The San Diego Padres have gotten off to a frustrating start to the 2018 Major League Baseball season. As the first month comes to a close, the team sits in last place in the NL West with a 10-20 record.
Some things have been out of the team’s control, leading to their slow start. Wil Myers is on the disabled list for the second time. He suffered an oblique strain on April 28 and had to leave the game.
Hunter Renfroe has been on the DL with elbow inflammation. Dinelson Lamet is scheduled to have Tommy John surgery in May and will miss the entire season. He was expected to be an important part of the Padres’ young rotation.
The season has had some bright spots so far. Joey Lucchesi was called up to replace Lamet. He’s been just as good as expected, if not better. He leads Padres starters in wins (3), ERA (2.78), and strikeouts (35).
Christian Villanueva has a team-high eight home runs. He leads all MLB rookies in that category. Even more impressive, he has 103 plate appearances in his young career. Villanueva has the potential to do something special during his career.
Franchy Cordero has six home runs, and is second among MLB rookies. Two of his six blasts had a 116 mph exit velocity. Cordero hits the ball hard. He’s going to be a fun player to watch for a long time.
Those bright spots have been overshadowed by the enormous amount of strikeouts. The strikeouts pile up with every game, now at 309, and it is becoming a concern.
The 309 strikeouts ranks 15th among 15 NL teams, and 30th in the majors. The team averaged 10.3 strikeouts per game through 30 games.
Freddy Galvis leads the team with 31. Austin Hedges has the second most with 30. Eric Hosmer has 29 strikeouts. What makes these numbers seem so horrendous is the number of games these players have played. Galvis has appeared in all 30 games so far. Hedges has played in 24 games. Hosmer has played 26 games. Cordero has played in 17 games this season, but has struck out 25 times. Villanueva has 24 strikeouts in 23 games played.
If guys are striking out, they are not getting on base. If they’re not getting on base, there is no chance of them scoring runs. The Padres rank 22nd in the majors with 3.97 runs per game.
Cutting down on strikeouts is one of the things this team can control. Putting the ball in play gives a hitter a much greater chance at getting on base than not putting the ball in play (obviously). It could make this team more fun to watch.
Hosmer leads the team with 10 doubles, and he leads the NL in multi-hit games. He still has struck out 29 times. Villanueva leads all rookies in home runs. He still has struck out 24 times. The Padres have hired hitting coaches only to give them a temporary stay before they’re shown the door. They hired Matt Stairs in the offseason, who brought a philosophy with an emphasis on on-base percentage.
So far, guys have shown they could get on base. They could get on base a lot more if they didn’t strike out as much.