2010 Rewind: 90-72, 2nd Place in NL West. This time a year ago the only news anyone thought the Padres would make in 2010 was going to be where and when they trade their stud first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. But the team got off to a hot start and maintained their lead in division for most of the summer. They held on to Gonzalez and made a run for the playoffs only to come up short on the last day of the season.
The Good: While Gonzalez provided the majority of offense for the Padres, it was pitching that reigned supreme in spacious Petco Park. Clayton Richard, Jon Garland and Mat Latos each won 14 games in 2010. Latos led the starters with a 2.92 ERA and 189 strikeouts. The bullpen was just as good as the starters thanks to the dominance of closer Heath Bell. The two-time All-Star saved 47 games last season while posting a 1.93 ERA. He blew just three saves and his last won was on May 26.
The Bad: Not much can be worse than being in first place for most of the season, struggling in September and missing the playoffs on the last day of the year. But it there is some fuel to be added to the fire it is that they could have gotten a lot more had they traded Gonzalez in July. Their playoff run may have ended much sooner without him, but the organization would have been better prepared for the future.
Biggest Loss: Obviously the Padres can’t replace Gonzalez and they are not trying to do so. But the team also lost a slew of regulars from last year’s squad. The list includes Garland, Kevin Correia, David Eckstein, Jerry Hairston Jr., Yorvit Torrealba and Matt Stairs. While none of those guys are crucial parts to winning a pennant, the chemistry the Padres formed as a team in 2010 will likely be gone.
Best Addition: The Padres look to improve the middle of their defense with the additions of Orlando Hudson at second base, Jason Bartlett at shortstop and Cameron Maybin in centerfield. They hope Brad Hawpe will provide some power while covering first base. On the mound veteran Aaron Harang hopes to revive his career going from a hitter’s park to one the appeals to pitchers.
Fantasy Slant: San Diego provides little offensive help to a fantasy squad. Third baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Will Veneable have some upside but are only worth a late round pick in a fantasy draft. The pitching is a different story thanks to the big ballpark. Heath Bell is clearly one of the top closers in the game and should drafted as such. Richard and Latos may struggle to get 14 wins without run support, but they should otherwise finish with solid numbers.
Final Take: It is going to be very difficult for the Padres to win 90 games again in 2011. They lost their best player along with numerous other contributors and play in a division that has three teams that certainly look better on paper. While anything is possible expectations should not be too high in San Diego…2011 Record: 80-82, fourth place in the NL West.
Fantasy Baseball, MLB