Midway through 2012, the San Diego Padres looked like they were on their way to securing the first pick in baseball’s amateur draft. In fact, by June 20, the Padres were already 18.5 games behind the leader in the NL West. From that point forward, buoyed by a new middle infield and catcher, and Chase Headley’s .978 OPS in the second half of the season, the Padres actually gained half a game in the division, finishing at 76-86.
Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ended. The Padres enter 2013 after an offseason in which they signed just one player to a major-league contract: Jason Marquis. Three of the Padres’ starting pitchers are likely to start 2013 on the disabled list with (or recovering from) significant injuries: Corey Luebke, Andrew Cashner and Joe Wieland. The Padres’ bright young catcher, Yasmani Grandal, will miss the first 50 games of 2013 after testing positive for using PEDs. Just last week it was revealed that Rymer Liriano, the Padres’ top outfield prospect and baseball’s 55th best prospect (according to Jonathan Mayo), will miss the entire 2013 season due to an elbow injury. And if everything above wasn’t enough, in the past few days two more Padres were linked to the PED scandal in South Florida: Everth Cabrera and Fautino de los Santos.
In “30 Teams in 30 Days,” the Fantasy Baseball Cafe will preview each team in Major League Baseball on a daily basis. In addition to projecting starting lineups, rotations and closing situations, the Cafe will identify potential targets for 2013 fantasy baseball drafts.
|C Yasmani Grandal||.297||.394||.4469||28||8||36||0||226||Susp.|
|1B Yonder Alonso||.273||.348||.393||47||9||62||3||619|
|2B Jedd Gyorko||.311||.373||.547||80||30||100||5||557||in MiLB|
|SS Everth Cabrera||.246||.324||.324||49||2||24||44||449|
|3B Chase Headley||.286||.376||.498||95||31||115||17||699|
|LF Carlos Quentin||.261||.374||.504||44||16||46||0||340|
|CF Cameron Maybin||.243||.306||.349||67||8||45||26||561|
|RF Will Venable||.264||.335||.429||62||9||45||24||470|
Unsettled: Middle infield. Between Padres manager Bud Black mandating that all infield reps Jedd Gyorko receives this spring come at second base and Logan Forsythe taking reps at both shortstop and the outfield, it would appear that second base is Gyorko’s to lose, while Everth Cabrera will be the one who has to battle Logan Forsythe (and, to a much-lesser degree, Alexi Amarista) to retain his tenuous starting slot. However, because Jedd Gyorko is a third baseman by trade (while the Padres are by no means a lock to keep Chase Headley), has drawn less-than-stellar scouting reports at second, and is yet to start his arbitration clock, there remains an outside chance that Forsythe could crack the starting lineup. And with the recent reports linking Everth Cabrera to the South Florida PED scandal, the odds this happens has increased. From a fantasy perspective, Gyorko’s minor-league pedigree makes him an interesting player to stash in the final rounds of a mixed league. Meanwhile, Cabrera retains fill-in value for those of you who find yourself stolen base starved or plagued with injuries in the middle infield. And between all the aforementioned scenarios and Oliver’s projected 10-HR, 10-SB line, Forsythe, who holds dual MI eligibility, is a decent final round flier in NL-only formats. Also, while not “unsettled,” Will Venable will split time with Chris Denorfia in right field as part of a platoon.
Target: Carlos Quentin. Somehow, Carlos Quentin has a current Yahoo! ADP of 261.8, trailing a number of players that fantasy drafters shouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Even with the predictable knee issue in 2012 and a move to PETCO Park, Carlos Quentin still produced as a serviceable fantasy outfielder on a per-game basis: if normalized to 600 plate appearances, Quentin sported a .261 average with 28 HRs, 82 RBI and 78 runs. Now back from injury, having lost 15 pounds this offseason, and with PETCO’s fences moving in, Quentin seems poised to return to his 25-HR, 80-RBI, 70-run self. At the very least, he’s well worth where he’s currently being drafted (or not drafted, depending on how you look at it) as an away-and-when-healthy platoon. That there is upside that doesn’t seem too far-fetched makes him a worthy late-round flier for all owners. (While the author also sees improvement for Yonder Alonso, it likely won’t be enough to garner fantasy value at 1B.)
