The 2020 season is set to kick off Friday, and the Padres have announced their initial roster.
With the abbreviated regular season set to be on Friday for the Padres against the Diamondbacks, Opening Day rosters had to be set at 30 players by 9 am PDT.
David Bednar and Luis Perdomo lock up the final bullpen spots. Edward Olivares and Josh Naylor also make the team as OF bench pieces. No Gore/Patiño/Morejon but the sense is that they’ll be up at some point.
Here’s the full 2020 Padres Opening Day roster: pic.twitter.com/bDOWC0YEzF
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) July 23, 2020
Many thought the Padres would carry three catchers, one behind Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia, Luis Torrens, or Webster Rivas were the main candidates. However, the Friars are rolling with their two main backstops to start the season.
With recently acquired infielder Jorge Mateo contracting coronavirus, the door opened for Jake Cronenworth to make the roster. Cronenworth hit .296 during 13 Spring Training games before it was shut down.
Ty France makes the team, likely as a DH candidate. He hit .273 with a home run in 12 spring games earlier this year. There is not much more France can do to prove himself in Triple-A, where he hit .399 with a 1.247 OPS and 27 home runs in 76 games in 2019.
Greg Garcia was a valuable utility option last year, playing five different defensive positions. The Valhalla High School alum hit .278 in 46 pinch-hit appearances.
The biggest surprise was outfielder Edward Olivares. He arrived in San Diego after the Friars dealt away fan-favorite Yangervis Solarte to the Blue Jays in exchange for the young Venezuelan. He became a vital part of the successful Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles in 2019. In 127 games, he hit 18 home runs .283 with a 123 wRC+ and proved himself a solid fielder in the outfield.
The trade that sent Franchy Cordero to the Kansas City Royals revealed the trust the Friars brass has in Olivares’ abilities. It opened the door for him to make the squad, and he will begin the season as part of the 30-man roster.
The feature number on the roster is 16, as in the number of pitchers San Diego will carry until rosters shrink to 28 two weeks from now. It is still unclear who the fifth starting pitcher is, but Joey Lucchesi and Cal Quantrill both made the roster, and they may split time every fifth day.
Despite some injuries in the bullpen, the consensus is the Friars will have one of the best bullpens in baseball. The 29th-ranked prospect in the organization, David Bednar, makes the roster as a useful right-handed arm. In Double-A, he posted a 2.95 ERA in 44 games last season.
Javy Guerra makes the roster as a shortstop-turned-reliever due to being without minor league options. He shows promise with a lively arm and raw talent.
Assuming the Padres will stick to a traditional five-man rotation, they will have 11 relievers at their disposal.
Overall, this roster may look much different in a few weeks. Many assume top pitching prospects MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patiño will get the call sooner rather than later.