Team rankings and projections for the 2021 Padres


Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A comparison of the 2020 San Diego Padres to the 2019 team. Also, a look into the “experts” predictions on where the Padres will finish in the 2021 season. 

Despite the all-around weird nature of the 2020 Major League Baseball season for the San Diego Padres, it helped wipe out the memories of 10 years without a winning season, 14 years without a playoff appearance, and 22 years without a playoff victory.

Last year, the Padres moved from the irrelevant to the contender tier.

According to multiple measurements, the pandemic Padres of 2020 outplayed the 2019 team in every single category.

Of course, comparisons between a 60-game schedule and the usual 162-game schedule must come with an asterisk.

However, the improvements in many categories cannot be discarded as irrelevant due to the shortened season.  In one of the most encouraging categories—run differential–the franchise with multiple years of a negative run differential crossed the plate 180 more times than the previous year.

Below you’ll find further comparisons, compiled from

Stat                      2019           Ranking               2020           Ranking

AVG .237 28 .255 11
OBP .308 25 .332 8
SLG .410 26 .461 3
OPS .718 26 .793 5
Runs/Game 4.21 27 5.35 4
Walks/Game 3.11 21 3.45 13
K’s/Game 9.76 28 8.12 5
LOB/Game 6.22 29 6.29 5
Run Diff. -107 22 +73 3
BABIP 0.293 18 0.291 14
Strikeout % 26.3% 29 21.8% 7
Walk % 8.4% 18 9.3% 14
Pitcher K/9 9.27 21 9.66 5
Pitcher BB/9 2.91 21 3.18 7
Pitcher ERA 4.61 13 4.09 10
Pitcher WHIP 1.297 21 1.248 8
E per game 0.72 26 0.59 16
DP/Game 0.66 29 0.76 18
DRS -1 11 3 14

Just as the Padres took giant steps last year, the vast majority of baseball pundits consider the team the “winner” of the offseason.

No other organization added three solid starting pitchers (Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove) to a talented group that already included Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, the 2020 version of Wil Myers, and Jake Cronenworth, to name a few.  Despite huge pandemic-induced losses, team ownership doubled down on investment.

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Some predictions even have the Padres winning as many as 95 games. A height reached only by the 1998 team that went all the way to the World Series.

According to FanGraphs, only the Los Angeles Dodgers (97 percent), New York Yankees (90.2 percent), and the Padres (93.5 percent) have at least a 90 percent of reaching the playoffs.  Multiple outlets also place the Padres toward the top in power rankings.

NBC Sports EDGE MLB Power Rankings

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. San Diego Padres
  3. Atlanta Braves
  4. New York Yankees

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. San Diego Padres
  3. New York Yankees
  4. Atlanta Braves
  5. Chicago White Sox

  1. Los Angeles Dodgers
  2. San Diego Padres
  3. New York Yankees
  4. Atlanta Braves
  5. New York Mets

Will Leitch “Extremely real, totally true playoff predictions”

American League

AL East:      New York Yankees

AL Central: Chicago White Sox

AL West:     Oakland A’s

AL WC:      Toronto Blue Jays at Minnesota Twins

National League

NL East:      Atlanta Braves

NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals

NL West:    Los Angeles Dodgers

NL WC:      New York Mets at San Diego Padres

More in-depth prognostications can be found  at the FiveThirtyEight and Baseball Prospectus:

The Dodgers may be considered the odds-on favorite to win a second consecutive World Series. However, the season begins with the Padres in first place in the National League West.

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