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2023 Padres Season Review: Luis Campusano and Brett Sullivan

Looking back on Luis Campusano and Brett Sullivan’s 2023 seasons

St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

2023 Regular Season Statistics

Luis Campusano: 1.1 fWAR, 49 G, .319 AVG, .356 OBP, .491 SLG, 134 wRC+, 27 R, 30 RBI, 7 HR

Brett Sullivan: -0.4 fWAR, 33 G, .210 AVG, .244 OBP, .284 SLG, 46 wRC+, 7 R, 6 RBI, 1 HR

Positives From This Season

Campusano is one of the what ifs in the Padres 2023 season. What if he didn’t go on the IL two times and miss multiple months during those stints? What if the Padres decided to give him consistent major league playing time before they finally did over Austin Nola? Who knows what numbers he would’ve put up.

But when he was on the field he showed why he was deserving of consistent playing time. The 25-year-old hit well over .300 and was also well above league average in weighted runs created plus. The Padres badly needed one of their own catchers to come up and provide offensive impact because it hadn’t happened in a very long time. Austin Nola certainly wasn’t cutting it.

Campusano not only performed at the plate but it was clear that he had worked on the other crucial aspects of being a catcher in MLB, such as his relationships with pitchers and remaining focused in games.

Nola noticed it in spring training. “Working at the things that you’re not natural at, that’s the hardest thing to do,” the Padres opening day catcher said. “[Campusano’s] doing a good job of sticking with it. I mean, props to him.”

He has now proven to the Padres he deserves to be a part of their catching plans but it’s TBD on if he’ll be the full starting catcher in 2024. Gary Sanchez or another catcher could be brought in to platoon alongside Campusano again.

Sullivan isn’t someone who’s going to jump out at you statistically as this amazing catcher but from watching his games this season, I was impressed at how well it seemed like he was communicating with the Padres pitching staff and when he had some moments to step up he didn’t try to do to much at the plate. He’ll be a solid depth option in the minors again next year.

Negatives From This Season

Campusano’s injuries weren’t something I’m blaming him for but they were significant setbacks in his season. He was warming up Nick Martinez in April between innings and ended up with a left thumb sprain. If you remember, he ended up homering the next night.

We thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal until Bob Melvin told reporters at Dodger Stadium that Campusano had thumb surgery and would be out for a significant period of time. Campusano didn’t return until July 18, which allowed San Diego to send Nola down. He also sprained his right ankle and ended up going on the IL before the season ended.

There were times where it seemed like Campusano was trying to do too much at the plate but that better approach usually comes with more experience in these big situations. Also with more experience should come improvement from him behind the plate.

As for Sullivan, he obviously wasn’t a strong offensive player whenever he got playing time. The 29-year-old had a well below league average OPS+ with essentially no power but it’s not like fans should’ve expected him to come up and hit like Adley Rutschman.