We’re on the home stretch of the National League now, so let’s take a small vacation out to the paradise known as San Diego. Recently it’s been a paradise for visiting teams, who forced San Diego to a 35–46 record at PETCO Park last season as they were victorious just a paltry 63 times overall on the season and finished in the basement of the NL West. The good news is that there’s nowhere to go but up, and that’s exactly what the Padres are hoping for in 2009, which marks their 40th anniversary.
• For a closer look at the San Diego Padres and the rest of the NL West, be sure to check out the The Can of Corn NL West Preview Podcast.
|C Nick Hundley||.237||.278||.359||21||5||24||0||198|
|1B Adrian Gonzalez||.279||.346||.510||103||36||119||0||616|
|2B David Eckstein||.265||.343||.349||32||2||27||2||324||w/2T|
|SS Luis Rodriguez||.287||.326||.351||22||0||12||1||202|
|3B Kevin Kouzmanoff||.260||.299||.433||71||23||84||0||624|
|LF Chase Headley||.269||.337||.420||34||9||38||4||331|
|CF Jody Gerut||.296||.351||.494||46||14||43||6||328|
|RF Brian Giles||.306||.398||.456||81||12||63||2||559|
Unsettled: Where to begin? Well, aside from those who are likely to lack fantasy relevance, Cliff Floyd is likely to see time at both corner outfield spots, taking a few AB from both Headley and Giles. Also, how many AB will Scott Hairston get in center? Will Matt Antonelli figure into the equation in the middle infield at all? We’ve got a box full of the unsettled here; pick your favorite.
Target: Adrian Gonzalez. Mark Teixeira is currently being drafted towards the end of the first round. Gonzalez is being drafted towards the end of the third. The difference between the two last season? Compared to Teixeira, A-Gon was -.029 AVG, +3 HR, -2 RBI, +1 R, and -2 SB. Is the average really worth a two round difference? Is Teix getting the ‘Yankee Bump?’ With a guy like Gonzalez available in the third, I wouldn’t hesitate to pass on one of the 1B going in the first two rounds and fill my other important spots early.
|Jake Peavy (R)||10-11||2.85||1.18||166||59||173.2|
|Chris Young (R)||7-6||3.96||1.29||93||48||102.1|
|Cha-Seung Baek (R)||6-10||4.79||1.34||92||43||141||w/2T|
|Kevin Correia (R)||3-8||6.05||1.71||66||47||110||w/SF|
|Josh Geer (R)||2-1||2.67||1.41||16||9||27|
Unsettled: Josh Geer. The fifth spot could belong to Geer, who has put together four very solid Minor League seasons before making five strong starts to finish out 2008 with the Friars. However, do not count out Louisiana native Wade LeBlanc, who the Padres have been high on for some time now and has an even more impressive minor league track record than Geer. Chances are neither of these guys will be fantasy mainstays this year, but they both have the potential to be solid spot starters in many leagues.
Target: Jake Peavy. It’s rare that a player going as high as Peavy is labeled as a target, but with the question marks spanning the rest of San Diego’s rotation, and Peavy’s ADP dropping all the way down to the latter half of the fourth round, he’s too good of a value to pass up. This guy possesses the potential to have a better season than Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, Cole Hamels, and anyone else.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Heath Bell (R)||0||3.58||1.21||71||28||78|
|Cla Meredith (R)||0||4.09||1.46||49||24||70.1|
Chasing Saves: For the first time in fifteen years, this spot is not occupied by Trevor Hoffman. Padre fans still aren’t quite sure how to handle anything other than ‘Hells Bells’ blasting over the loud speaker at PETCO when a save opportunity presents itself. Bell, however, could make them forget fast if he’s just able to continue the success he’s found the past two seasons since being unceremoniously traded to San Diego from the Mets. After him, the late inning situation is anybody’s call, and likely a hairy enough situation for you to want to avoid completely.
The bad news is that the Padres don’t look any better than they did a season ago, save for being healthy. The good news is that in the National League West, what they have could potentially win the division. It’s possible that up-and-comers like Kouzmanoff and Headley break out the way Adrian Gonzalez did his first season with the Pads, but fans aren’t holding their breath.
Brendan Horton is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Brendan in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of bigh0rt.
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