|Clayton Richard (L)||14-14||3.99||1.24||107||42||218.2|
|Edinson Volquez (R)||11-11||4.14||1.45||174||105||182.0|
|Eric Stults (R)||8-3||2.91||1.20||55||27||99.0||W/2T|
|Jason Marquis (R)||8-11||5.22||1.47||91||42||127.2||W/2T|
|Freddy Garcia (R)||7-6||5.20||1.37||89||35||107.1||w/NYY|
Unsettled: Basically the entire rotation. While Padres general manager Josh Byrnes has explicitly named Richard, Volquez, Stults and Marquis as four guys who will be in the rotation, the final two have tenuous holds on a job. Prospects Casey Kelly or Robbie Erlin could easily supplant any of the Stults/Marquis/Garcia triumvirate, and it certainly shouldn’t surprise anyone if Tim Stauffer, Tyson Ross, Anthony Bass and Sean O’Sullivan make starts for the Padres at some point in 2013 while they wait for Corey Luebke, Andrew Cashner and Joe Wieland to return from the disabled list.
Target: No one. The only two pitchers in the rotation with any sort of guaranteed role in 2013 — Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard — led the league in walks (Volquez), hits allowed (Richard) and home runs allowed (Richard) in 2012. If you absolutely must grab a Padres starting pitcher, however, I would suggest Robbie Erlin or Casey Kelly. Both are moderate-to-highly regarded prospects who suffered minor elbow injuries in 2012, but could conceivably be the fifth starter when the season starts. Andrew Cashner’s fastball is alluring, but his injury history is unsettling at best, and he isn’t expected to join the rotation until early May if everything goes according to plan. Believe it or not, there isn’t a reputable projection system that exists which projects any Padres starter to be worth more than 2 WAR in 2013. While WAR isn’t a fantasy category, that statement should tell you this rotation is an utter disaster. Stay away!
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Huston Street (R)||23||1.85||0.718||47||11||39.0|
|Luke Gregerson (R)||9||2.39||1.09||72||21||71.2|
Chasing Saves: The closer role is very clearly Huston Street’s, evidenced in the extension given to him last season. On a per-inning basis, Huston Street was the second-best fantasy closer, trailing only Craig Kimbrel. Injuries have always been an Achilles heel for Street, but his injuries last season — a strained lat and a strained calf — were closer to “fluke” than they were legitimate concerns going forward. Should Street get injured in 2013, look for Luke Gregerson to get the first opportunity to pick-up the save opportunities. (Please note that Gregerson has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, which would make Dale Thayer or Brad Brach the next in line were a trade to be completed.) However, if there’s one Padres pitcher you’re going to draft in 2013, it should be Huston Street. He’ll be one of fantasy’s better closers in 2013.
Confusingly, the Padres, despite having new ownership, did nothing to improve themselves in 2013. Bringing in the fences should buoy offensive numbers slightly, but it was just a cosmetic change for the fools who waste money going to PETCO Park this season. Besides Chase Headley and Huston Street, no Padre will likely be drafted before round 15 in a normal mixed league, and that’s a pretty accurate depiction of the talent the team currently possesses. In 2012, ZIPS projected the Padres to win 76 games and they won 76; ZIPS currently projects the Padres to win 74 in 2013. I won’t bet against it. Speaking of betting: according to Intrade, a WMD terrorist attack in 2013 is 3,800 percent more likely to occur than the Padres winning the World Series (according to PECOTA). It’ll be a long season for Padres fans; for the rest of you, just avoid drafting their players.
Check back tomorrow for our look at the San Francisco Giants.
David Marver is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with David in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of davidmarver.
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