The 2019 San Diego Padres’ season has been a pleasure to watch. The team has played well, but there are some negative aspects to the season as well. Here is the good, bad and ugly for the Padres season.
For the first time in what seems like an eon, the Padres have started a baseball season with more wins than losses.
At 21-17 the team finds itself tied for second place in the National League West with the Arizona Diamondbacks rather than sharing the rear with the San Francisco Giants.
In the offseason, the Padres made a huge commitment to Manny Machado.
Equally surprising, the organization ignored conventional wisdom and brought up top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. opening day rather than playing the arbitration game. Both moves have paid dividends so far.
The positives far outweigh the negatives so far, but the young team has struggled in certain aspects of play. Improvement in those areas could make this season truly memorable.
Here’s a breakdown of the good, the bad, the ugly 38 games into the schedule.
- Fans filling Petco Park once again
- Eric Lauer outpitching Madison Bumgarner in the first game of the season
- The signing of Manny Machado to the largest contract in Padre history
- Machado’s defense at both shortstop and third base
- Machado’s presence in the lineup
- Fernando Tatis Jr.’s prowess on both sides of the ball
- Tatis’ batting line of .300/.360/.550/.910
- The vastly improved infield defense
- Taking a chance on young pitchers Chris Paddack, Nick Margevicius and Cal Quantrill, as well as former reliever Matt Strahm
- Paddack’s 3-1 record, ERA of 1.55, 46 strikeouts and ten walks
- Paddack’s ace attitude
- Margevicius holding his own without the benefit of a high-velocity fastball
- Ranking sixth with 57 home runs but also first in bunt hits
- Hunter Renfroe’s moon shots against star starters and relievers in crucial situations
- Run differential just +1 but has finally moved into positive territory
- Losing the first series against the Los Angles Dodgers but in close games rather than blowouts like the 15-0 score on April 4, 2016, which made the record books as the most lopsided score in opening day history
- Unique victory celebrations from Tatis Jr.’s chop to the Austin Hedges/Renfroe leaping body slam
- Gerardo Reyes’ dominant performance (including a 99 mph fastball) in 3-2 victory Wednesday against the New York Mets despite an ERA of 13.50
- Young hitters not cowed by the likes of Felix Hernandez, Jacob deGrom or Kenley Jansen
- Eric Hosmer’s rebound (.280/.325/.469/.793) after a rough start to the season
- Manuel Margot‘s acrobatic catch robbing Pete Alonso of a home run, rating a star
- Wil Myers’ early success, perhaps fueled by comfort level in left field
- Franmil Reyes’ continued development at the plate after a slow start
- Losing Tatis Jr. to an injury and interrupting his fast start
- Myers’ frigid streak including 48 strikeouts, .231 BA and sub-.300 OBP
- Lack of real center fielder other than Margot
- The absence of Travis Jankowski, who can play all three outfield positions
- Hosmer’s cold start
- Manager Andy Green’s bullpen management
- Closer Kirby Yates tendency to make things harder for himself,
- Quantrill giving up four straight hits (on 64 pitches) and digging himself an early 2-0 hole against New York Mets on Tuesday
- Joey Lucchesi’s reliance on two pitches and inability to pitch successfully the third time through opponents’ batting average
- Reyes’ lack of wheels in right field especially in more spacious ballparks of NLW
- Sharing a division with the Dodgers who have the, best record in baseball (25-14)
- The Dodgers’ run differential of +51
- Losing the first two games of the series with the Dodgers despite leading in the 9thinning
- Ian Kinsler’s presence on the team (-0.6 WAR in 113 /AB .177/.238/.327/.565 OPS+ 53)
- Opponent’s fans filling stands, especially those of the Dodgers who may have outnumbered Padres’ fans
- Head-scratching base running, including five pickoffs already, despite the team’s emphasis during spring training
- Team’s rank of 28thin walks and 6th in strikeouts
The Padres have made great strides this season. However, the organization will face multiple dilemmas as the season progresses from the usage of young pitchers to improving baserunning and cutting down on strikeouts to bullpen management to the necessity of adding of one or two veteran starting pitchers.
But, in the meantime, we’re all finding winning a lot more fun than losing.