One of the most common themes surrounding the Padres as we inch closer to Opening Day is that this team is young, talented, and ready to surprise. They’ve been named to a number of preseason “teams to watch” lists and that trend is only going to continue up until July 24.
In ESPN’s most recent article centered around “Answering the biggest questions ahead of (the) 2020 season,” MLB insiders Jeff Passan, Alden Gonzalez, Bradford Doolittle, Jay Jaffe, and Jesse Rogers gathered together to spout their opinions on a myriad of topics, including 2020 “breakthrough” teams and teams that will fall flat in 2020 after strong 2019 seasons.
Out of six votes, five teams were named as potential breakthrough squads, including the Padres, who were suggested by Mr. Gonzalez. Here’s what he had to say about the team:
“They were still another year or two away in a conventional sense. But shrink the season by almost two-thirds, and all of a sudden a lineup with Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado can have a major impact, and a nucleus of young starters that includes Chris Paddack, MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino can pitch with fewer restrictions, and a lights-out reliever like Kirby Yates can be used a lot more freely. Yes, the Dodgers are in their division. So what?”
In a normal 162-game season, the schedule resembles more of a marathon than a sprint. The older, more-experienced veterans have learned how to handle the length of the season and that’s why they usually have an edge over the youngsters. But in an abbreviated season like 2020, the youth in San Diego could very well end up being a blessing.