FanShot

Beyond the Box Score Power Rankings

4

"The Padres were forecast by almost all major projection systems as being at the bottom of the NL West. But so far this year, they've been the toast of their division, both in the win column and in our statistics-based rankings. All three winning percentages that we calculate--actual winning %, PythagenPat winning %, and our component w%--all have the Padres at about the same mark: .630-.649. In other words, [...] they're winning because they are playing well, not because they're getting lucky with how they bunch together their hits. What makes them tick? When you think of Padres teams, you typically think of pitching and fielding. This year's team is no exception. They rank 2nd in the NL in park-adjusted runs allowed, and first overall in estimated runs allowed--nearly the same total in each case (95 vs. 92 runs). They are tied for the lead in xFIP with the Giants at 3.82, so clearly the pitching so far has been awesome. Their 5 relatively no-name starters have all been solid to good, with xFIPs ranging from 3.56 (Correia) to 4.70 (Garland). Their bullpen, however, has been unreal: with the exceptions of Sean Gallagher (who has been bad) and Joe Thatcher (3.77), all of their relievers have xFIP's of 3.32 or lower. Closer Heath Bell has a 2.08 xFIP, striking out almost 14 per 9 while walking just over 3/9. Interestingly, their position players haven't been bad either. They currently sport a combined +16 runs fielding rating (based on UZR, DRS, and catching), which is the best in the league. And their offense has been pretty solid: wOBA is 0.336 (park adjusted, with baserunning included), which is 7th overall in the league. Adrian Gonzalez has been a monster as expected, and they've received pleasantly surprising performances from Chase Headley, Will Venable, Scott Hairston, and Yorvit Torrealba. The question, of course, is can it last? It won't come as a surprise if I say "probably not": I believe the fielding, and I can buy into the hitting, at least a little bit. But I think it's likely that the pitching slips, especially in the bullpen where there is no place to go but down. Still, I think there's a decent chance that these guys could end up with a 0.500 season. We'll see. For now, they are the kings of the West, and rank as the 4th best team (to date) in baseball."

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