Prediction: The San Diego Padres make the playoffs in 2010.
This is my first bold prediction that is not directly related to Fantasy Sports. However, when I explain why I like the Padres this year, I will spotlight some Padres players that will make an impact on fantasy teams in 2010.
This must be an April Fool’s joke, right? Nope. For much of the 2009 baseball season the Padres were the laughing stock of the league, so what has changed? For one, the Padres are undergoing a youth revolution. The Padres have a lot of young bats that got their feet wet last year (Kyle Blanks, Everth Cabrera, Chase Headley, Will Venable). In 2010, these players should be able to make a big splash. The average age of their projected lineup is less than 27 years old.
Kyle Blanks has 30+ Home Run potential, this year. If Chase Headley continues to rake like he has in Spring Training, he could move up to third in the lineup, and drive in 90+ RBI. Will Venable has a great power/speed skill set that could give him a 15/15 season.
|CF||Tony Gwynn Jr.||27||450 PA, .350 OBP, 11 SB|
|2B||David Eckstein||35||568 PA, 64 R|
|RF||Will Venable||27||324 PA, 12 HR, 6 SB|
|1B||Adrian Gonzalez||28||681 PA, 40 HR, 99 RBI|
|LF||Kyle Blanks||23||172 PA, 10 HR|
|3B||Chase Headley||26||612 PA, 12 HR, 10 SB|
|C||Nick Hundley||26||289 PA, 8 HR, 5 SB|
|SS||Everth Cabrera||23||438 PA, 25 SB|
Second, their rotation and bullpen may not have the star power, but it may be one of the deepest. The Padres went out and get a proven veteran Jon Garland in the offseason. Garland has pitched in 190+ innings in each of the past eight seasons. Then you have Chris Young, who is the perfect pitcher for PETCO, since his extreme flyball tendencies are negated. Kevin Correia is not flashy, but he always finds a way to provide above average value. 2010 will the second “full season” as a starter for Correia. There is no reason to not expect a repeat, if not an improvement on his 3.91 ERA. Rounding out the rotation, you have two youngsters that are ready to break out. Clayton Richard and Mat Latos. Mat Latos has #1 Ace potential, and he will likely be the team’s 5th starter. I would expect the usual roller-coaster season that most rookies have, but the highs should outweigh the lows. Richard does not have the same upside that Latos has, but an ERA in the low four’s is a very reasonable expectation.
Like I said, that rotation wasn’t flashy, but its lack of a weak spot will keep them in every game. This 2010 Padres team reminds me a lot of the 2007 Colorado Rockies. The average age of the 2007 Rockies top eight batters was 27.6 years old. The top eight hitters for the Padres is very similar, 26.9 years old. Also, the 2007 Rockies pitching staff was not flashy, but relied on depth just like this years Padres staff (all six Rockies pitchers that started more than 14 games had an ERA between four and five). The odds of the Padres actually making the playoffs are not great, but I certainly think they could be the team that sneaks up on everyone in 2010.