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Padres 2015 Preview: Projected Lineup(s)

A look at the batting orders and defense the Friars will put forward this season.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Projected Lineup

CF Wil Myers R

1B Yonder Alonso L

RF Matt Kemp R

LF Justin Upton R

C Derek Norris R

2B Jedd Gyorko R

3B Will Middlebrooks R

SS Alexi Amarista L

SP --- -

This is the lineup that tries to feature every major acquisition while including some of the key holdovers. A.J. Preller made some major moves to upgrade the lineup and it both passes the eye test and the spreadsheet test. Talking heads praise the power added. One projection, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA, has 4 of these guys hitting 20+ HRs. That would be a team record.

Platoons

One very astute criticism of this new look lineup is that is righty heavy. This appears to be an unexpected consequence of A.J. Preller’s quest for power bats. Right handed power plays better than left handed power at Petco Park, but not well enough to give up a platoon advantage at all times. However, a couple of those right handed swingers, like Kemp and Upton and maybe Myers, don’t suffer from a said major platoon disadvantage. Others like Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks definitely do.

The Padres lack depth at backup catcher, especially left handed ones, so it appears Norris will get plenty of opportunities to improve against right handed pitching. However, unless Middlebrooks gets hot one could easily see him losing at bats to Yangervis Solarte - a switch hitter.

The Padres will face righties more than lefties, but that doesn’t mean they should ignore additional advantages they can get versus southpaws. Nearly forgotten offseason acquisition Clint Barmes could spell Amarista at SS (or maybe he’ll just win the job outright). Alonso also has a weakness versus lefties. Carlos Quentin is trying to learn 1B and Solarte and Middlebrooks have taken grounders there in camp. It looks like Tommy Medica will begin the season in AAA due to a roster crunch, but he could be up at some point and platoon as well. The Padres could easily field an all right handed lineup if they want to.

Defense

Normally when you think of the lineup you think of the batting order, but the players picked for their sticks also have to play the field. The outfield has been called out for this unbalanced aspect of their makeup many times this offseason. Matt Kemp, a former CF, has been relegated to a corner outfield spot now, but even there his defense is iffy at best. Wil Myers has been pegged to move to CF after playing mostly RF in his first couple seasons. Some believe this is too big of an ask at a park that asks a lot of its CF, but he’s up to the challenge. Justin Upton plays a passable LF, and is probably an upgrade on last year’s LFs, but with the other question marks in the OF it is just another spot missing a plus defender.

The OF gets a lot of flak because of the tradeoff of defense for offense, but the infield is overlooked more because it is forgettable rather than something the Padres can hang their hats on. Only Barmes could possibly be a defensive asset in front of those slugging OFs. Alonso, Gyorko and Middlebrooks are hardly butchers at their respective positions, they are all adequate glovesmen. So that makes 7 players out in the field that have no chance at a gold glove and that is a bit scary when considered as a group.


Derek Norris fits the respective theme of the rest of the defenders. He’s not bad, he’s not great. He’s just O.K. He only stands out because last year the Padres had a strong defender behind the plate in Rene Rivera and as well as a promising one in Yasmani Grandal. Just another way that the defense has been downgraded from 2014 as way to upgrade a weak, weak offense.