The Padres’ All-Petco Park Era Team

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(Photo by William A Guerro / Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

 

Credit: USA Today

Left field: Chris Denorfia

This one seems, well, out of left field. Strictly looking at numbers among left fielders for the Padres, Denorfia leads all of them with 7.6 fWAR. He didn’t have the pop some others on the list possessed, but he quietly got on base consistently and played solid defense. Every team could use a “Chris Denorfia.” He batted .275 during his time in San Diego and posted 13 Defensive Runs Saved in left field from 2010-2013. Despite having lackluster pop, he had an above-average 108 OPS+ during his five seasons for the Friars.

Honorable mention: Scott Hairston (5.2 fWAR, 112 wRC+)

Center field: Mike Cameron

Most people underappreciate Cameron’s career, especially his time in San Diego. Until Trent Grisham in 2020, Cameron was the last Padres outfielder to win a Gold Glove back in 2006. The Padres have not had many true, prototypical center fielders recently and Cameron was absolutely one of the few. Also, in 2006, he turned in a 20-20 season with 22 home runs and 25 stolen bases, along with an .837 OPS, helping get the Padres an NL West crown. He nearly accomplished the feat again in 2007, with 21 homers and 18 steals. The three-time Gold Glover earned 7.6 bWAR in just two seasons. While other great Padre outfielders dabbled in center field, Cameron was a stalwart at one of the toughest positions on the field.

Honorable mention: Cameron Maybin (6.0 fWAR)

Right field: Will Venable

You would be hard-pressed to keep Venable off this team. He is one of the longest-tenured Friars of the Petco Park era, playing in eight seasons from 2008 to 2015. In 918 career games, he batted .252 with a slightly-above-average 105 OPS+. What set him apart was his reliability and defense. Between 2010 and 2014, he averaged 139 games per season, with a 106 OPS+ and 112 stolen bases. On defense, he played all three outfield positions well, earning a positive Defensive Runs Saved mark in each spot. He mostly played right field, where earned 19 DRS in from 2009 to 2014.

His peak season in San Diego came in 2013, when he hit 22 home runs, stole 22 bases, along with a .796 OPS and 126 OPS+ while playing nearly Gold Glove-level defense in the outfield. He was easily a fan favorite with his solid defense, calm demeanor and workman-like attitude. He finished his Padres career with 13.3 fWAR.

Honorable mention: Hunter Renfroe (89 home runs, 4.3 fWAR) 

Designated Hitter: Franmil Reyes

Assuming the universal DH is coming to the National League, let’s have some fun with this, since there are no rules in this article, and add a DH. This one might sting a little. Reyes is the perfect, prototypical DH. A big-bodied, burly power hitter that can hit baseballs so far that NASA might need to take notice. When the Padres traded the beloved Dominican slugger to Cleveland in the middle of the 2019 season, fans and teammates were devastated. He finished that season with some impressive numbers, with 37 home runs, an .822 OPS and 112 OPS+, parts of that in Cleveland, much to the chagrin of the Friar faithful.

What hurts more is that Reyes just finished another 30-homer season in Cleveland in 2021, with an .846 OPS and 127 OPS+. Strictly focusing on his time in a Padres uniform, among batters in the Petco Park era with at least 600 plate appearances, Reyes trails only Tatis and Gonzalez in OPS. He was gone from San Diego far too soon.

Honorable mention: Carlos Quentin (.816 OPS, 131 wRC+)


Starting pitcher: Jake Peavy

This one is just about as obvious as putting Tatis at shortstop. Peavy is arguably the greatest starting pitcher in franchise history since he is the franchise leader in starter WAR, starter strikeouts-per-nine-innings, and total strikeouts. Only a handful of pitchers in major league history won the Triple Crown of pitching, and Peavy accomplished that feat in 2007, winning the Cy Young Award as well. He won 19 games with a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts. From 2004 to 2009, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in all of baseball. He struck out at least 215 batters in three straight seasons.

Among starting pitchers in the Petco Park era, there is a Coronado Bridge-sized gap between Peavy and the rest of the pack. He earned 26.3 fWAR during his time in San Diego and the next closest starting pitcher is Tyson Ross, at 9.4.

Honorable mention: Tyson Ross (9.4 fWAR, 3.40 ERA) 

Relief pitcher: Trevor Hoffman

This one was trickier than originally thought. Of course, Hoffman is one of the greatest relief pitchers in baseball history and certainly in Padres history. However, he pitched for 11 seasons in San Diego when they were still at Qualcomm, before playing the final five years of his Padres career at Petco. Technically, Heath Bell had a lower ERA and higher WAR at Petco Park than the now-Hall of Famer. However, it comes down to Hoffman still earning more saves than Bell since 2004 and him, well, just being Trevor Hoffman. Much like the Machado-over-Headley debate, no one would opt for Bell over Hoffman if they had to choose one to come out of the bullpen in the ninth to lock a game down. Despite being at the tail end of his career, Hoffman still earned 202 of his 552 career saves as a Padre in the Petco Park era.

Honorable mention: Heath Bell (134 saves, 2.53 ERA)

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.
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