2014 Padres: Its always sunny in San Diego

I'm going to start this a little early because I am more excited than I normally am about the Padres this year. I think they have a very good chance to surprise.  If not, they have a bunch of young pitchers who will be fun to watch.
 
The starting rotation will be much improved just by the virtue of the fact that Edison Volquez, Clayton Richard and Jason Marquis will not be part of it. Even if they had been replaced with mediocre pitchers I would expect this to make a huge difference in the Padres record.  The upgraded rotation however could end up being outstanding.  If their top 3 starters  (Cashner, Johnson and Luebke) are healthy, they could be among the best in baseball.  Particularly exciting is Andrew Cashner. He was lights out post All Star break last year. Remember the game in which he faced the minimum number of batters?  His velocity actually increased as the season went on.  Johnson and Luebke are also excellent when healthy, but both are coming off injuries.
 
In the likely event of rotation injuries, there is a ton of starting pitching depth.  I count 11 starters who are either in the rotation or ready to break into the majors.  I’d expect 2-4 of the young guys to stick at the major league level.
 
The Padres also have  3 proven late inning guys in Street, Benoit and Torres. With the PETCO factor, their bullpen should be among the best in the business.
 
The Padres defense was ranked 10th in MLB last year. With Cameron Maybin coming back to play center field and a maturing middle infield, I expect defense will be an area of strength again in 2014.
 
However this is a team that scored only 618 runs in 2013 which made them 12th in the National league.  Injuries and PED suspensions hurt them.  Yasmani Grandal, Evereth Cabrera and Yonder Alonzo should be back this year and that will make a big difference. Acquiring Seth Smith also gives them some much needed depth off the bench and in the outfield. If nothing else, Smith should allow Carlos Quentin to rest more.  I also think it’s likely that some of the Padres young hitters will mature, in particular,  Grandal, Gyorco and Alonzo. However, even being optimistic, the Padres offense is likely to be slightly below average.  Come September if the Padres miss the wildcard by a few games, Josh Byrnes is going to wish he had gone out and gotten a lefty slugger.
 
The elbow, shoulder and knee surgeons in San Diego have been busy the last few years and of course there is the possibility the Padres will continue their trend of having a ton of injuries.  Several key players are coming off major injuries to start the season and at a minimum I would expect Huston Street and Carlos Quentin to spend a fair amount of time hobbling around on the DL.
 
However, If they have reasonable health and the rotation performs like it should, I would expect the Padres to be playing meaningful games in mid to late September.  Even if they get unlucky and have a lot of injuries, their improved starting pitching depth should still propel the Padres to be a competitive team.    
 
Here are my projected lineups for the 2014 Padres. The stats are mostly courtesy of baseball-reference.
 
Rotation
Player, R or L. Career ERA+
 
Andrew Cashner, R, 102
 
Josh Johnson, R, 123
 
Corey Luebke, L, 111
 
Ian Kennedy, R, 101
 
Tyson Ross, R, 86
 
 
Starting Depth and/or MLBish Prospects
Eric Stults
Burch Smith
Robbie Erlin
Joe Wieland
Casey Kelly
Keyvius Sampson
 
 
Bullpen
Pitcher, R or L, Career ERA+
 
Huston Street, R, 144
 
Joaquin Benoit, R, 112
 
Alex Torres, L, 201
 
Dale Thayer, R, 95
 
Nick Vincent, R, 177
 
Tim Stauffer, R, 94
 
 
Lineup vs RH Pitching
Player/ Position    R,  L or SW      2013 OPS+     Career OPS vs RHP
 
Evereth Cabrera /SS,  SW, 113 2013 OPS+, .666 Career OPS vs RHP
 
Will Venable/CF,  L,  126 OPS+ ,  .775 Career OPS vs RHP
 
Chase Headley/3rd,  SW,  116 OPS+,  .782 Career OPS vs RHP
 
Carlos Quentin/LF,  R,  145 OPS+,  .844 Career OPS vs RHP
 
Seth Smith/RF ,  L,  109 OPS+,  .844 Career OPS vs RHP
 
Yasmani Grandal/C,  SW,  104 OPS+,  .776 Career OPS vs RHP
 
Yonder Alonzo/1st,  L,  106 OPS+,  .772 Career OPS vs RHP
 
Jed Gyorco/2b  R,  113 OPS+,  .715 Career OPS vs RHP
 
 
Lineup vs LH Pitching
Player/ Position   R,  L or SW,   2013 OPS+,   Career OPS vs LHP
 
