The San Diego Padres X-factors for 2020 season

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A look at five potential X-factors who may be significant for the San Diego Padres this coming season.

For what has seemed like a very long and rumor-filled offseason, the 2020 San Diego Padres are finally all in camp with hopes of making this season a memorable one. Plenty of moves to add pieces were made during the winter, while some never materialized past smoke in mirrors. Whether your preference was for more to be done, or not, A.J. Preller made the team better from last year’s finale.

There are players in camp with high expectations who have garnered much of the attention early on like star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., newcomer Tommy Pham, and ace of the staff Chris Paddack. There are also players like first baseman Eric Hosmer, newly acquired outfielder Trent Grisham, and thers who have more inconsistent levels of expectations depending on who is evaluating.

Just like every other team in baseball kicking off their Spring Training activities, the Padres have a group of talented individuals looking to maximize their potential and silence the lingering critics. Going hand in hand with high expectations and promising potential, though, are questions of uncertainty or doubt concerning that same not-yet-achieved potential.

This very theme applies to basically every position and player on the San Diego Padres, as well as their team on as a whole. Everything from injury concerns (Tatis Jr. missed close to half his rookie season from injuries), Consistency concerns (ace Paddack has only one season from which to emulate) and performance concerns (Hosmer has relatively underwhelmed in his two seasons in San Diego) have led most “experts” to predict around 80 to 84 wins this season.

Assume you trust these numbers and take the favorable 84-78 projection, certainly far from a disappointing season realistically, given the team’s 70-92 record in 2019. That improvement would be a significant jump forward, but would likely have the team watching the postseason from home. Accepting or expecting anything less than a playoff spot for this team, whether you’re a player or a fan at home, is what this franchise is looking to shake.

For the Padres to outperform these general projections and realistically compete for a playoff spot as currently constructed, a lot would have to go right. Players like Tatis Jr., Paddack, and star closer Kirby Yates would need channel their spectacular 2019 seasons and possibly improve on them, as hard as that might seem.

On top of their stars leading the way, they would likely need at least one, if not more, players to significantly exceed expectations. This type of player is what I like to categorize as an X-factor.

An X-factor on a baseball team usually refers to a player with a strong but unpredictable influence. A player that wouldn’t surprise anyone if things go well or better, but doesn’t have expectations for that to happen.  More simply explained: the impact should be unexpected on some level, but not surprising.

The Padres have a handful of guys who fit into this category that will likely be on the Opening Day roster when the Padres start playing real games next month.

In no particular order, five candidates to make an X-factor type of impact on this team:

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Kevin Modafferi
I'm a San Diego native who loves baseball and have been following the Padres my entire life. I love baseball and love writing, so this is a dream gig for me. Is it baseball season yet?!?

8 thoughts on “The San Diego Padres X-factors for 2020 season

  1. How was Hosmer “Relatively” underwhelmed? He’s been below replacement level.

    If he were getting the league minimum salary, he’d still be overpaid.

    1. Well his level of underwhelming play is subjective depending on expectations placed on him. His contract was always too high, but that’s how free agency works. Advanced stats aside, he hit .265 with 22 HR and 99 RBI last season. That’s a pretty good offensive season from a Padre first baseman relative to what they’ve had in the past and what they need out of that position. Take advanced stats into account and he is underwhelming compared to his contract and his potential. So as a whole, he’s relatively underwhelming.

  2. Growing up a Padres fan has me totally prepared to watch another “building year”. Can you imagine what it would be like to actually have a contender? I can tell you from having been there in 98’ and 84’ it is an electricity that galvanizes an entire city and makes life really fun. And even though we live in a great place with great weather losing still sucks. This is the curse of San Diego. The karma of you can’t have it all. Because we are the best small market and winning isn’t necessary as long as we have the beach and 50 microbrews on tap at the park people will still come out to the park. And it’s not like we have generational fans who will only be happy with a winner. We have a big giant melting pot of fair weather and transplant fans who are just happy to be somewhere cool. I’m sure they all surf and know where the best carne asada is too.

  3. I dont think profar is the answer, you gave up 3 second basemen ,including spangee.his number where all good ,team player legs.prellar really likes ,the Dominican players.he did this same thing in texas .the outcome was bad .then after he left texas ,they got better.he will sign 3 average, ok , guys for the same position.look at the has been,righthanders he,preller has brought in.senzel is good but not any better than myers,yes younger ,but what will happen with Cordero if senzel comes in from cincee.

  4. Love these articles! Love my Pads! Lamet will be the first Padre with a no-hitter. This year. He has the pitches and I am so looking forward to watching him pitch again. Mejia should get at least four starts a week, because we need his bat in the line-up. Wish Hedges would hit .250. So excited to go to spring training! Go Pads!

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