Image: San Diego Padres
A Question You’d Rather “Dodge-r”
by Devon Stein
2021 Record: 79-83 (.488 win%, 3rd in Division)
2021 Payroll : $206,022,618 (5th)
Projected 2022 Lineup:
1. CF Trent Grisham, .283 AVG/.366 OBP/.590 SLG, 3.7 fWAR
2. 3B Manny Machado, .275 AVG/.351 OBP/.507 SLG, 5.0 fWAR
3. 2B Jake Cronenworth, .268 AVG/.345 OBP/.438 SLG, 3.4 fWAR
4. DH Luke Voit, .246 AVG/.338 OBP/.465 SLG, 1.6 fWAR
5. 1B Eric Hosmer, .268 AVG/.331 OBP/.433 SLG, 0.9 fWAR
6. RF Will Myers, .237 AVG/.318 OBP/.424 SLG, 1.1 fWAR
7. C Austin Nola, .261 AVG/.337 OBP/.406 SLG, 1.9 fWAR
8. LF Jurickson Profar, .241 AVG/.328 OBP/.393 SLG, 0.8 fWAR
9. SS Ha-Seong Kim, .249 AVG/.317 OBP/.411 SLG, 1.4 fWAR
Projected 2022 Rotation:
1. Sean Manaea, 175 IP/3.76 ERA/1.19 WHIP, 3.0 fWAR
2. Joe Musgrove, 179 IP/3.77 ERA/1.18 WHIP, 3.0 fWAR
3. Yu Darvish, 165 IP/4.03 ERA/1.19 WHIP, 2.6 fWAR
4. Blake Snell, 131 IP/3.77 ERA/1.26 WHIP, 2.2 fWAR
5. Mike Clevinger, 123 IP/3.61ERA/1.18 WHIP, 2.1 fWAR
Projected 2022 Top 3 Relievers:
1. Robert Suarez, 60 IP/3.78 ERA/1.25 WHIP, 0.3 fWAR
2. Pierce Johnson, 64 IP/3.89 ERA/1.28 WHIP, 0.7 fWAR
3. Craig Stammen, 64 IP/3.79 ERA/1.21 WHIP, 0.7fWAR
Honest question: Why did Tatis not come forward sooner with his injury? He is presumed to have broken his wrist back in December in a motorcycle accident, so let’s keep the 3 month time table he currently has after coming forward close to Spring Training. If he gets it checked out in mid-January, he misses at most two weeks at the beginning of the year to get in game shape. Instead, he is missing half the season. Blame it on the front office and the lockout or blame it on Tatis being irresponsible. I’m gonna take the high road and blame it on both sides, and that feels about right.
The big signings did not show up this year for the Padres. In fairness, when the base salary of multiple players on your team is higher than the 26 man payroll of other teams, you can probably get a pass for not being that big on the market. I’ll actually make an unnecessary bold prediction. Michael Conforto will become a Padre. The outfield needs some improvement while Tatis gets driving lessons, and I’m not convinced that Preller can go an entire offseason without signing someone to a big lump of money.
They did make some fair trades, though. Adding left-handed reliever Taylor Rogers, first baseman Luke Voit, and Oakland’s Sean Manaea. The Padres may not have made the level of improvement they did last offseason, but they should still be better from a talent perspective.
Fair Warning: I should mention that if you’re an Athletics fan, do not read this next part. Only pain exists for you, now and for always. Now back to the land of hope. Bob Melvin! 3x Manager of the Year Bob Melvin! Andy Green was always a terrible fit, and Jayce Tingler was simply not ready for the role. This is your guy! The Cubs had Joe Maddon, the Dodgers have Dave Roberts. I think half the league claims Tito. Now you have your guy too!
2022 Season Preview:
Do you want to know how uncertain the situation at shortstop is in San Diego? Google “San Diego Padres 2022 Projected Lineup” and be greeted to a list of 8 batters, instead of 9. What’s missing could be easily solved by C.J. Abrams. Isn’t it nice when you can replace an MVP candidate like Tatis with a top ten rated prospect?
