Comparing Last Year’s Padres’ Performance with This Year

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: AP Photo

Although the Padres’ front office would never admit to such a strategy, last year’s team was constructed to lose (tank) in order to add top prospects to the farm system. However, this year the team added Eric Hosmer and Freddy Galvis in order to start in a new direction, one aimed at actually contending in the not so distant future.

With over-the-hill veterans like Erick Aybar at shortstop and Jered Weaver in the starting rotation last year, the Padres obviously constructed a team not meant to come close to the .500 mark. According to the front office 2018 would be a year of development and building toward the future.

At the half-way point, this year’s performance comes closer to treading water than changing the team’s direction. According to Bleacher Report, Zachary D. Rymer gives the Padres a C- grade in his article “MLB Report Card Grades for All 30 Teams Entering July.” He cited the lack of great pitching, a collective OPS under .700 since mid-April, and defensive inefficiency.

The 2017 Padres had a record of 71-91, 38-50 in the first half, 33-41 in the second. This year’s record at midseason is 36-47 with the Padres firmly entrenched in fifth place. Last year’s team did not have a winning record in any of the first three months, but this year’s team went 15-13 in May.

Excuses abound for this year’s relatively lackluster performance, including the mantra that it’s a “young team.” No doubt that the transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues represents a huge jump. However, these guys have played baseball all their lives. And, in reality, four teams have younger rosters than the Padres average of 27.4.

Furthermore, data taken from baseball-reference.com and based on that’s site’s interpretation of WAR indicates that performance peaks before the age of 30, with position players having a slightly larger window of 25-30 than pitchers (24-29). In other words, the Padres’ cumulative age could be considered an advantage over other older teams.

Another excuse has been injuries. However, by this time in the MLB season, every team has been bitten by the injury bug. The Los Angeles Dodgers lost four of their five starting pitchers early in the season. All-Star shortstop Corey Seager had season-ending Tommy John surgery in April.

Another excuse, that being the hellacious travel schedule in June, actually has more relevance. The Padres rode a high into June, having taken three of four from the Miami Marlins, and won series against the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves. Since June 15 the team has a 3-9 record.

During that spell, the schedule has had the team flying back and forth across the country touching down at home for tiny intervals before taking to the road again. The television broadcasters estimated that the team has traveled almost 8800 miles in June. No other teams have been subjected to a similar schedule.

According to a National Academy of Sciences study (“How jet lag impairs Major League Baseball performance,” by Alex Song, Thomas Severini, and Ravi Allada), travel schedules adversely affect both offensive and defensive performance. Since Padres executives Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler have built strong relationships within the MLB power structure, the two might consider using that study to protect the team from such scheduling nightmares in the future.

A more team-friendly schedule for the rest of the season, a possible influx of anxiously awaited talent like infielder Luis Urias, savvy trades and individual growth gained from experience, could very well help the team improve the overall record and take the steps essential to actually competing.

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Diane Calkins
Baseball has been a part of Diane's life since her father played professionally (mostly at the minor league level). She has written for a number of publications and concentrated on companion animal welfare. She welcomes the opportunity to write about the sport she loves. Diane shares her home with her husband and a house full of rescued animals.

3 thoughts on “Comparing Last Year’s Padres’ Performance with This Year

  1. It’s regularly touted that the club has a great farm system. Unless those players mature into stars players at the ML level that is an empty accomplishment. Since 2014 the club has produced exactly 1, non-scrub major leaguer: Trea Turner. Clearly Preller has ownership snookered as they recently extended him, and before that ignored his medical records outrageousness and fired his supervisor instead.
    The goal for 2019 had to be a .500 record. Instead we have a close to unwatchable team. Or put another way, which players off this 25-man roster will be in that 2020 playoff team? First, there’s no way this team can plausibly say 2020 will be a playoff team. Second, most of the good players off this team will be traded; Hand, Ross, Stammen, possibly Richard. That leaves maybe 3 guys left for 2020.
    Hosmer, who was a bone-headed signing, especially when no other team made an offer, and is the 4th best 1B man in our own division.
    Myers. Ugh. Unless he suddenly improves, having given him up for Trea Turner will stink forever. So okay, the trade was bad, but why compound it by signing him to a massive extension? Probably stuck with a very meh RF unless we pay down a chunk of his salary.
    Margot, Renfroe, Hedges? 1 of them will likely stick, but so what? Hedges cannot hit. Renfroe has seen his power evaporate, and Margot at least is young enough to still have potential. But for what? A good glove, blah bat, who can’t figure out how to steal a base.
    We read often about the waves of talent about to hit from the farm, but an all pitch, no hit team is not a winning one, and no fun to watch.
    I guess we have to suck it up and wait for 2022.

  2. Nice story from Diane and an equally good comment from Mark. Now that the second half of the season is here, do we think we might see some stability in the lineups the rest of the year?

    It looks like the Padres are playing FOUR outfielders all the time now; Myers, Margot, Jankowski and Renfroe. That’s fine. I just saw Carlos Asuaje was called back up. He’s earned it with an average of .338 since he was sent down! Good for him! I’d like to see him be the main guy at second. I’d also like to see Cory Spangenberg get the lion’s share of time at third. I know opinions vary but I like him better than Villanueva. Cory is not an all or nothing hitter and he has great speed, good range as well as a better eye for the strike zone than before. If Hedges starts to hit, that would be wonderful. If not, the young man, Austin Allen, should get a look in SD. We’ll see what happens.

  3. Diane, this is a very honest article. Like you, it is hard to articulate the essential truths of this team. They are not the youngest, they have a rental shortstop, they have a catcher that cannot hit, and perhaps most importantly, they have arms in the minors that are pitching well, but perhaps should be in San Diego. Logan Allen comes to mind as well as Cal Quantrill. It’s time to find out about these guys sooner than later. Both will be 25 and mired in AA for two consecutive seasons. It’s time to start thinking about Austin Allen as well, AJ has done a nice job, and is a terrific fellow, but when you are out of the race, what is the point of a veteran presence on a team that is mostly comprised of veterans? Luis Urias, has not hit well enough yet to be seriously considered. Nor has Tatis whose K totals are stratospheric.

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