San Diego Padres 2019 Season Preview
2018 Record: 66 – 96
Projected 2019 Record: 81 – 81
2018 Recap & 2019 Team Outlook
Ever since 2010, there hasn’t been much to say about the San Diego Padres. They haven’t broken .500 or come close to the playoffs in 8 years and every promising open day just seems to cap what turns into a disappointing season.
The Padres were hopeful after signing Eric Hosmer’s big bat following the 2017, but the lefty slugger didn’t make as big of an impact as hoped. His first year in San Diego was underwhelming, batting .257 and only knocking in 69 RBIs.
In terms of positives, there really weren’t many at all. The organization hit for neither power nor average, and the pitching staff’s overall performance was subpar. A possible upside could be the emergence of Franmil Reyes, who came up in May and hit .280 with 16 homers.
After finishing at the bottom of the NL West once again, the Padres knew they were going to have to make some big moves in the offseason. Enter Manny Machado, who San Diego signed to one of the biggest contacts in MLB history: $300 million over 10 years.
Machado spent last season split between the Orioles and Dodgers and proved incredibly useful and impactful to both teams. Between Machado and Hosmer, Padres fans hope that the lineup will finally be able to get on base and produce runs.
The also added two veteran bats in Ian Kinsler and Allen Craig, although their impact on the Padres overall will likely be nothing compared to that of Machado.
Finally, it will be interesting to see how the starting pitching fairs against a tough, lineup heavy NL West. And that goes for the bullpen as well, who are currently without a named closer.
2019 Starting Pitchers
It is difficult to tell who the Padres will start opening day. A good bet is Joey Lucchesi, who was a rookie last season. He went 8 – 9 with an ERA of 4.08 in his first big league season. Another possible bet is rookie Chris Paddack. The 23-year-old is yet to pitch in a big-league game but has been throwing some solid stuff in the minors. His minors career thus far features an ERA of less than 2.00, yet a minor leaguer’s performance is never an exact representation of how they will perform in the big leagues.
Following these two will be Eric Lauer, Matthew Strahm, and Robbie Erlin. Lauer, like Lucchesi, was also a rookie last year, going 6 – 7 with an ERA of 4.34. Strahm has a few years of big-league experience but is still just 27. He went 3 – 4 last season with an ERA of 2.05, but it is important to note he pitched mostly out of the bullpen. Erlin, a 28-year-old southpaw, put up numbers similar to those of the rest of his staff last season. He went 4 – 7 with a 4.21 ERA.
If there is one positive about this rotation, it is that all 5 of the teams’ starters are young and will likely grow as pitchers. San Diego has a very strong farm system and hopes to grow these young studs into a rotation full of dominant arms.
2019 Relief Pitchers
Despite the fact that doubts surrounding San Diego’s starting pitching, their bullpen actually looks solid. Although no closer has officially been named, Kirby Yates will likely be their 9th inning man. Yates has some solid experience across both the AL and NL. This will be his 3rd season in San Diego; last season he went 5 – 3 with an ERA of 2.14.
Another solid reliever is Craig Stamman, who will also be playing in his third season in San Diego. He went 8 – 3 with an ERA just over 2.00 in 2018 but has faced some injury over the last few seasons. Adam Warren is another notable bullpen arm. He played last season in Seattle, going 3 – 1 with a 3.74 ERA.
For a team that season after season has poor offensive production, there’s surprisingly a lot of names we can talk about here. It is first important to note, however, that big names have not always resulted in big offensive seasons for the Friars. The club hopes to crush this stereotype in 2019 with a lineup that looks more bolstered than it has in recent years.
Let’s start with the new guy on the block, Manny Machado. Expect to see him in the 2 or 3 slot in the lineup and for good reason. Over the past 4 seasons he has consistently hit around 35 homeruns and knocked in over 85 RBIs. He is a 4x all-star and whether you like him or not, you can’t argue with the fact that he is a true leader.
Two other big bats are Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers. Despite the struggles of last season, Hosmer will usually hit for around 20 home runs. Plus, he (along with Machado) can hit for average, something needed desperately by the Padres. Myers struggled with injury last season, but when he’s healthy his bat has some serious pop. He’s shown potential of hitting up to 30 homeruns and adding another 80-90 RBIs.
There’s no question that Ian Kinsler is slowing down, but he can still get on base and score runs. Plus, he plays some solid defense at second base. It is also worth mentioning Hunter Renfroe. While his seasons tend to be up and down, he never fails to provide some extra power and often hits around 25 homeruns a season.
All in all, if the Padres are to have an impactful offensive season, they will need to first focus on average and OBP before worrying about power and run production. After all, with Machado and Hosmer at the heart of your lineup, run production shouldn’t be an issue.
Projected Starting Lineup
Noteworthy Fantasy Pitchers
Kirby Yates – Kirby Yates is first in line to lock down some saves in San Diego, but also will bring you an above average source of strikeouts. He has had a 35%+ strikeout rate in the last two seasons, and has kept guys off base via the walk. He has struggled with the long ball at times in his career, and if he can keep that in check, he will be a strong closer.
Chris Paddack – San Diego has spent on their offense, and their rotation needs work. However, Chris Paddack is the young arm that is now making a case to be the guy in San Diego for a long time. He is a big right-hander, who has elite control. His minor league numbers were solid, but this Spring Training is where he is breaking out. They will take it easy with Paddack, but 140-150 innings is worth an investment from him.
Noteworthy Fantasy Hitters
Manny Machado – Manny Machado took his talents to San Diego, which gives a big bump to the team, but what does it do for his fantasy value. Machado is still a 30+ HR hitter, even in a tough Petco Park. He is also a doubles machine, which will continue. Hard to say that Machado is going to take a drop given the names around him. This is a somewhat underrated bunch. If they can stay healthy and cut the K% down a bit, there will be plenty of offense in sunny San Diego.
Wil Myers – When healthy, Wil Myers is a 15+ SB threat and can push for 30 HR. However, 2018 was not a healthy year and the concern is always there for a player who has had a few seasons cut short due to injuries. The combination of speed and power is a friendly fantasy asset. Taking him at the right ADP is key, and also having a backup plan is wise too.