San Diego Padres 2019 Fantasy Projections –Perplexing Problems for the Padres
The San Diego Padres haven't had a winning record since the won 90 games and finished second in the NL West in 2010. In fact, they've lost more than 90 games three consecutive years. They have finished no better than third during this stretch, and in last three times.
Padre fans haven't had much to cheer about since back-to-back division titles in 2005 and 2006. However, they were bitterly disappointed when the Cardinals ended each of those seasons in the NLDS. Here is a look back at the most recent season, plus a peek ahead at the Padres fantasy prospects heading into 2019.
San Diego Padres 2018 Recap
San Diego started off 2018 by winning only two series during the month of April. By the end of the first month, they had lost 20 games and were 11 games back in the NL West. They never recovered. They managed to play above .500 in May, but were still in last place in the division.
June was a fair month again, but by the end of July San Diego was 26 games below .500 and pushing 20 games out of the division race. The season was essentially over. The Padres won 12 games in both August and September to hover around .500, but the damage had been done.
By season's end, San Diego was only to be outdone by the Miami Marlins for the worst record in the National League. Many of their best offensive players did not live up to expectations, and their pitching staff failed miserably.
2019 Fantasy Pitchers Projections – The Best of the Padre Pitchers
Petco Park, once a prime pitcher's paradise, is really a non-factor today. It sits right in the middle of most of the park metrics, slightly above average for home run stinginess, but just below average for run production.
What it didn't equal was a middle of the pack ranking for Padre pitching. San Diego's team ERA was in the bottom-third of baseball, as was their tendency to give up hits. They were a little better at limiting home runs and striking out opposing hitters, but there wasn't anything overly impressive about Padre pitching.
Not a single starter had an ERA below 4.00, and only Joey Lucchesi managed more than a strikeout per inning. Robbie Erlin had the best WHIP on the staff, but he ended up with a 4-7 record. Even when starters manage to make it through a game with a lead, the Padre bullpen is without anything that poses a threat to run productive lineups.
Bryan Mitchell, Eric Lauer and Jacob Nix are slated to round out the Padre's five-man rotation in 2019. Mitchell's ERA was close to 6.00, and he walked more hitters than he struck out. Lauer had a little better control, but he also gave up the most hits per start of all Padre starters.
Nix brings a little better pedigree from his three minor league seasons, but his limited success at the lower levels did not equal success against big league bats. To summarize the Padre pitching staff for fantasy purposes would be simple.
You might consider taking a flier on Lucchesi, if you must fill a rotation. Keep an eye on Nix's development, but keep your expectations tempered. Other than that, leave Padre pitching on the waiver wire until further notice.
2019 Fantasy Hitter Projections – The Best San Diego Bats
San Diego made one giant leap towards offensive prosperity in the off-season. They signed one of the more productive hitters in baseball, albeit for a pretty healthy price tag. Manny Machado played an entire season of 162 games split between Baltimore and Los Angeles, so his durability is worth at least something.
While his productivity fell off when he transferred over to the National League, he still ended up with a season total of 37 home runs and 107 RBIs. Machado stole 14 bases across the entire season, plus he tacked on 35 doubles. He'll be slotted into the cleanup role for the Padres.
That may be the biggest factor surrounding his fantasy value for 2019. He is going to stay at third base for San Diego, so he is in a crowded fantasy field of three-baggers. In front of him will be former Kansas City Royal World Series Champion Eric Hosmer.
Like Machado, Hosmer didn't adapt well to National League pitching. In his first full season on the Senior Circuit, his batting average fell to the lowest in six seasons, and he drove in the fewest number of runs in the last four.
Some feel Hosmer just needed a season to adjust after spending his entire seven year career in Kansas City. How well and how quickly this happens, if it does, will be important to how productive Machado will be.
Another key cog in the San Diego order that will dictate their hitter's fantasy value is Hunter Renfroe. Renfroe has shown periods of outstanding power, but he has yet to prove he can get on base consistently.
Another problem has been an uncanny tendency to hit his home runs with the bases empty. His strikeout to walk ratio has been below average, so if he is having trouble at any point during the season making contact, pitchers will be inclined to pitch around Machado to get to him.
The Padres will lead into Hosmer, Machado and Renfroe with Ian Kinsler and Wil Myers. Both are polished professional hitters, but both are beginning to grow older. Myers, once a prize-prospect of baseball, has only been able to put together two full seasons in his career.
Kinsler has always been able to get on the field, but he will be starting his 14th major league season. His batting average and on-base percentage have dropped the last couple of seasons, so he will need to improve in those categories to provide any type fuel as the Padre leadoff man.
There is also a young catcher San Diego got in the Brad Hand trade with Cleveland. Francisco Mejia is a potential sleeper with a lot of dynasty upside if he hits like he did at the lower levels. Mejia will still have to battle Austin Hedges for regular time behind the plate in 2019, so immediate expectations may need to be tempered until subsequent years.
Fantasy Rank for the San Diego Padres
San Diego traded away their best pitcher, reliever Brad Hand. The current staff is both unproven, and what little prove that's available isn't very encouraging. There is very little get excited about with Padre pitchers, and equally as little to use for a fantasy rotation.
The Padre bats might be a different story. Hosmer and Machado are must-own fantasy players, and the bats around them will not only dictate how successful they will be, but if there are other usable players in the San Diego batting order. A lot of ifs in San Diego, make the Padres a low-end fantasy proposition.
The Bottom Line for the San Diego Padres
The Padres are a nice looking team on paper, but teams on paper do not win games. Two big questions must be answered for San Diego to be anything but a contender for the NL West basement.
Can anyone on the pitching staff rise to the occasion, and will any of the secondary hitters on San Diego make it impossible for opponents to pitch around their stars? If the answer to either of these questions turns out poorly for the Padres, fans can expect the season to quickly do the same.