Dodgers’ 2019 NL West Outlook: San Diego Padres
The Padres went 66-96 last season, finishing 7 games behind the lowly Giants in the NL West standings. The team was largely in rebuilding mode last season, though in the latter stages, as they mostly rotated in prospects at every position. The outfield saw five major contributors and the infield saw position battles and swaps all season long.
Only the highest paid player from last season’s roster, first basemen Eric Hosmer, was kept out of the rotational fray, though his performance was far below his career norms in his first season hitting at Petco Park, a stadium known to suppress left-handed power.
Hosmer hit just .253 last season, the lowest mark of his career, to go along with his 18 home runs. Most alarmingly the slugger had a career-high strikeout rate of 21.0%, more than 3% higher than his career average. If Hosmer can’t turn things around in year two of his megadeal, the team will struggle to put up runs, even with the additions of a new wave of highly-touted prospects and of course Manny Machado.
Last season, the Padres had trouble not only plating runs but also in keeping their opponents from scoring. The team finished 28th in baseball in runs scored last seasons, ahead of only the Giants and the Miami Marlins.
Their pitching wasn’t much better. The team’s 4.40 team ERA and 71 quality starts ranked the staff 21st in all of baseball. The one area the Padres’ pitchers did relatively well in was in strikeouts. The “Pad Squad” pitching staff racked up 1399 strikeouts in 2018, good for 14th in the MLB, placing them in the top half of the league.
All of this being said, it is obvious that the Padres did poorly in 2018. But with new pitching and hitting prospects on the way, and free agent signings all offseason long, the team should win more than 66 games in 2019. But that’s for a later section.