San Diego was quite busy this offseason. Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko are the only starters from last season that will be in the starting lineup for San Diego. They’ve traded a lot of youth to acquire players like Justin Upton, Matt Kemp and Wil Myers, but they now have a team that could make the postseason.
The Padres are in the unfortunate position of being in the same division as the Dodgers and the defending World Series champions, the Giants. San Francisco doesn’t look as opposing, but the Dodgers might be the best team in the Majors. The road to a postseason berth will be a difficult one.
Can San Diego contend this season or will they face the same growing pains the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays faced after completing so many offseason trades?
Here is the 2015 MLB season preview for the San Diego Padres.
2014 Win/Loss Record: 77-85
Key Additions: OF Justin Upton, SP James Shields, OF Wil Myers, OF Matt Kemp, 3B Will Middlebrooks, C Derek Norris, SP Shawn Kelley, RP Brandon Maurer, SP Brandon Morrow, C Tim Federowicz, SS Clint Barmes, RP Marcos Mateo, RP Jose Valverde & 3B Brett Wallace
Key Losses: OF Seth Smith, SP Jesse Hahn, C Yasmani Grandal, SP Eric Stults, SP Tim Stauffer, SS Everth Cabrera, RP Blaine Boyer, C Rene Rivera, 2B Chris Nelson, RP Donn Roach & RP R.J. Alvarez
Interleague Schedule: AL West
Projected Starters: Derek Norris, Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Yangervis Solarte, Alexi Amarista, Justin Upton, Wil Myers & Matt Kemp
Projected Starting Rotation: James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy & Brandon Morrow
Closer: Joaquin Benoit
Fantasy Sleeper: 3B Will Middlebrooks – Middlebrooks is one of this year’s ‘post-hype’ sleepers. He came hot out of the gate in Boston when he was first called-up in 2012. The Red Sox actually traded Kevin Youkilis because Middlebrooks showed so much promise. He then spent the next few seasons bouncing between the Majors, Triple-A and the disabled list. He fell out of favor with the team and was shipped to San Diego for backup catcher Ryan Hanigan. Middlebrooks has a shot of winning the third base job over Yangervis Solarte. He needs a strong Spring Training, so keep an eye on the position battle.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Matt Wisler – The Padres traded a nice portion of their top prospects in trades this offseason. Wisler is one of the few MLB-ready prospects San Diego still have in their farm system. Wisler has done well in the minors, but hit wall last season in Triple-A. In 22 starts, he had a 5.01 ERA and a 101/36 K/BB rate in 116.2 innings pitched. He will begin the year in Triple-A and should have a full workload. They will stretch him out in hopes of getting near 180 innings.
Team Analysis: San Diego hired the Texas Rangers former assistant general manager A.J. Preller to fill their vacant GM position. He was hired in early August and within a few months, he transformed the roster into a potential playoff team.
San Diego has been stocking their farm system for quite awhile under previous general managers. They haven’t had a good track record of developing homegrown talent in recent years. Jedd Gyorko is the only one to recently have success in the Majors. Preller knows that in today’s MLB, prospects are valued much higher than MLB-ready talent…so he packaged some of them up for former All-Stars.
The Padres might have mortgaged their future for short-term success, but there comes a point in which a team has to do just that. Preller is a new GM, so if his move doesn’t work, he’ll just draft his own guys and start all over. I believe they will battle for a Wild Card spot in the National League.
2015 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 84.5 (Prediction: OVER)
2015 Projected Win/Loss Record: 85-77 (2nd in NL West)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.