Of course, with less than 80 professional games under his belt, and none above AA, there is reason to hold him back a little longer, especially if Ha-Seong Kim can make a sophomore emergence. Projections do give him a bump this year, but anything is better than the .202 average he hit last year.
Trent Grisham leads off the lineup and look, I’m just gonna say it now, I did not come up with those projections you see above. I’d love to believe this former top 100 prospect and basepath demon breaks out and slugs close to .600. He definitely has the talent to do so. However, in reality, his career statline so far usually hovers around .230/.330/.430, and besides being 100 points behind on slugging, that’s what he hit in this abbreviated spring training. So as is common in baseball, hope at your own peril!
Any success in Slam Diego, believe it or not, will not rely on the lineup, but in the rotation. That’s just what happens when you have multiple Cy Young candidates lining up for each game in a series. Five-time All Star Yu Darvish is your Opening Day starter, but Sean Manaea is your centerpiece. Nothing energizes a clubhouse more than a big name acquisition, and Preller decided to take up the A’s on that buy one, get one free offer (no offense meant to future All Star, Erubiel Angeles).
The rest of the rotation, made up by Mike Clevinger, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell, can all pull their own weight, and could be even better than Darvish and Manaea by season’s end. The bullpen is solid, and the minors have resplendent pitching depth.
Now here’s the situation: Win the division! That’s it. The last time you did so, Tatis was 7 years old. With an expanded playoffs and a weak field, the playoffs should be no doubt for the Padres. But to have a successful season, you need to have more wins then the Dodgers.
Record Prediction: 89-72
The NL West is the toughest division in baseball that doesn’t include the Blue Jays, and yet, each team is full of unknowns. Were the Giants of last year a fluke? Do the Dodgers still have the depth to be a 100 win team? Why the heck did the Rockies sign Kris Bryant? Let’s put all that aside.
The Padres still benefit from a much weaker National League, have a top-five starting rotation, and participate in the current best rivalry in baseball. (Be honest, those early Dodgers – Padres games last year were some of the best baseball in the past 5 years). Give them a healthy Tatis half way through the year, and that should be more than enough to make an expanded playoff field.
Player to Watch #1: 3B Manny Machado
I can’t help but notice that Manny Machado is not talked about nearly enough anymore. I call this Jeff Kent syndrome! It’s where you have one of the best players in the league, but nobody seems to notice or remember because you have another superstar who is a bit better, and so much more of an engaging personality.
Tatis is injured, the Padres are coming off an embarrassing season, and you have a player who averaged 30 HR and .280 average over his first 10 years in the bigs. It would be reasonable to say that you need Machado to step up; to be better than he has been. In truth, you just need to get Grisham and others on base, so that one of the best five players at the hot corner can drive ‘em in. Slam Diego indeed!
Player to Watch #2: SP MacKenzie Gore
Look, CJ Abrams is such an interesting player, and if he forces himself as a mainstay in the lineup, the storylines will be fantastic when Tatis returns. But you can’t write about a guy who has hardly ever played. That’s why I’m writing about the guy who has seen even less innings.
Here’s the thing: Gore was a top ten prospect in baseball going into last season, then pitched to a 5.85 ERA in AAA and a 6.35 ERA in AZFL. This Spring, he struck out 16 batters over 12 innings, and everyone is hot for him. He needs more seasoning, and I’m sorry, Padres fans, even without Paddack and Clevinger, there’s no room to test a young kid out, not in such a competitive division. In a year, where it is a bit more common to put top prospects on opening day rosters, Gore was rightfully left off.
Player to Watch #3: SP Mike Clevinger
When you trade 6 players for a pitcher and Greg Allen, you better hope that pitcher is either an All Star, or somehow this is a different Greg Allen that is so underwhelming, he’s forced to sign with the Pirates. So far that has not been the case, not at the fault of “Sunshine” Clevinger (Seriously, these BR nicknames are awesome!).
Mike has the arsenal to not just be a valuable piece, but the type of player who pushes you over the edge in the postseason. The only problem is when will he play, and what will he look like when we get there. Tatis is not the only injured player the Padres front office really wants to see come back strong.
Categories: 2022 Season Preview