Baseball is back, good baseball is back, bad baseball is back, the San Diego Padres are back and finally Tuckin’ Hell is back. Join Tom as he watches the Swinging Friars in their mission to win some games of baseball in 2018 and not completely suck.
We‘re 16 games into the 2018 season and the San Diego Padres have a record of 6-10. They are 4th in the NL West (above the Dodgers) and have been hit hard at home with a record of 3-7. They have been swept by the Brewers, lost a series and won a series against the Rockies, lost a series to the current World Series champions and are currently splitting a series against the Giants. So with all that in mind, how is it possible they only require one thing to win? Well, that’s where the asterisk comes in, it’s actually more than one thing.
The Padres lineup has been one of the major upgrades compared to last year. After just 16 games they have four (yes, count them, FOUR) hitters with a Weighted Runs Created + (wRC+) over 100 (100 is the “normal” above 100 is good, below 100 is bad), with one more hitter just below the 100 mark and contributing.
- Christian Villanueva – 187 wRC+
- Freddy Galvis – 138 wRC+
- Eric Hosmer – 132 wRC+
- Jose Pirela – 111 wRC+
They are 18th in team wRC+ with 92, 17th in team runs with 56 and are joint 6th in team home runs with 18, matching the “baby bombers” of New York!
If you weren‘t following the Padres last season, this is a large improvement on the production of the lineup in 2017. They spent most of last season at the bottom of the table in most team hitting categories.
So is it all good for the Padres in terms of hitting? Not *all good*, there is still room for improvement.
They are 27th in walk percentage at 7.2%, their strikeout percentage is also up, but they have the home runs to kind of back that number up. Chase Headley is bad, although the team are 1-0 with him playing at first base, he‘s been dreadful to start the season. If there’s any hope of him being trade bait, it’s looking highly unlikely right now.
Defensively the team has looked better, however there have been a few throws to the “Scoop Master“ Hosmer that were rather wide or “Un-scooped“. We‘re these the intangibles folk were talking about?
As for the rest of the team, Freddie Galvis has looked like an older Francisco Lindor. He’s been fantastic in the field and giving the Padres the shortstop they have been waiting for, for what seems like forever.
Oh and he‘s hitting well!
This was probably the Padres strongest and most set area coming into 2018. After the start Brad Hand had and Kirby Yates going down with an injury, it looked like the preseason predictions may need some adjustment.
However, want to guess which bullpen is third in ERA with 1.93? San Diego Padres. Want to guess which team leads all of baseball in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) with 2.67? San Diego Padres. Finally, want to guess which bullpen leads all of baseball in Fangraphs Wins Above Replacement (fWAR)? That’s right, it’s the San Diego Padres.
Craig Stammen and Phil Maton currently lead the bullpen in fWAR (0.4 each), Maton has only pitched 4.1 innings, but he currently holds a 14.54 K/9, 0.00 BB/9 and an ERA of 0.00.Stammen (who was pretty bad throughout most of last year), has pitched 10.1 innings, 8.71 K/9, 0.87 BB/9 and an ERA of 0.00.
The real joy for me to watch has been Adam Cimber, like Kazuhisa Makita (own blog post in the future), Cimber has a submariner action. Cimber has pitched 10 innings, has a 11.7 K/9, 1.8 BB/9 and an ERA of 1.80.
What about the closer? Well I’m happy to admit I said early on that Brad Hand was on the decline and should have been traded last year. I still stand by the fact he should have been traded, however I’m happy to concede I may have been a *smidge* early on calling quits on his career (It wasn’t that drastic, but I’m sure the BFN gang will say I was). After a shaky start, he’s now pitched 9 innings, 14.00 K/9 4.00 BB/9 and an ERA of 2.00. He has 14 strikeouts, 6 saves and 1 blown save.
Maybe he will be ok.
When the Padres signed Eric Hosmer, people (Idiots) we’re talking them up for a postseason spot! When the Padres signed Eric Hosmer, people (Idiots) believed he was the final piece in the puzzle to push this Padres team to a World Series.
The real “final piece” is the rotation. Going into the season we knew that Dinelson Lamet was good, Clayton Richard blew hot and cold but could filling innings, Luis Perdomo would probably get another full season however it probably won’t be pretty, after that? It was all about the prospects and it was all about late 2018 early 2019. Cal Quantrill, Mackenzie Gore, Joey Lucchesi, etc. No one thought “Bryan Mitchell, he‘s a great trade acquisition.”, or “Tyson Ross? He was just badly managed in Texas, the Padres will get him firing again!”
So what has actually happened? Well, Dinelson Lamet was injured in his final start of Spring Training and after some dithering by the Padres (The news stories and rumours about that are bizarre) he is finally getting Tommy John and is gone for the year.
Clayton Richard has been pretty poor. After four starts, he’s rocking a 5.73 ERA, 4.21 xFIP, 6.55 K/9 and 4.09 BB/9. In the words of Dennis Eckersley – “Yuck“.
Luis Perdomo has been surprisingly interesting. With three stars under his belt, he’s rocking an impressive hard throwing 10.64 K/9 but that’s accompanied by a 5.73 BB/9. Ouch. His xFIP is a imposing 4.12 but he does hold a 0.00 HR/9. Keep that up buddy, it’s nice to have.
The big surprises have come from Joey Lucchesi (If you haven’t seen his wind-up, check it out), who has slipped into this Major League rotation without too much worry. In his three starts he has a 1.72 ERA, 3.23 xFIP, 9.19 K/9, 2.30 BB/9 and leads the rotation in fWAR or 0.4. The other one is Tyson Ross, who has actually looked pretty solid. Rocking a 3.50 ERA, 3.35 xFIP, 7 K/9 and a very important 2.00 BB/9.
Bryan Mitchell has been hot garbage.
The only team category that the Padres rotation find themselves in the top half, is HR/9, they are 7th with 0.9.
It’s not all rosey for the rotation, but it’s not as bad as last year.
There have been some problems for this Padres team and I don’t just mean Eric Hosmer and his lack of ability to catch an infield fly to end a game they should have won against the Astros.
Or Eric Hosmer struggling to dig multiple scoops out of the dirt from either wild throws or his lack of ability to dig them out.
Or Eric Hosmer…I’m joking. He’s actually come in and done what we all thought, he’s been pretty consistent with the bat and actually picked up is first homerun this week. However, those intangibles, I mean wow, they are something.
The real problem with this team though has been (HOT CAKES ALERT) the rotation. I‘ll say that again, THE ROTATION ISN‘T GREAT
- How long can Joey Lucchesi last before the book is out?
- Will Luis Perdomo end up with a higher BB/9 Vs his K/9 (Probably not)?
- Will Clayton Richard keep his spot in the rotation because he can rake?
So many questions, so much of the season left, the asterisk means more than one thing. It’s more like three things (Three starters).
There are two things that we know for sure;
The future is incredibly bright with the prospects that are coming.
Bryan Mitchell has been hot garbage.