Selasa, 21 Februari 2012

Season Previews, Part Seven: San Diego Padres

San Diego Padres
2011 Record: 71-91 5th in NL West
Pythagorean Record: 79-83
Games out of first: 23

2011 Recap

The Padres went into 2011 with an eye on rebuilding from the ground up. In the off season prior to 2011, the Padres shipped Adrian Gonzalez up toBoston for RHP Casey Kelly and 1B Anthony Rizzo.  This move was the startof a new journey for the Padres, in a sense.  Ironically, the teamfinished where they were expected to despite actually playing much better thantheir record showed.  The team only had a run differential of -18, whichis something more common of .500 teams than teams that finish 20 games under.  Offensively, they were led by third baseman Chase Headley,who had a career year.  At 27, many expected Headley to improve as he wentinto his prime, and the results were great.  However, injuries limited himto only 113 games, which really made his 2.9 oWAR performance sneak under theradar.  The Padres, despite being 3rd in raw ERA, really did not get anygreat performances out of their starting rotation.  The ERA+ values forthe Padres were as follows: 102, 95, 98, 108, and 92.  The Padres didn'tget any great performances, but they also didn't have any starters bust, whichgave them a consistent rotation.  In fact, with a range so small in thesample given, the Padres were able to expect a certain performance on any givenday, which led to great consistency (which is part of why the pythag record wasso good).

Top WAR preformers:

1. Nick Hundley: 3.4
2. Mat Latos: 3.2
3. Cameron Maybin: 2.9
4. Chris DeNorfia: 2.4
5. Corey Leubke: 2.4

Offseason Recap:

This off season really was a continuation ofwhat happened in the previous year.  With the change that went on up inChicago, San Diego lost both Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod to the Cubs.  Notonly did the Padres lose two of their top executives, but they also moved orlost some of their most talented players.  Firstly, Heath Bell left infree agency for Miami on a 3 year/$27 million contract, which the Padres couldnot afford.  In a couple of more controlled moves, the Padres traded MatLatos to the Reds for Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Edinson Volquez. In a separate move, the club traded Anthony Rizzo and Zach Cates forAndrew Cashner and Kyung-Min Na.  Even though moving Rizzo could hurt, thePadres were really able to revamp their farm system with these moves.  Itmade sense to go through with the youth movement and move a young pitcher likeLatos for some young hitters who should give the Padres the offense they havedesperately been looking for.

Notable Additions:

Yonder Alonso
Yasmani Grandal
Huston Street
Andrew Cashner
Carlos Quentin

Notable Subtractions

Heath Bell
Mat Latos
Anthony Rizzo
Aaron Harang
Wade LeBlanc

Projected Lineup:

CF- Cameron Maybin 
2B- Orlando Hudson
1B- Yonder Alonso
RF- Carlos Quentin
3B- Chase Headley
LF- Will Venable
C- Nick Hundley
SS- Jason Bartlett

Projected Rotation:

Tim Stauffer
Dustin Moseley
Cory Luebke
Clayton Richard
Edinson Volquez

2012 Outlook

It's not ridiculous to like the Padres for 2012. No, they are not likely to be contenders, but they should be able tofield a rather competitive ball club.  Ironically, the weakest part of theteam is going to be the starting pitching staff.  They have a few arms intheir prime, but they lack any true top of the rotation starters.  They'llneed to rely on consistently average starting pitching and good defense withoutgetting any great performances out of any of their starters.  However, Ireally like how their offense is shaping up.  They've got a good mix ofspeed and power, and they also have guys who should keep their strikeout totalsrather low.  Alonso and Quentin provide two bats that can provide somereally big pop in the middle of the order, but their ability to score runs willdepend most on the ability of the one and two hitters to get on base.  

Potential Breakout Player:

Yonder Alonso speaks softly and carries a big stick. This guy can rake, and it would not be a surprise to see this guy take the NL West by storm. He's a great breakout candidate, and he's a darkhorse for the NL Rookie of the Year.

Potential Bust Player:

Chris DeNorfia is very likely not repeating last year. He really wasn't that great, and the chances of him repeating his defensive rating from last year are slim. Don't look for him to do much in 2012.


Record: 80-82
Finish: 4th in NL West
MVP: Carlos Quentin

Final Word:

I am very likely to be higher on the Padres thanmost, but I really think they can perform as an average team.  Nobody inthe NL West really did much of anything to get better, and I really think thePadres improved on a whole (as odd as that sounds with the guys they lost). Their pythag record last year was close to that of a .500 team, and Ithink they can produce a similar pythag to lat year, giving them plenty ofopportunity to win 80 games.

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