A look at the numbers behind the San Diego Padres 2019 season.
This season began with excitement and optimism but ended in deep disappointment and yet another Ron Fowler rant. On July 1, San Diego had a 42-41 record and sat just 1.5 games back in the Wild Card sweepstakes.
Then the San Francisco Giants (not to be confused with the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers) came to town, and the Padres lost three games by embarrassingly lopsided scores: 13-2, 10-4, 7-5. Former Padre Alex Dickerson joined in the fun with a three-run home run against Cal Quantrill to cement the sweep.
Then, just to confuse fans completely, San Diego took three of four from the mighty Dodgers. Although L.A. won the first game handily, the Padres managed to prevail in three close games (3-2, 3-1, 5-3). That gave the Padres a .500 winning percentage going into the All-Star break.
But after that high, the wheels came off the bus. In the official second half, the Padres put up a cumulative wRC+ of 80 and WAR of 8.0, both the fourth lowest in all of baseball. Batters struck out ten or more times a game 85 times. The team ended the season with a 70-92 record–36 games behind the Dodgers. Somehow the Padres managed to trade places with the Colorado Rockies who had resided in fifth place for most of the year.
While the front office has promised competitive results starting next year, the second half hardly provided a boost of confidence and excitement going into 2020. A closer look at key stats shows areas of improvement or lack thereof over last year’s results as well as rankings and the MLB leaders. It should come as no surprise that the teams leading in various areas all will be playing in the post-season.
BATTING 2018 Ranking 2019 Ranking MLB Leader
PITCHING 2018 Ranking 2019 Ranking MLB Leader
|K per 9||9.32||28||9.27||10||Astros|
|BB per 9||2.88||23||2.91||6||Dodgers|
FIELDING 2018 Ranking 2019 Ranking MLB leader
|DP per gm||0.78||20||0.66||29||White Sox|
|FLD %||.983||22||.980||29||St. Louis|
Despite the often desultory play in the last months of the season, the Padres as a whole did improve, albeit slightly, at the plate and on the mound. However, the team still lags far behind most other teams. The run differential decreased from -150.0 to -107.0, but no one will be breaking out the champagne over a plus-100 negative. It will come as no surprise that San Diego batters increased their strikeouts per game from 9.40 to 9.76 and the strikeout percentage from 24.3 to 26.3.
The cumulative ERA for all pitchers increased from 4.40 to 4.61; strikeouts per nine innings decreased but walks increased. On the plus side, the overall WHIP decreased from 1.338 to 1.297 and ranked ninth in MLB.
Despite the additions of Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. (for at least part of the season), double plays per game decreased. Overall errors rose from 99 to 117 while fielding percentage dropped very slightly from .983 to .980.
Although the payroll increased to levels never imagined in PadreLand, the Padres stumbled to the finish line and left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. For longtime fans, it’s just a continuation of the misery as the team finished last place in the division for the 20th time in 51 seasons. The front office has promised big changes, and offseason moves will determine whether or not the Padres rise out of almost perpetual mediocrity to become a real contender.