Tue 17/03/2015 - 04:47 EDT

San Diego Padres 2015 Season Preview

San Diego Padres 2015 Season Preview
You stay classy, San Diego. The Padres have given their lineup a major overhaul with big moves designed to transform this club into a surprise contender for the NL West title. To knock off the Giants and Dodgers, the Padres will need big results from the new additions.

San Diego Padres Futures

Odds To Win Division: +350

Odds To Win NL Pennant: 7/1

Odds To Win World Series: 16/1

Regular Season Win Total: 84.5

Most Significant Offseason Changes

Biggest Additions:

James Shields, SP

Matt Kemp, RF

Justin Upton, LF

Wil Myers, CF

Derek Norris, C

Will Middlebrooks, 3B

Biggest Losses:

Jesse Hahn, SP

Eric Stults, SP

Yasmani Grandal, C

Seth Smith, RF

They’ll Be Successful If…

… this major roster revamp is as impressive as advertised. San Diego’s response to an underwhelming 77-85 campaign was to go on a shopping spree that pulled in an impressive set of upgrades. A.J. Preller (who still has that new GM smell from taking the job back in August) went out and acquired a whole new outfield. Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp are the stars you’ll see patrolling the fences in 2015. The talented trio aren’t going to expected to offer up stellar defense, but the expectation is that they’ll rescue a Padres offense that was a disaster in 2014. San Diego finished dead last in the Majors in hits, RBIs and runs scored. Not only that, but the team somehow finished the year with an almost unbelievable .226 batting average. Adding Kemp, Upton and Myers should fix that in a hurry, plus fellow new additions Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks can be counted on for an added boost. A semi-functional offense will do wonders for a stellar starting rotation that now has a trusted ace in the newly acquired James Shields. The coveted right-hander is coming off a 2014 where he went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA and the rotten luck of going head-to-head with a superhuman Madison Bumgarner in the World Series. Shields not only provides skill, but there’s also much need stability in the package. He’s started a minimum of 33 games per season over the past seven summers. Slots two through four in the starting rotation aren’t half bad either. Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy all have stellar stuff and will benefit immensely from actually having run support come April. Couple those with a more than capable bullpen and you’re looking at a team that could actually improve on last year’s 3.27 ERA, a total that was fourth best in the Major Leagues. If the new bats hold up their end of the bargain, San Diego could definitely make their mark in the hazardous NL West.

They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

… injury woes and run support is just a mirage. GM A.J.Preller and manager Bud Black are placing their eggs into one easily damaged basket. Do you have faith that Matt Kemp can exit 2015 unscathed? Kemp was a regular fixture on the disabled list during his time in Los Angeles, something that kept him out of the lineup for large chunks of 2012 and 2013. Wrist injuries derailed Wil Myers last season and there’s worry that the damage may have sapped his power. That’s troubling news for a player that will be playing 81 home games in what’s considered a pitcher’s park. (Speaking of medical problems, Jedd Gyorko’s problems with Plantar fasciitis are also a point of concern at second base.) The Padres picked up Myers, Kemp and Justin Upton to give the offense a boost, but that outfield is an enormous fielding liability. Analysts have tripped over themselves pointing out their worries about how Myers will fare in centerfield and Kemp isn’t a sure bet in right. San Diego is in desperate need of a fix to their run support problem. They’ve downgraded the quality of their defense in the outfield in a bid to solve their lack of home plate touches, so if these new players can’t deliver or if they’re spending too much time with the medical staff, they’re going to get eaten alive in a division that has the Los Angeles Dodgers and the returning World Series champs in San Francisco.

Fantasy Bargain: Joaquin Benoit, RP

San Diego’s ambitious roster overhaul will put them in a spot to be much better than they were in 2014, a development that’s going to benefit closer Joaquin Benoit immensely. The 37-year-old closer notched 11 saves in 12 opportunities and posted a 1.49 ERA on the season. Combine that with a Padres team with an opportunity to win more games and actually have non-basement level offense and things are looking rosy for Benoit. Add to that the prospect of getting 30+ starts out of ace James Shields and the save opportunities are certain to increase. He’s got the potential for 35-40 saves in 2015 and a sub 2.25 ERA. Keep Benoit in mind as other owners raid the closer cupboard.

Outlook

There’s too much talent on the roster for San Diego stumble backward. The Padres can boast excellent pitching and a (potentially) rejuvenated offense in their bid to go from pretender to contender, although that’s easier said than done in the difficult NL West. The divisional crown appears just out of San Diego’s grasp, but they’ll definitely be in the mix for Wild Card glory provided that Kemp and Myers are healthy and run support woes are a thing of the past.

Prediction: 3rd In NL West

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Tag : baseball , betting , mlb , San Diego Padres 2015 Season Preview

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