People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts
Even you, yesterday you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn’t believe after all these years, you didn’t know me better than that
– Idiot Wind, Bob Dylan
I woke up on the roadside, daydreamin’ ’bout the way things sometimes are
– Bob Dylan, same song
I’m going to make a fake prediction: the Padres will win the World Series in 2017.
My next prediction? The Taco Train is gathering steam.
As to the first, let’s start at the beginning: the starting pitching. The Padres have nine starting pitchers due for a breakout season. Let’s consider the fake facts.
Last year with the Padres, in less than two months, Clayton Richards, with his newfound Randy Jones-like sinkerball, fashioned an eye-opening 2.52 ERA. Chris Sale’s ERA was 3.34. Jhoulys Chacin, in his last five starts with the Angels in the hitter friendly AL West, spun himself a mid-3 ERA, ticking his fastball back over 90 after recovering from an arm injury. Trevor Cahill pitched for a World Series-winning team just last year! Luis Perdomo, who went from a Rule 5 pick to a complete game Major League pitcher before you could say Dave Friesleben, is on the verge of a 20-game fake win season. (There’s a sabermetric movement afoot to do away with wins and losses for the starting pitcher. We can replace them with participatory certificates!) Christian Friedrichs at times looks like Steve Carlton. Tyrell Jenkins, a fake prospect if there ever was one, under the tutelage of pitching coach-savant Darren Balsley is bound to get 12-15 fake wins himself. I haven’t even mentioned Jarred Cosart, Paul Clemens or Cesar Vargas. Far from having a underabundance of starting pitching, the Padres have an overabundance, so much so they’ll probably be able to trade away some of it at the trade deadline and still keep a World Series rotation intact.
Then there’s the rest of pitching staff, the bullpen. My next prediction, fake or not, is the Padres will have the best back-end of a bullpen in baseball. Brandon Maurer, Carter Capps, Ryan Buchter, and Brad Hand are hands down the shutdown gods of the emerging Taco Train empire. Between Maurer’s slider, Buchter’s fastball, Hand’s slingshot moxie, and Capps’ general insanity, it’ll be like throwing a fireball of Trumpian tweets at the masses of MLB hackers, leaving them stone cold struck. As in, out. The World Series will never have seen anything like it.
This brings me to the fake 1927 Yankees we’re going to send out on the field to support the staff. Let’s start behind the plate.
First, I digress to make a point. In 2016 the Minnesota Twins had arguably the worst pitching staff in all of baseball. By every measure truly pitiful, real horror movie stuff. How are they alleviating this problem in 2017? With the addition of one player, and not even a pitcher at that. A catcher, Jason Castro. A well thought of defensive catcher. Very good pitch framer, decent arm, calls a good game. A leader in the clubhouse. The totality of their attempts to strengthen their beleaguered pitching staff was to bring in a very solid defensive catcher to make the whole pitching staff better in one fell swoop.
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