According to Fangraphs, the Padres have a 0% chance to win the division.
How about a wild card spot? Well, the team is currently 38-40. They’re sitting just 2.5 games back in said wild card race, and they’re doing that with the worst bullpen they’ve had since at least the turn of the Century. Below are the playoff odds for any NL team that’s not a division leader.
Regardless, help is undoubtedly on the way. 8.2% seems low for a team that at times looks like they can compete for the division next year. They’ve looked like a playoff team time after time this year. But hey, a 0.1% chance to win the World Series? I’ll take it!
Anyways, let’s go ahead and grade each position.
Austin Hedges has been the starter all year, but the Padres have been waiting for him to hit since 2015. Unfortunately, he’s hitting .195 with a .259 OBP. He’s also struck out nearly double the amount of times he’s gotten a hit. His plus defense has kept the wolves away for now, but Francisco Mejia has been getting starts recently. He’s eager to prove himself. Kudos to Hedges for being a good mentor.
Most pundits were critical of Eric Hosmer last season. Not sure what they expected when we surrounded him with Christian Villanueva and Cory Spangenberg among others. Hosmer struggled, but he had the weight of a massive contract on his shoulders. Odd year Hosmer is hitting .283 with 11 HR and 51 RBI. The 51 RBI is 1st on the team and 12th in the NL. He’s been the middle of the order bat they expected, plus he’s a big time leader in the clubhouse. So far, he’s had a solid bounce back year.
Ian Kinsler has been controversial all year. He started the year in a deep slump, hitting .111 in April. After a late 3 run homer in May, Kinsler yelled F*** you all... which he promptly said was a way to fire his team up. Of course, this was after he’d been heavily booed for playing poorly. You can decide what that was. Either way, he’s played better lately but still just hitting .220. His .277 OBP is better than only Austin Hedges among starters, and it’s not by much. He’s started to lose playing time to Greg Garcia, but the Padres seem to have dug in their heels due to the financial obligation they made.
Fernando Tatis Jr has been sensational in his rookie season. It’s a darn shame he got hurt and missed a month. He’d be a lock for an all-star appearance. Heck, he may still get there. His slash line is .323 8 HR 23 RBI and 9 SB’s. He’s also made some ridiculous plays defensively. If he stays healthy and continues hit, he’ll be in the running for Rookie of the Year as well. This kid is the real deal. The shortstop fans have waited 50+ years for.
Manny Machado arrived in San Diego with more hype than any player in Padres history. I know this because social media was blowing up with guys chugging beers in celebration. Machado has played elite defense, while providing an edge the Padres desperately needed. It took his bat a little while to heat up, but he’s been on a tear hitting .375 with 6 HR and 16 RBI over the last 15 games. His slash line of a .278 BA 16 HR and 47 RBI are close to his career average. Manny has been as advertised and here to stay.
Franmil Reyes has dramatically improved his defense, but it’s his bat that earned him the starting job. Early on, the Franimal was on fire. He’s cooled off over the last month though. He’s hitting .245 with 20 HR and 36 RBI. Nobody in the league hits the ball harder than the 23 year old. Literally. We’ll see how he adjust in the coming weeks, but there’s no question he’s a starter in this league. The big question is whether or not he’ll be a Padre. Rumors have swirled all season regarding a possible trade. For now, his improved defense and slugging ability make him a constant threat.
Both Wil Myers and the Padres were hoping he’d have a bounce back year. The team tried to move him in the offseason, but his contract was too rich and a deal wasn’t made. Unfortunately, he’s been really bad offensively. The seemingly healthy Myers is also playing yet another new position, but his .219 BA and .315 OBP leave a lot to be desired. He also has just 11 HR and 24 RBI. The team is in a really tricky situation, but there’s no question they’ll trying to move the ailing slugger again in July.
Surprise of the year? Hunter Renfroe. The 27 year old former 1st round pick and really found himself. He’s hitting just .251, but leads the team with 23 HR’s. His 44 RBI are tied with Machado for 2nd on the team. He also has a rocket of an arm, providing impressive defense to go with his clutch bat. The Padres (and fans) have been very pleased with Renfroe. He has a chance to be just the 5th Padre ever to hit 40 HR’s. In fact, he could challenge Greg Vaughn’s 50 if he gets hot.
Look, I’ll give Andy Green credit in saying I don’t envy what he’s had to do managing the rotation in terms of innings limits. Chris Paddack, Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer have all pitched very well at times. Both Lucchesi and Paddack have sub-4 ERA’s, while Lauer would if he didn’t have to pitch in Colorado ever again. In fact, it’d be in the low to mid 3’s. Both Nick Margevicius and Matt Strahm have faded (Margevicius more like a free fall) but all in all the rotation has exceeded expectations. They’ve put the team in position to win games more often than not. A far cry from the liability were expected to be.
As I typed Bullpen, I actually got a little chill. Not in a good way. For 20 years, we’ve seen mostly elite bullpens. Ya, we were spoiled. What a fall from grace for a team that was Top 5 in this category last year. That team had Brad Hand (for the first half) as well as Adam Cimber. It had a healthy Jose Castillo and effective Robert Stock. Craig Stammen was pitching at an elite level. Alas, here we are. Kirby Yates has been excellent, even though he blew his 1st game of the year this past Sunday. He gets a pass. Phil Maton, Gerardo Reyes, Matt Wisler, Adam Warren, Brad Wieck and Craig Stammen have all pitched very poorly. Trey Wingenter has been good, but his stint on the IL hurt the team. Even with that missed time He still has 29 appearances. The only other Pitcher that has pitched well is Luis Perdomo. The team actually used him in the 8th inning the other day which was nice to see. Regardless, the Pen’ is a major issue that has to be addressed soon. They’ve directly caused at least 10 losses this year, taking the team from holding a commanding wild card lead to 2.5 games out.
All together, the end result is a team that is 38-40 and in the hunt. There have positive and negative surprises. As Andy Green likes to say, that’s baseball. If they can address their bullpen issues and potentially add another starter, they will continue to stay in the mix throughout the year. They may even shake up their outfield a bit, we’ll see. Either way, That’s a far cry from the last 8 years of misery.