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.

Carlos Quentin3 – 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:

Photo by Kelly O'Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

Photo by Kelly O’Connor of sittingstill.smugmug.com

SERIES PROBABLES

Robbie Erlin vs. John Lackey

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.

Edinson Volquez vs. Jon Lester

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.

Eric Stults vs. Allen Webster

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.

INJURY REPORT

  • San Diego
  • Boston
    • 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)

IN CONCLUSION

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.

Categories: Allen Webster Boston Red Sox Carlos Quentin Chase Headley David Ortiz Edinson Volquez Jedd Gyorko John Lackey Jon Lester Pedro Ciriaco San Diego Padres Stephen Drew Yasmani Grandal

Brett Cowett is a young, die-hard Red Sox fan. An undergrad at Arizona State University, Brett is studying digital journalism with a minor in Dustin Pedroia studies. Apart from laughing at Nick Swisher's escapades in the field, Brett enjoys the occasional sci-fi flick, playing Halo, and being snarky. Follow him at @BACowett for more baseball, random musings, and random baseball musings.

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