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2006 San Diego Preview
by Scott Glab, Baseball Evolution
March 6, 2006



2006 Team Preview: San Diego Padres

2006 Team Preview: San Diego Padres

 

by Scott Glab

 

2005 Record: 82-80 (1st Place)

2005 Runs Scored: 684

2005 Runs Allowed: 726

Expected 2005 Record: 77-85

 

The San Diego Padres won the NL West last year as the least impressive division champ in recent memory.They were outscored significantly by their opponents in one of the most pitching-friendly parks in the league.And they didnít pitch particularly well either, save in relief.It was reasonable and unsurprising when the Cardinals swept them in the first round of the playoffs.

 

But this was also a team that won 87 games in 2004 and finished 3rd in the division.So what are we likely to expect from this crop of religious figures?

 

 

Catcher

2005 Starter: Ramon Hernandez

Projected 2006 Starters: Mike Piazza, Doug Mirabelli

††††††††††† The Orioles felt they needed 3 starter-type catchers on their roster and yanked the overrated Hernandez away in free agency.So late in the off-season, the Padres turned to Mike Piazza, in the hopes that his aging frame still had some oomph to it.While they say that Piazza will be able to catch all that he wants, itís realistic to expect Mirabelli to start every 4th game, especially considering he was bought for the serices of Mark Loretta.The Padres should get good offense out of the catcher position, but this is as bad a defensive twosome behind the plate as I can recall.

 

First Base

2005 Starters: Phil Nevin, Xavier Nady, Mark Sweeney, Robert Fick

Projected 2006 Starter: Ryan Klesko

††††††††††† All four men who played most of the innings at 1B last year are gone, so Klesko moves from LF to 1B.Right now the job is his, but should he get injured or if they start off slow, donít be surprised to see 23-year old Adrian Gonzalez or Walter Young get a chance to swing their bats.

 

Second Base

2005 Starter: Mark Loretta

Projected 2006 Starters: Josh Barfield, Mark Bellhorn††††††††††

††††††††††† The Padres moved the expensive and aging Loretta to Boston to give Barfield a chance to become the special player they think he will become.However, Veteran king of walks and strikeouts Mark Bellhorn is waiting in the wings to give the Padres unproductive at-bats.

 

Third Base

2005 Starters: Sean Burroughs, Joe Randa

Projected 2006 Starter: Vinny Castilla

††††††††††† Burroughs was an utter failure as an uber-prospect and Randa was his Rent-A-3B replacement.Whatís the solution?Trade pitcher Brian Lawrence for Vinny Castilla, who is 38.Do you think he will succeed in the Padres pitcher-friendly ballpark?Since I expect you donít, will WS hero Geoff Blum or Bobby Hill be an adequate replacement?

 

Shortstop

2005 Starter: Khalil Greene

Projected 2006 Starter: Khalil Greene

††††††††††† He is the definition of an average player, offensively and defensively, at the shortstop position.

 

Outfield/DH

2005 Starters: Brian Giles, Dave Roberts, Ryan Klesko, Xavier Nady

Projected 2006 Starters: Giles, Roberts, Mike Cameron

††††††††††† The biggest off-season move for the Padres was retaining perhaps the most consistently underrated offensive threat in the leagueóBrian Gilesóat a hometown discount.He will be their rock in RF, while import Mike Cameron will patrol CF, where offensively he is streaky, and defensively he is one of the finest in the game.Dave Roberts had a fabulous season for the Padres last year, and this year slides over to LF.Terrell Sledge was acquired from the Nationals to be the fourth OF, while ageless wonder Eric Young is the fifth.

†††††††††††

 

Pitching

 

2005 Front Four Starters: Jake Peavy, Brian Lawrence, Woody Williams, Adam Eaton

Projected 2006 Front Three: Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Woody Williams

††††††††††† Heís not tall and imposing on the mound, but Peavy is a 25-year old who has already led the NL in ERA (2004).Pencil him in conservatively for 15 wins and a 3.00 ERA every year.Chris Young comes over from a hitterís paradise to a pitcherís park, and his youth and peripherals indicate that he will be a solid if not spectacular #2 starter to replace Adam Eaton, who always appeared on the verge of putting it all together but never did.Woody Williams is 39 this season, wasnít terribly effective last season, and from here the Padres starting pitching gets very iffyÖ.

 

 

Other 2005 Starters: Chan Ho Park, Tim Stauffer, Pedro Astacio

Other Possible 2006 Starters: Shawn Estes, Chan Ho Park, Tim Stauffer, Dewon Brazelton

††††††††††† Simply put, Estes and Park are veterans who will need prayers to be effective, although maybe Petco Park can help them regain a semblance of their old form and confidence.Stauffer and Brazelton just arenít very exciting.If youngster Clay Hensley gets a shot, he could be the only reason to watch the Padres for the three games following whenever Young pitches.

 

2005 Top Relievers: Trevor Hoffman, Scott Linebrink, Akonori Otsuka, Rudy Seanez, Chris Hammond

Projected 2006 Top Relievers: Hoffman, Linebrink, Clay Hensley, Doug Brocail

††††††††††† Ouch!After having a great crop of relievers that almost certainly helped the team win more games than their run-differential suggested they should, this corps is weak behind future HOFer Hoffman and his setup man Linebrink.Hensley was effective in limited duty last year, and whether he remains in the bullpen or starts, he needs to pitch well in either role.

 

 

Final Word:

††

††††††††††† Despite the challenges inherent in getting half your at bats in Petco Park, the Padresí offense is quite serviceable, and should score over 700 runs this season.But their pitching has taken a step back, and one wonders if their shortcomings will be masked from management due to park effects.This team is not going to surprise anyone, and in an improved division, should win about as many games this year as they were supposed to last year.Figure them to finish under .500 with around 75-78 wins.†††††††




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Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Scott Glab resides in Chicago, Illinois, and can be reached at scott@baseballevolution.com.
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