Who’s ready for another interleague series at Fenway? I know I am. More of David Ortiz doing his customary DH thing, more of pitchers not hitting, and best of all, it’s against a team no Red Sox fan should really have hatred towards. Seriously. It’s the Padres. If you hate them, then what NL West team do you cheer for?
SAN DIEGO PADRES - 40-43, 3rd place in the NL West
You read that right. The Padres are a solid THIRD in their own division with a record below .500. Which really shows exactly how wide-open/close/weak-as-hell that division is. Still, the Padres have made huge strides from their last few seasons, getting fantastic value out of their middle infield and bullpen. None of these names – well, maybe one – will be considered “household” status. But, as the saying goes, what you don’t know will kill you. And that’s why I’m here.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
1 – Logan Forsythe - 2B – .284/.333/.446 (in 81 PA)
- Somewhat-speedy guy who likes to keep the ball close to the ground via line drives (32.7 LD%) or grounders (38.2 GB%). Not really a base-stealer, however.
- Limits his whiffs. Hasn’t had a strikeout rate below 16% in his entire major league career, but never above 20%. Holds a walk rate around 7.5%.
- Originally a bench player, but recent injuries to the Padres’ middle infield has forced him into full-time service.
2 – Chris Denorfia – CF - .275/.332/.393
- Doesn’t walk or strikeout all that much. Hits a ton of groundballs, however. Over 55% of hits batted balls are worm-burners.
- Little power to speak of. Hasn’t hit double-digit homers in his major-league career, but also hasn’t had a full-time starting job, either.
- His value through fielding fluctuates quite a bit. His UZR is fantastic some years, and is god-awful in others.
3 – Carlos Quentin – LF - .270/.373/.481
- If you want a prototypical three-hole hitter, Quentin is it. Lots of power, and hasn’t had an ISO under .200 other than his ’07 season.
- Good plate discipline. His OBP usually rests in the .350-.370 range, and his walk rate has been over 10% since coming to San Diego.
- Has the durability of fine china. And if he isn’t getting injured, he’s bull-rushing pitchers who bean him and getting suspended.
4 – Chase Headley – 3B - .221/.320/.345
- The trade target that really isn’t anymore. Gained a lot of popularity after a breakout 31-homer season in 2012.
- Normally healthy, Headley’s had a lackluster season so far. A thumb injury, plus some regression to the mean, hasn’t helped.
- Also a good example of solid plate discipline. Walk rate has been over 10% since 2011.
5 – Kyle Blanks – DH - .271/.341/.457
- Up-and-coming power hitter for San Diego. Showed a lot of promise in the minors, but has been yo-yo’ed between the majors and AAA the last few years.
- Hadn’t broken the 200 PA mark in the majors until 2013. Hits the crap outta the ball, and has a 22.9 GB% & a 16.7 HR/FB as a result.
- Average fielder & baserunner, but still has a 1.2 fWAR in just 211 PA. Not too shabby.
6 – Will Venable – RF - .221/.265/.424
- Another one from the Padres’ plethora of 2.0-4.0 win outfielders. This one doesn’t have much patience at the plate, though.
- Intriguing power. Hit a lot of homers in less PA earlier in his career, but then cranked out line drives when given ample playing time.
- BABIP is a low .248 on the season. Some progression is coming, and that’s a “when” statement, not an “if” one.
7 – Jesus Guzman – 1B - .218/.283/.338 (in 146 PA)
- Another bench player given a shot at a full-time gig. Not really doing much of anything to keep it.
- Flashed a decent amount of power in the minors. He’s shown it a few times in the majors, with lots of doubles.
- When your wOBA (.277) is lower than your OBP (.283), there’s some problems with letting you start every day.
8 – Yasmani Grandal – C - .234/.375/.364 (in 96 PA)
- One of the most patient younger players in the game. With 322 PA in the majors, he owns a 14.9% walk rate.
- His BABIP is a mediocre .270, so he still has some room to get better this season and add to that fantastic OBP.
- Got suspended 50 games earlier this season for PEDs, so his PA are cut down because of that, not injury.
9 – Pedro Ciriaco – SS - .271/.300/.396 (in 50 PA)
- He’s back. So you know the deal. Doesn’t walk, kills Yankees pitching, plays a lot of shortstop and third base.
- Not a lot of power and lots of strikeouts, so there’s something you can be happy for him to do well in.
- In any season that he’s gotten over 100 PA, his wRC+ has been below 100. That’s not a great sign there.
Who’s hot? – Last 14 days:
- Logan Forsythe (2 HR, 7 runs, 5 RBI)
- Yasmani Grandal (.475 OBP, 9 walks, 8 runs)
Who’s not? – Last 14 days:
We’ve been over the ins-and-outs of John Lackey, The Greatest Starting Pitcher In The History Of Baseball(tm), so let’s look at Erlin. Minor league profile says he strikes out a fair few guys while normally keeping his walk rate below 2.50 per 9 innings. FIP and xFIP like him, as they show Erlin to be at least a quarter of a run better than his ERA suggests.
Are you ready for Walk-A-Rama 2013? Because that’s what Volquez will do. He’ll walk batters, be terrible at stranding them, and then have them score. Not as terrible as his ERA shows, but with a 7.62 K/9, he’s not all that great either.
Stults, the only Padres pitcher with an fWAR over 1, and it’s closer to 2 than the pitcher with the second-best fWAR. Doesn’t give up a ton of homers, won’t walk many batters, but he’ll be playing the pitch-to-contact game and see where that gets him. A 5.44 strikeout rate doesn’t suggest a lot of high punch-out totals.
- San Diego
- Jon Lester: probable for next start (June 28, jammed right hip)
- Stephen Drew: missed Sunday’s game against Toronto (June 30, tightness in right hamstring)
This should be a team the Red Sox can handle. But we’ve seen them face inferior competition before and flounder, and the Padres have shown a tendency to win series from teams much better than them. On top of that, it’s an interleague matchup, so it’ll be fun to watch, regardless.