After spending a pretty penny on Manny Machado last offseason, the Padres had to be somewhat disappointed in their return on investment. Sure, Machado did eventually finish with 32 home runs and missed only six games. However, he slumped to a career-low .256 average and struck out a career-high 128 times. The slugger’s addition did nothing to prevent an ugly 70-92 record. Nevertheless, hope lives in San Diego for both a Machado resurgence and similarly strong contributions from his fellow top-of-the-order mates Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Tommy Pham.
Tatis was as good as advertised after arriving at the big-league level last season. The 21-year-old slashed a stellar .317/.379/.590 with 22 home runs and 53 RBI over 84 games before back spasms cut short his campaign in mid-August. A fully healthy Tatis with some experience under his belt in the leadoff spot could be a significant sparkplug for the Padres offense. Meanwhile, Pham arrived via trade from the Rays after three straight 20-homer seasons in St. Louis and Tampa. No. 4 and 5 hitters Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers are two veterans who no longer appear to be at their absolute peak. However, they still boast plenty of pop, as evidenced by their combined 94 extra-base hits last season.
The challenge for manager Jayce Tingler will be negotiating what appears to be a significant drop-off from that point down in the order. The quartet of Trent Grisham, Jurickson Profar, Josh Naylor and Francisco Mejia could often struggle to build on whatever success their teammates in the top five slots in the lineup muster. There also aren’t many appealing options on the bench that can be swapped in, either, especially with Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe now both in Tampa.
The starting rotation has some potential despite the lack of big names. But, those arms will need to fully maximize their talent for San Diego to have a chance of perhaps competing with the Diamondbacks for a second-place finish in the division and a possible wild card spot. Young bucks Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet will both have to grow up quickly at the front end of the rotation. Garrett Richards is the reclamation project of the bunch after only pitching 8.2 innings last season due to recovery from 2018 Tommy John surgery. Yet it’s worth remembering Richards won 28 games with the Angels over the 2014 and 2015 seasons and still presumably has enough life in his arm at age 32 to turn in a solid season. Zach Davies could surprise in the No. 4 slot, considering he’s a proven commodity who sports a solid 43-32 record and 3.91 ERA across five major-league seasons. Then, likely No. 5 starter Joey Lucchesi has certainly shown flashes in his first two campaigns during which he’s suffered some tough-luck losses but also had trouble keeping the ball in the park.
One positive for the Padres in case the starting pitchers need some propping up is what sets up as a rock-solid bullpen. Drew Pomeranz, Emilio Pagan and Craig Strammen are all proven commodities to varying degree. The group did suffer a hit recently when the promising Jose Castillo was diagnosed with a lat strain that could keep him out the first month of what is essentially a two-month season. Finally, Kirby Yates has the talent to reprise his role as one of the top closers in all of baseball after compiling 41 saves and recording a stellar 1.19 ERA and 0.89 WHIP during a breakout 2019.
There are undeniably a couple of Grade-A bats in the Padres’ lineup in the form of Tatis and Machado. Pham is arguably just a tier or two below when healthy and has displayed a penchant for going on prolific multi-game heaters in the past. Yet the order as a whole comes off as fairly top-heavy. The lack of overall depth and the question marks that are scattered throughout the starting rotation make the Friars a tough bet for even a division title despite the excellent prices. The presence of the Dodgers juggernaut in the NL West presents what appears to be an insurmountable obstacle.
An example of how a wager on the Padres winning the NL West would pay out at the current odds listed is as follows:
Wager amount: $10.00
Division winner odds: (DraftKings Sportsbook): +750
Payout: $85.00: ($75.00 + original $10.00 bet amount)
Padres odds: 2020
San Diego Padres
San Diego Padres
Padres betting breakdown
2019 Record: 70-92
Key losses: RHP Carl Edwards Jr., 2B Ian Kinsler, LHP Eric Lauer, OF Manuel Margot, OF Hunter Renfroe, 2B Luis Urias, RHP Adam Warren
Key additions: RHP Kyle Barraclough, RHP Zach Davies, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Trent Grisham, RHP Emilio Pagan, LHP Drew Pomeranz, IF Jurickson Profar, OF Tommy Pham, RHP Craig Stammen, RHP Jacob Yacobonis
- SS Fernando Tatis Jr (S)
- LF Tommy Pham (L)
- 3B Manny Machado (R)
- 1B Eric Hosmer (R)
- RF Wil Myers (R)
- CF Trent Grisham (L)
- 2B Jurickson Profar (R)
- DH Josh Naylor (L)
- C Francisco Mejia (R)
Projected rotation: RHP Chris Paddack, RHP Dinelson Lamet, RHP Garrett Richards, RHP Zach Davies, LHP Joey Lucchesi
Projected closer: RHP Kirby Yates
Bullpen strengths: The Padres’ pen will be one of the strongest units for the team this season. Kirby Yates is coming off an All-Star season with an MLB high 41 saves. Yates posted a 1.19 ERA and recorded 101 strikeouts in 60 games (51 GF). Emilio Pagan will be the main set-up man. Pagan posted a 2.31 ERA with 20 saves and 96 SO across 66 games with the Rays in 2019. Another set-up option, Drew Pomeranz, had a solid finish to 2019 after being traded to the Brewers. The lefty posted a 2.39 ERA with 45 strikeouts over 25 games down the stretch.
Bullpen weaknesses: LHP Jose Castillo is a lock in the pen. However, he’ll have to overcome a lat injury that could keep him out for several weeks to start the season. Castillo also sat out most of last season with a flexor strain in his left shoulder. He then tore a ligament in his throwing hand in his first game back and never pitched again in 2019. Matt Strahm will also be a prominent member of the pen and is coming off a disappointing 2019 during which he went 6-11 with a 4.71 ERA in 46 games.
Key stats from 2019
- RHP Kirby Yates led the Majors with 41 Saves in 2019. His 1.19 ERA was a club record for pitchers who played in at least 60 games.
- SS Fernando Tatis hit 22 HRs in 2019, the most of any shortstop under the age of 21 in MLB history. Tatis also stole 16 bases in 2019.
- Tatis led MLB rookies in OPS (.969) and SLG (.590) and was 2nd in OBP (.379), BA (.317) and stolen bases when his season ended on August 13th.
- RHP Chris Paddack posted the lowest WHIP (0.98) in Padres history in 2019. Only six other pitchers posted a sub-1.00 WHIP in 2019 (Cole, Flaherty, Verlander, deGrom and Grienke). He also had a 2.4 pWAR.
- 1B Eric Hosmer has a .557 OPS against lefties in the past two seasons with San Diego.
- Jurickson Profar is likely to start at second base despite being charged with 11 throwing errors in 2019.