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Padres have matched 2018 win total

Sunday’s victory over Colorado brings club to 66 wins this season

Colorado Rockies v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

The Padres haven’t enjoyed many walkoffs this year, making Wil Myers closing, 10th inning knock in yesterday’s ballgame all the more enjoyable.

Better yet, with their 66th victory on the year, the Padres now have pulled even with last season’s win total. With 20 games left to go, just a 10-10 record the rest of the way would give San Diego a 10-win improvement on 2018’s 66-96 record.

Obviously, many believed that 2019 was a .500-or-bust proposition. Still, it’s important to remember that there is recent precedent for clubs jumping from the 70-win area into postseason contention the following year.

Before their 90-win 2018 season, the Atlanta Braves went 72-90 in 2017. That year’s Atlanta club faced innumerable questions surrounding their youthful pitching staff; their 2017 roster featured a laundry list of fringe players (Jace Peterson, Adonis Garcia) and washed-up vets (Bartolo Colon, anyone?).

Atlanta’s 2018 jump into NL East supremacy was fueled in large part by the promotions of marquee prospects like Ronald Acuna Jr. and Ozzie Albies, year-over-year improvements by young players like Mike Foltynewicz, and savvy veteran signings in the form of Anibal Sanchez and Charlie Culberson.

Will the Padres have a similar formula for improvement heading into 2020?

While the club doesn’t expect the promotion of a position player as impactful as Acuna Jr., it would not be shocking—given recent organizational behavior—to see the club break camp with embryonic “ace” Mackenzie Gore toeing the bump. Year-over-year improvements are also certainly possible for players like Luis Urias, Josh Naylor, and Wil Myers, and a look at the 2020 Free Agent market reveals several names—including starter Rich Hill and reliever Will Smith—that could represent unsexy-yet-impactful additions for the 2020 Friars.

Having already reached last season’s win plateau, the time has come to start envisioning how this club can rocket themselves into the 90-win stratosphere and beyond in the coming years.