Thank you, baseball gods, as another baseball season is finally upon us! Opening Day is here and I am full of the baseball goodness. The Padres open up the season in New York, where they will battle the Mets. Most people do not expect the Padres to be very good. Truth be told, they probably won’t be — but there is reason for optimism.
In the first few months of 2012, the Padres were pathetic. As a Padre fan, I have seen my share of crappy baseball, but the first two months were the worst. The Padres went into the nursing home and started both Jeff Suppan and Kip Wells on the mound. The injuries were mind-boggling. Essentially, everything that could go wrong, went wrong and the Padres look poised to be picking after the Astros in the 2013 draft.
However, the Padres went 49-37 after June and looked like a team on the rise. They hit well and got an MVP-type season from Chase Headley. Carlos Quentin was tremendous(when healthy) and Yasmani Grandal emerged as a potential All-Star.
Some of the momentum was dampered with Headley’s trip to the DL, Quentin’s glass knee and Grandal’s love affair with testosterone. Call me crazy, but the Padres could be pretty decent. Let’s breakdown the roster:
Rotation: Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard, Eric Stults, Jason Marquis, Tyson Ross: Personally this rotation is not that bad, however no one here is better than a #4, in my opinion. Volquez walks too many, Richard gives up too many hits and Jason Marquis is..well Jason Marquis. Eventually, the rotation will feature Robbie Erlin and Andrew Cashner. Donn Roach could also make an appearance. Also, Cory Luebke should be back at some point. In a perfect world, Volquez and Richard are trade bait. Grade: C
Lineup: Everth Cabrera is slated to be your leadoff hitter. I am not convinced this is a good move, but the Padres have little recourse. He did have a solid spring, but put up a .324 OBP in 2012. That simply won’t get it done. He does bring excitement on the bases, as he led the NL in steals last year. The Padres will have Will Denorfia or Chris Venable(whichever you prefer) in the #2 hole.
The heart of the order will be bandaged initially, but should be solid with the likes of Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso. Jedd Gyorko will be in there with Cameron Maybin. I think Gyorko will win Rookie of the Year in the National League. I see him with 15 homers and 75 RBI’s. Those type of numbers would make the Padres a whole lot deeper. Grade: C
Bullpen: I really like the pen. Huston Street was unbelievable last year and Luke Gregerson is one of the best setup men in the business. Keep your eyes on Brad Brach as well — I believe he is poised for a breakout season. Grade: B+
Bench: The Padres will have a solid bench, with plenty of options. Jesus Guzman has a solid bat, Alexi Amarista has speed and versatilety and Mark Kotsay can still contribute. Grade: B
5 bold predictions:
1. Yonder Alonso enjoys a great campaign. He hits .280, with 20 homers, 85 RBI’s and 40 doubles.
2. Edinson Volquez, Clayton Richard and Jesus Guzman are moved by the deadline.
3. Yasmani Grandal spends time in the minors, even after being reinstated from his suspension.
4. Andrew Cashner ends 2013 as the Padres best starting pitcher.
5. Chase Headley will not be extended.
Overall, the Padres will be lucky to finish at .500. However, this team does have some interesting young players to watch. Prediction: 78-84, 4th in the NL West.