In 2015 the San Diego Padres really mixed up their identity and made a large amount of moves bringing in guys like Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel during the off-season to revamp the team. This strategy did not really pay off for San Diego as they ended up winning only 74 games. This season, a different approach has been taken. The Padres did very little acquiring, but they did trade away guys like Craig Kimbrel and Jedd Gyorko for prospects and pieces. They also were forced to let Justin Upton go as it was his contract year and they don't have the type of money that could've signed him. This leaves Matt Kemp and Wil Myers as the main guys who were brought in last year and are still around to play this year. With different expectations on the 2016 team, San Diego actually has a legitimate shot to out-do what the more expensive team did last year.
Jon Jay, Drew Pomeranz, Alexei Ramirez, Fernando Rodney, Jeremy Guthrie, Christian Bethancourt, Jabari Blash, Jose Pirela, Carlos Villanueva, Matt Thornton, Josh Martin, Luis Perdomo, Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje, Nelson Ward, Adam Rosales, Javier Guerra, Jemile Weeks, Carlos Pimentel, Johnny Hellweg, Enyel De Los Santos, Logan Allen, Buddy Baumann, Ryan Butcher, Cesar Vargas, Blake Smith, Jose Dominguez, Phil Humber, Jose Torres
Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, Jedd Gyorko, Josh Johnson, Yonder Alonso, Shawn Kelley, Joaquin Benoit, Will Middlebrooks, Ian Kennedy, Cory Luebke, Bud Norris, Marcos Mateo, Ricardo Rodriguez, Casey Kelly, Marc Rzepczynski, Jay Jackson, Ronald Herrera
Biggest Strength - Starting Pitching
Although this isn't a dominant staff by any means, the pitching staff is still the strenght of the Padres. Led by Tyson Ross and James Shields, the Padres goal is to win close, low scoring games in the most pitcher friendly park in the big leagues. Tyson Ross is probably the best player on the entire team and might actually be a trade piece if San Diego decides to go full rebuild. Shields has a lot of miles on him and had a bit of a down year in 2015, but these two are both legitimate top of the rotation arms. Andrew Cashner and Drew Pomeranz have a good shot to be great 3rd and 4th options for the team and they will likely be consistent down in those spots. Pomeranz will be interesting to watch as he is formerly a top 10 prospect in the league before he ended up in the Rockies organization where he was messed up for a while. He appears to have his career back on track. The 5th spot will probably be a revolving door of sorts with Robbie Erlin getting the first shot.
Biggest Weakness - Offense
The offense for this team should be better than it traditionally has been for the past five years. Guys like Matt Kemp and Wil Myers are still around and they can hit. With that said, the surrounding cast members aren't exactly exciting with the bat. The fact that Melvin Upton Jr is probably going to start the season as a starter isn't a good way to start. There are also filler defensive guys everywhere like Alexei Ramirez and Cory Spangenberg, and if you think Christian Bethancourt is a legitimate hitting catcher then you are wrong. The organization could stand to gain a couple of nice bats.
Something To Keep An Eye On - Jabari Blash
Speaking of a couple of nice bats, Jabari Blash could be an answer to fill that need a bit. Hiding in the Mariners system and never highly touted as a prospect, Blash has played in the minors for quite a while now and the Padres have him as a Rule-5 draft pick, meaning that he must stay on the 25 man roster all year or be returned to the Mariners. Blash has basically hit 30 home runs every season in the minor leagues. Although he does have a higher than average strikeout rate, his on base numbers are also above average due to his good walk rate. His overall hitting numbers look very consistently good throughout the minors is the bottom line and he has a very good chance to carve out some legitimate playing time in an outfield that needs some hitting. He tore it up this year in the Cactus League too.
Projected Lineup… Lefties*… Switch Hitters^
- Cory Spangenberg* - 2B
- Wil Myers - 1B
- Matt Kemp - RF
- Derek Norris - C
- Yangervis Solarte^ - 3B
- Jabari Blash - LF
- Alexei Ramirez - SS
- Melvin Upton Jr - CF
Christian Bethancourt, Brett Wallace*, Jose Pirela, Jemile Weeks^, Jon Jay*
Projected Rotation… Lefties*
- Tyson Ross
- James Shields
- Andrew Cashner
- Drew Pomeranz*
- Robbie Erlin*
Fernando Rodney - Closer, Brandon Maurer, Matt Thornton*, Kevin Quackenbush, Ryan Butcher*, Carlos Villanueva, Josh Martin
Fantasy Bargain - Jabari Blash
See above paragraph. He is so far off the radar that he is literally owned in 0% of leagues right now. You can go pick him up in your league right now most likely. If he gets 500 at bats he has a good shot to hit 30 bombs, so the upside is there for you to own him.
Overrated Fantasy Option - Alexei Ramirez
Alexei Ramirez has always been a bit overrated as an offensive threat. He usually puts up double digit homers and steals each year, which can trick you into thinking he's more valuable than he is. Ramirez does a poor job of getting on base consistently, so those minimal amount of homers and steals are coming at the expense of your average or on base percentage stats. This is probably a guy you can let someone else think they're good with having.
The Padres aren't competing for a playoff spot this year, especially since there are three teams in the division who are gunning for a run. With that said, they aren't the worst team in the NL either. It will be interesting to see what the Padres can get out of guys like Wil Myers, Matt Kemp and Jabari Blash. The pitching should also be good enough to keep the majority of their games close enough to steal away. Overall, the Padres are probably good for a win total in the low 70's and a fourth place finish in the NL West.