After a dismal 2018 with the only bright spots seeming far away, the future seems to have the potential to be blinding. The record-setting Manny Machado signing put the Padres back on the map for 2019, and really for the next half-decade or so of Machado’s prime. The Gold Glover will be paired with up-and-comers Luis Urias and Fernando Tatis Jr., both of whom could grow into transformative talents if they hit on their lofty potential.
Beyond the well-known Tatis and Urias, the Padres have a loaded stock of young pitchers set to make an impact this season as well who have received much less press. Most notable in this group though by far is Chris Paddack. The 6’4 righty has no MLB experience as of yet, but in his 4.2 innings of Spring Training thus far, Paddack has racked up 7 strikeouts.
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In his three minor league seasons, Paddack has a minuscule 1.82 ERA and 230 strikeouts in his 177.2 innings pitched. Paddack’s best season came in 2017 when he finished with 2 wins and a 0.85 ERA in 42.1 innings pitched, but last season was his best in terms of innings pitched, finishing with 90 innings in 2018.
Besides Machado, the team added a few veterans, most notably second basemen Ian Kinsler, who will provide playoff experience and stability to the young team, and bullpen arm Adam Warren.
Even if the Padres don’t win half their games in 2019, their potential to be a thorn in the sides of the top teams in the NL West has not gone unnoticed. The Padres will no longer be a pushover for the foreseeable future, making the Dodgers’ quest to October even more difficult than it has been these past six seasons.
Fangraphs’ Depth Charts system projects the Padres to win 78 games this season, a 12-game increase, and depending on the young studs who will surely rise up as the season progresses, the team could surpass the Dbacks as the third best team in the NL West in short order.