A look at the early season rankings for the Padres

Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Padres

The San Diego Padres started the season ranked third in Major League Baseball in “The Athletics” Power Rankings. Just three weeks into the season, the team has fallen to eighth place behind the Tampa Bay Rays (14-2), Atlanta Braves (12-4), New York Yankees (10-6), Milwaukee Brewers (11-5), New York Mets (10-6), Minnesota Twins (10-6), Toronto Blue Jays (10-6), with a losing record of 8-10.

On Sunday, Yu Darvish pitched a gem, going seven innings, with 12 strikeouts and only one run allowed; that run scored thanks to confusion over pitcher “disengagement” (one of the myriad new rules designed to speed up games) and handed the Brewers the win. San Diego batters went 0-6 with runners in scoring position, a weakness of last year’s lineup. On Monday, Max Fried (a former Padre prospect) shut out San Diego, the second game in a row without a single run. Ryan Weathers (2.281) lasted six innings, giving up just two hits and two runs with five strikeouts.

The team has also shown a lack of consistency (10 runs one day, zero the next), also reminiscent of last season. Despite ranking third in payroll–$182.571.500– behind the New York Mets and Yankees, the Padres have fallen below .500.  In the National League West, a winning percentage of .444 amounts to third place behind the 10-7 Arizona Diamondbacks and 8-9 Los Angeles Dodgers.

Shortstop Xander Bogearts leads the team with a batting line of .354/.427/.585/1.012, but his teammates lag far behind him and his 23 hits. Manny Machado is second with 17 hits, OBP (.427), slugging (.585), and OPS (1.012)

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Juan Soto, who joined the Padres last year at the trade deadline, has continued his San Diego swoon. In five years with the Washington Nationals, he batted .291/427 538 966 OPS+160, but he hasn’t come close to that level in San Diego–.221 379 388 766 OPS+ 105.

Manny Machado’s bat carried the Padres last year (.298/.366/.531/.898 154 OPS+but in 2023, he’s off to a slow start (.254/.292/.343/.635 OPS+ 77) and a negative WAR (0.4).

Overall the Padres have not played up to expectations or payroll. According to TeamRankings.com, San Diego has underperformed in most categories:

Batting

16th Run differential  -2.0 (tied with Toronto, Cleveland, Arizona)

29th Team BA balls in play 0.269.

26th Team batting average 0.231

16th Team Slugging % 0,404

18th Team on base % 0.316

17th Team on-base plus slugging % 0.720

26th Hits per game, 7.53

22nd RBI per game, 3.94

8th Homeruns per game 1.29

9th Walks per game 3.94

12th Strikeouts per game

9th Left on base per game 14.41

7th Runners left in scoring position per game 3.29

Fielding

6th Double plays per game

3rd Errors per game 0.29

Pitching

9th Outs pitched per game 26.78

14th ERA 4.21

20th Walks/hits per inning pitched 1.398

16th Strikeouts per 9 8.78

12th HR per game 1.01

23rd Walks per game 4.09

Offensive help is on the way in the person of Fernando Tatis Jr. He will be eligible to return to the team on April 20th.

However, he has not appeared in a Major League game since 2021 and will be playing a new position. If he can come close to his performance that year, he’ll give the team a mighty boost. Tatis appeared in 130 games and led the team in home runs with 42, stolen bases with 25, a batting average of .282, an on-base percentage of .364, a slugging percentage of .611, an OPS of .975, and OPS+ 166.

On the pitching side, Blake Snell must improve in order for the team to live up to expectations. In three games, Snell is 0/2 with an ERA of 6.92 and WHIP of 2.154.

The San Diego Padres have plenty of time to clean up their act. Granted, the schedule has been difficult. All but one team, the Colorado Rockies, has a winning record. But so far, the vaunted team has not lived up to expectations.

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