With the grand total of 19 errors and five passed balls, the San Diego Padres have the highest combination of these two stats in baseball. The five passed balls ties the team with the Toronto Blue Jays for the major league lead. The 19 errors ties the Padres for fourth in errors behind the Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers. It is worth noting that the Padres are second for the most putouts so far this season with 623. Only the New York Yankees have made more putouts defensively with 627.
The errors the Padres are making aren’t at an alarmingly high rate. They are committing too many, without any question. However, the team is making untimely errors that are just piling on one another. With a new team comes these growing pains, that was to be expected. Time will just have to tell who this team really is.
Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers are proving to be decent in the outfield. Most so-called experts reported that the Padres outfield was going to be horrendous. While they will probably not win any gold gloves, the trio has served the team well. Kemp has shown aggressiveness and mobility in right field, while Myers has shown unexpected speed and range in center. Upton is not a defensive specialist but has made numerous nice catches this year. Besides Upton provides the Padres an all-star caliber player at the prime of his career.
If the middle infield and first base can pick up their gloves, then the Padres should be alright. I still would have to believe a trade for a shortstop is coming and Jean Segura of the Milwaukee Brewers would be an ideal fit. Not only for his lead-off bat and speed, but for the stellar defense he would provide at a pivotal position on the baseball diamond. We can only hope that A.J. Preller and the Padres are able to wrestle him away from the Brewers. Meanwhile Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes will rotate at shortstop for the Padres.
At third base, Will Middlebrooks has been rock solid. He makes the easy plays and has shown exceptional extincts at the hot corner. He has made numerous hard outs this season, and with a little luck he could easily be hitting over .300. What can be said about Yangervis Solarte? He has absolutely stolen the second base job from Jedd Gyorko.
Being left-handed has helped Solarte entrench himself in the lineup. Team that with Jedd Gyorko and his inability to hit, and presto you have the Padres everyday starting second baseman. Yonder Alonso has made some costly errors this season, but has picked it up recently. His footwork has always been suspect at first base, and the fact he is a right-handed thrower doesn’t help his cause. The position of first base is generally a position best manned by a left-handed thrower. The smoothest and best defensive first-baseman have always been southpaws.
Derek Norris has greatly improved his defense behind the plate, especially his footwork. Teams were initially trying to run all over him and the Padres, but they quickly learned Norris had improved his game. Norris and Wil Nieves have thrown out nine runners this season in 22 attempts. The pass balls are another thing and the game Wil Nieves had Wednesday afternoon cannot happen again. Those type of mistakes can demoralize a team and zap them of any confidence. The team cannot have games like that if it wants to seriously compete this year.
The defense will be a common theme all season long. This Padres team is not built for its defense. As a Padres fan it is going to be a frustrating year on defense, we just have to hope the offensive firepower supplants and defensive inadequacies. This team can be very special and with A.J. Preller at the helm, the future is bright.