3. Wil Myers
We all know that Wil Myers is struggling, and struggling badly. Some have already deemed this season to be a “lost” one for Wil. That might be true; he’s hitting a dreadful .212 with a .721 OPS & a below-league average 96 wRC+ since May 1st. In that period, he has been striking out almost 30% of the time. The hot takes have been flying:
- The Padres should have traded Wil Myers during the off-season, instead of extending him.
- Wil Myers needs to become a “film rat” and start studying more.
- Wil Myers needs to renovate his swing.
- Wil Myers needs more protection in the lineup
- Wil Myers needs a “veteran” presence to keep him in line
The takes go on and on. Maybe Wil Myers is just having an off season. Maybe it’s something more than that. Since being named an all-star in 2016, his performance has been underwhelming, to say the least. Can he get back on track and salvage a little bit of this disappointing season? Or is he going to continue to trend downward? It is a big question mark that, like it or not, is vital for the Padres’ organization to figure out going forward.
For roughly the next year or so (I’m guessing until Quantrill/Lauer/Lucchessi arrive), these two starting pitchers (plus newly acquired Matt Strahm, if healthy) are going to be really the only starters worth watching.
Perdomo has, for some reason, gotten a bit of a bad rap from Padres fans due to his recent performance. Some of that is probably warranted, and in particular he has had a lot of trouble getting lefty hitters out (.326/.405/.489). Even with that, though, there are very good signs coming out of this season. Perdomo has a 63% ground ball rate, which is elite. The Padres have been one of the worst teams in the league in recording outs on ground balls, so that has not helped Luis at all. He has been worth 1.2 fWAR, and is not even two years removed from pitching for the A-ball Palm Beach Cardinals. It is far, far too early to give up on Luis Perdomo. For starting pitchers, sometimes it takes time for them to figure “it” out. A linear path upwards, unless you are a star #1 or #2 pitcher, probably is not going to happen. There are going to be peaks and valleys, especially for a Rule V guy like him. He does need to add an effective third pitch, and that will probably be an area of focus for him this off-season.
But be patient.
As far as Dinelson Lamet, he has done really all the Padres could have asked from him so far. He has had ups and downs, but the strikeout rate has been very good (11.37/9), and the stuff is obviously electric. The walk rate has dipped from 4.62/9 in El Paso to 3.55/9 with the Padres, which is a major positive. His fastball and slider are really effective, and the changeup has not been THAT bad. Lamet has dominated right-handed hitters, holding them to a .138 clip. Like Perdomo, Lamet needs work against left-handed hitters (.286/.366/.607). There are plenty of positives that come from Lamet, though. His FIP is nearly a run lower than his actual ERA (4.25), and his xFIP is even better (3.96).
Even if he does not wind up a starter, Lamet will be an electric 8th or 9th inning reliever. As for now and next year, though, there is no reason for him to leave the rotation.
5. Brad Hand
Brad Hand, is a bad, bad man. Since June 14th, he has not allowed a run and has a minuscule 0.97 FIP. He has given up 13 hits in 23 innings, striking out 28 and walking only 2. That is…. good.
Even in the days leading up to the deadline, Hand did not show any signs of being rattled. No matter what situation, it is business as usual for him. He is cool as a cucumber. There’s something about him… he is starting to enter the tier of relief pitchers that Kenley Jansen and Andrew Miller are in. When he is in the game, the inning feels automatic. AJ Preller took a chance holding onto him in a buyer’s market during the deadline, and so far Hand has shown that Preller made the right choice. He is more than likely going to be traded in the off-season, but I would not rule out an extension either. He is fun to watch.
6. Mark Grant & Don Orsillo
Even when the Padres are losing, these guys have fun. AwfulAnnouncing.com rated them as the fourth best crew in all of baseball, and it’s hard to disagree:
“The Orsillo/Grant team continually receives strong reviews from fans.”
They’re always laughing and having fun; and their analysis makes it easy for the casual baseball fan to learn the game and follow it. Although the team might not be great, our TV broadcasters are.
7. Austin Hedges
Austin Hedges is a good looking individual. His defense has been as advertised this year, but the bat is still lagging behind a little bit. He is currently sporting a .223/.263/.424 slash line with a 29.1 K% rate/77 wRC+. Not great by any means. His defense alone will make him a useful big leaguer, but will the bat follow? He will be 25 in September and this is his first year of getting consistent time in the majors, so perhaps he will improve next year at the plate. If he doesn’t, again, he will still be a very good starter. If he does improve at the plate, though, we are looking at an all-star. Let’s hope for the latter and for him to improve in this last third of the season.
So there you go. Seven reasons to watch the big league club as the season winds down. And face it, when it’s December, you are going to miss having Padres baseball on your television… so you might as well watch as much as you can!