Padres offense can’t rely solely on Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return

Padres Fernando Tatis Jr.

(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

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The Padres offense has largely been propped up by Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer. They need more from the rest of the lineup before Fernando Tatis Jr. returns.

The San Diego Padres have the eighth-most runs (137) in Major League Baseball after 32 games. However, the offense has left a lot to be desired in May, accounting for just 33 runs – good for 22nd in the league. Thus far, Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer have carried the team. The former is putting together an early case for the National League MVP, with seven home runs and 22 RBI while hitting for a robust .383 average.

Hosmer has silenced his doubters in the early stages of the season, hitting .367 to go along with four home runs and 21 RBI. He’s also tied with Machado for a team-leading eight doubles.

That said, the Padres have no one else in the order batting higher than .226.

After a hot start to the year, Jurickson Profar has cooled off. The Friars left fielder is hitting just .155 over his last 15 games, with one home run and five RBI. Jake Cronenworth looked to be turning the corner after a slow start, but he is hitting .233 over his last 15 games. Ha-seong Kim just .200 over his last 15 games, Trent Grisham .145, Austin Nola .170.

It’s not a pretty picture.

Despite all of this doom and gloom, the Padres are tied with the Dodgers with 20 wins in the National League West division and have the third-most wins in baseball. At some point, the offense will need to turn around.

Of course, San Diego is expected to get a huge shot in the arm, with Fernando Tatis Jr. likely due back in June. The 23-year-old phenom is a big part of the Padres offense. There’s no questioning that.

However, they have been outscored 33-42 in May, highlighted by lopsided shutout losses to the Marlins and Cubs in a three-day span.

Both recently back from injury, Wil Myers and Luke Voit haven’t produced the way the Padres had hoped coming into this year. Voit was acquired just before spring training to serve as the team’s DH while giving Hosmer a backup at first base. However, the former New York Yankee is hitting just .130 over his last seven games. He hit two home runs on Wednesday, but Voit continues to strike out at a 29 percent clip.

Myers is back from a thumb injury, but the former third overall pick in 2009 is still looking for his first longball of the year. He’s hitting .214 over his last 15 games and went 0-for-5 on Wednesday.

“I think we’ve done a good job at holding our ground until those guys came back,” Hosmer said of Voit and Myers. “We’re winning games. Maybe the offense isn’t putting up the overall numbers that we want, but we’re winning games. Now we get those guys back, so hopefully we can take off from here.”

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Myers hit .256 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI in 146 games last year. Voit had a down year in 2021, hitting just .239 in New York last season. He led the league with 22 home runs and a .277 average in the shortened 2020 season. The Padres don’t need Voit and Myers to play at an MVP level. They just need to return to career norms or be close to them.

“It lengthens the lineup,” Cronenworth said after Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Cubs. “It’s two huge bats in the lineup, Luke with some walks tonight, Wil with the big hit in the first inning. It was one of those things, we’re missing two really good players, and now they’re back. It’s awesome to have them back.”

Add in an uptick in production from Cronenworth and Kim, and the Padres offense should be well-balanced when Tatis returns to the lineup.

2 thoughts on “Padres offense can’t rely solely on Fernando Tatis Jr.’s return

  1. “Hosmer has silenced his doubters in the early stages of the season…”?? Are you kidding?! Hosmer is Hosmer. He is a massively overpaid 1B who is well-below average for a first baseman. “Mr April” will come back to earth, and will drag the offense down with him. Also, no one has benefited more from the shift than he has. Most of his hits come on what would otherwise be routine grounders to 2B, or SS. If they could find a taker right now, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

    Tatis is uber-talented, but he is Eric Davis 2.0…except FTJ will cost $320 million more, over 15 years. E.D. was arguably more talented (he stole 80 bases in a year, with 27 HRs the same year, and 37 HR’s the next), but, after the first few years, was always injured (like Tatis is now). However, E.D. never got hurt doing dumb stuff outside the lines.

  2. Valuable analysis does not point to small sample sizes like the last 15 games. And 6 flukey weeks does not turn Hosmer into something he is not.
    Hosmer’s numbers, and those of every other player on the team, including Machado’s, will tend to move back towards their career means. 32 year old Eric Hosmer will see his numbers move back towards his career wRC+ score of 109, and away from his current 180. 180 is Mickey Mantle, Mike Trout territory. Hosmer is not that level of player. His best year ever was 2017 and his score was 135. So given a best case scenario we will see significant regression towards the mean from here on out.
    This is, more than anything else, a pretty good argument that we have seen the best he will produce this year and should trade him now to avoid the inevitable return to earth.
    Think of it this way: if we flip a coin and it comes up heads 10 times in a row, the most likely outcome on future flips is still a 50-50 split. So regardless of recent production Hosmer is most likely to produce, over the rest of the season, within one standard deviation of a wRC+ score of 109.

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