Evereth Cabrera/SS,   SW,   113 OPS+,   .688 Career OPS vs LHP
 
Chris Denorfia/RF,  R,  111 OPS+,   .833 Career OPS vs LHP
 
Jed Gyorco/2b  R,  113 OPS+,  .829 Career OPS vs LHP
 
Carlos Quentin/LF   R,   145 OPS+,  .836 Career OPS vs LHP
 
Chase Headley/3rd  SW,  116 OPS+,  .729 Career OPS vs LHP
 
Kyle Blanks/1st    R,  97 OPS+,  .733 Career OPS vs LHP
 
Nick Hundley/C     R,  94 OPS+,   .721 Career OPS vs LHP
 
Cameron Maybin/CF,  R,  36 OPS+,  .642 Career OPS vs LHP
 

Hoplite

lurker
Oct 26, 2013
1,116
That Padres should be an interesting team next year. If Tyson Ross is healthy, I think he has the potential to be the best pitcher in their rotation. I was very impressed with him as a starter (3.06 ERA, 2.92 FIP, 9.29 K/9, 53.3 GB%) and he seemed to get stronger as the year went on. Burch Smith also makes for an interesting depth option. He's dominated the minors and at times has been throwing in the mid-90's, but we didn't see that velocity from him in the majors. It should also be interesting to see if the adjustments Venable made to his swing, and the resulting power numbers, carry over in to next year. He was a .315/.357/.549 hitter in the second half.
 

TheYaz67

Member
SoSH Member
May 21, 2004
4,712
Justia Omnibus
Nice start to the season for the Pads! 
 
Not going to be a fun 2014 in Dodger land if Brian Wilson pitches like that all year...
 

MakMan44

stole corsi's dream
SoSH Member
Aug 22, 2009
19,310
It's interesting, to me at least, that they did not change his base salary for this year but rather, added clauses and such to potentially raise his salary this season. 
 

EP Sox Fan

Member
SoSH Member
Perhaps not the optimal place for this but El Paso is the new home of the Padres AAA franchise. Our brand spanking new downtown ballpark is set to open in two weeks. Myself and a group of folks pitched in and got season tickets. We haven't had minor league baseball since the DBacks AA affiliate moved about 7 years ago and I'm really looking forward to going to the games. I know old friend Raymond Fuentes and. MLB vets Kyle Blanks and Jeff Francouer. Anyone else of interest to keep an eye on?
 

Investor 11

Plobbably the greatest videographer ever
SoSH Member
Jul 23, 2006
2,937
San Diego
EP Sox Fan said:
Perhaps not the optimal place for this but El Paso is the new home of the Padres AAA franchise. Our brand spanking new downtown ballpark is set to open in two weeks. Myself and a group of folks pitched in and got season tickets. We haven't had minor league baseball since the DBacks AA affiliate moved about 7 years ago and I'm really looking forward to going to the games. I know old friend Raymond Fuentes and. MLB vets Kyle Blanks and Jeff Francouer. Anyone else of interest to keep an eye on?
You should watch this. Actually, everyone should.

http://deadspin.com/jeff-francoeurs-teammates-pulled-a-hilarious-month-long-1562734995
 

mauidano

Mai Tais for everyone!
SoSH Member
Aug 21, 2006
27,992
Maui
Looking to go to the Padres/Phillies game on Monday Sept. 15. Any advice on where to sit at Petco? Club levels worth it? How's the ballpark tour?
 

jasvlm

lurker
Nov 28, 2014
177
Since this is a Padre thread, I'll chime in.  Preller has been very aggressive in terms of investigating options to remake the roster, and I believe that he'll make some bold strokes this offseason.  The main asset the Padres possess is their youngish pitching, led by Cashner and Ross, both of whom are cost controlled at least through 2016.  My guess is that the Padres and Red Sox match up well in a possible deal, with Boston sending Cespedes, Middlebrooks and perhaps someone like Barnes/Raunado to San Diego for Cashner.  If Preller were to ask for Margot or Devers instead of a pitching prospect, it would be a harder deal for Boston, but it still might go through.  Just something to watch.