the last three seasons and is coming off a solid 2012 campaign, where he hit .264 with 9 homers, 8 triples, 45 RBI and 24 steals.
Cameron Maybin (CF) – Maybin took a step back in 2012 after showing some serious promise in 2011. He went from hitting .264 with 40 stolen bases to a .243 average with 26 steals. He’s got all kinds of speed with limited power. There’s still time for Maybin to put it all together and live up to his potential, but it’s unclear how much longer the Padres are going to sit around and wait for that to happen.
Nick Hundley (C) – Hundley will be the Open Day starter as Yasmani Grandal serves a 50-game suspension. He’s shown some promise with a strong spring, but it’s hard to ignore his .157 average over 204 at-bats last year. There’s every reason to believe he will improve on that mark, as he hit .288 in 82 games during 2011.
Odds to Win the World Series: +9,500
Odds to win the NL Pennant: +4,000
Odds to win the NL West: +1,600
The Padres could be that surprise team once again in 2013, but I’m not sold on this team being a contender. The offense has the potential to be a lot better than most would expect, but the starting rotation is a major concern. In year’s past the Padres could pretty much throw out whoever they wanted and get a quality start at home. They return pretty much the same rotation from the one that stunk it up in 2012 and on top of that they are shorting Petco Park to make it less pitcher-friendly. With the way the rest of the teams in this division look, I think the smart move is to slate the Padres 4th in the NL West.
More San Diego Padres Predictions:
More Team Predictions
|Yankees||Red Sox||Rays||Blue Jays||Orioles|