This Padres are both very bad and also interesting, for those trying to divine our fortunes ~2019 or so. While the farm is developing and several young players seem to be blossoming (Hedges, Margot, Renfroe, Cordoba), overall the team is pretty bad. Most fans expected this. Something I noticed a few weeks ago was the Padres had a really awful run differential. When I sorted by run differential on ESPN's standing page, it looked like SDN was about full standard deviation away from the next worst team. So this got me wondering, how did this season look in comparison to all seasons since 1961 when they moved to the 162 game format? Short answer: historically bad.
Here are the run differentials for all teams 1961-2016.
One can see that being worse than -200 runs is a pretty rare and bad feat and getting to -300 is even more so of both. As of the 5-2 win over the Cubs (on 5/29/17), the Padres have a -91 differential with 53 games played, projecting out to ~ -278 for the season.
It made me wonder, would this be the worst Padres season (by run differential) ever? Quite possibly. Below are all the Padres' seasons through the same time period:
Just to kick the hornets' nest, for all the Towers' haters, please note that 5 of the 7 best seasons we had came under his management. Anyway, one can see that early in the Padres' history they (understandably) had some dismal seasons. 2003 was their worst recent season (-153; yes, also Towers), so this year's team is on track to obliterate that total. So the low benchmarks are 1974 (-289), 1969 (-278) and 1973 (-222). For what it is worth, the worst during this span was Detroit in 2003 (-337). The second worst was also Detroit in 1996 (-320), with Padres' 1974 season in third.
So below is our current pacing against these benchmarks. After the 2015 mistakes, Preller has the team on tear down and rebuild path with some potentially tantalizing results out there, but some really bad seasons have to come first. Attendance is down, as it was in Houston during their rebuild, but I doubt few of those fans are complaining too much now. It should also be noted the Detroit was in the World Series in 2006, just three seasons after their record setting, abysmal season in 2003. But we should also take some solace that we are witnessing some historically bad baseball.