Tag Archives: San Diego Padres

Daily Fantasy Baseball Advice for 4/22/2015: Nolan Arenado, Justin Upton, Johnny Cueto

Here’s some daily fantasy baseball advice for 4/22/2015:

Position Player to Play #1: Nolan Arenado

Not only is Colorado Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado already off to a good start and someone you should consider on a regular basis, he’s also facing a pitcher who he has a .800 batting average against. The San Diego Padres are visiting Denver this week and even though it’s James Shields on the mound, I do not like his chances. Current Rockies are hitting .321 against Shieds with 8 home runs. You can safely add plenty of Rockies today including Arenado, Justin Morneau, and Carlos Gonzalez.

Position Player to Player #2: Justin Upton

On the other side of the field there are the Padres who come to Coors Field with a hot offense, in particular outfielder Justin Upton. Upton has a hit nearly every game this season and is facing pitcher Kyle Kendrick. This alone should make you interested in Upton as he is 8 for 23 against Kendrick with 2 home runs in his career. Expect plenty of opportunities to drive in runs and a big game from one of the Padres’ big bats.

Pitcher to Start: Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto goes for his first win of the season tonight against the Milwaukee Brewers and you better believe he has a good shot. The Brewers have Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy out of the lineup. The only player on the team with significant plate appearances against Cueto with success is Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez has struggled immensely this season and there’s no reason to believe he’ll get out of his slump tonight against one of the National League’s best.

Cueto Brewers

Is James Shields Really That Good?

Former free agent pitcher turned San Diego Padres’ ace James Shields is going to get paid a lot of money over the next four seasons. It’s not as much as many people though he’d get, but $75 million over four years is still almost $18.75 million a year more than my W-2 form says I made in 2014. I doubt I’m coming much closer in 2015.

Shields was the last big free agent pitcher to sign a contract. Who would have guessed in October or November that it would be the Padres to ink him?

As much as I like Big Game James, I have to wonder if he’s really even that good.

Shields has a career 3.72 ERA. This is only 0.08 more than John Smiley had for his career. I only use Smiley as the example because he was the 8th player Shields compares to most statistically according to Baseball-Reference.

Only once has Shields had an ERA under 3.00. In 9 seasons, he only has 3 seasons with an ERA below 3.50. Of those seasons, 2 occurred in the most recent years with the Kansas City Royals.

The biggest thing Shields gives any team are lots of innings pitched. This is both a blessing and a curse for him as an injury seems very apparent. Since his sophomore season, Shields has pitched 200 innings or more every year. He’s the ultimate gamer who always shows up for work. The thing is, he’s just not the best at his job or very close to it.

Only twice has Shields even received some consideration for the Cy Young Award. He finished 3rd in 2011 and 11th in 2013. He’s also just a one-time All-Star which says a lot about a 33-year-old making almost $20 million a year.

Shields has no major awards, no 20-win seasons, and his postseason ERA is 5.46. He’s also only 3-6 in playoff baseball including 2 losses in the 2014 World Series. Big Game James is a nickname I’m not sure fits him very well.

Is he good? Yeah.

Is he that good? Maybe not.

Fantasy Baseball Take on Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton

The San Diego Padres received a lot of attention this winter by trading for a new outfield. They plucked Matt Kemp from a few miles north, bought an airline ticket for Wil Myers to travel from Tampa Bay, and decided Justin Upton should spend the last year of his contract in Southern California.

Two years ago, Kemp was taken in the first round of my league’s draft. He had a bad year with a bid of a resurgence in 2014. This still didn’t help my dad feel any better about using his first pick on him in 2013.

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Matt  Kemp") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Matt Kemp”) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Perhaps an even worse pick, I had Myers on my team’s 2014 roster. By the time summer came he was either on the bench or injured every evening. He was, essentially, taking up a roster spot.

As for Upton, he seems to always start off the season great before coming back down to earth. Surprisingly, Upton’s career batting averages are pretty close in both halves (.272 in the first and .277 in the second) so this isn’t much to look into for the upcoming 2015 season.

By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
When considering what you should do about your fantasy team the past does matter, but not as much as the present or future. The future is difficult to predict so we have to instead rely mostly on the present. Right now, these three outfielders will spend half their games playing at the pitcher-friendly PetCo Park. Several of these games will be against the pitching of the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. There’s also those games where they’ll be on the road in Los Angeles and San Francisco where hitting isn’t much easier than it is in San Diego.

To put it bluntly, don’t expect big offensive numbers for any of these three.

In terms of winning games I do believe these three help the Padres.

But fantasy baseball scoring is different.

The Padres can win 2-1 all season long and it won’t help your team much at all if you are relying on the offense. Myers couldn’t even hit .230 last season in the American League East; a division that lacked good pitching in 2014. I can’t imagine how bad things could get in 2015 when he’s playing the majority of his games in pitcher ballparks with great pitchers.

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Wil  Myers") [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Wil Myers”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
For keeper leagues I’d recommend trading any of these three. Myers might not even be worth selecting as one of the players you’d like to bring back. I know I won’t. Kemp and Upton are still too valuable to actually cut. Get in touch with the most naive player in your league once you can and work out a trade for someone who will actually put up good fantasy numbers in 2015. I suggest an infielder since there are plenty of outfielders available.

Remember This: The 2010 San Diego Padres Won 90 Games

In my baseball research I came to discover the last National League team to win 90 games in a season and not make the playoffs was the 2010 San Diego Padres.

After making the discovery I was shocked and had a lot of questions. The Padres are so bad now, prior to all of the trades in the 2014-2015 offseason; it’s hard to imagine that only four years ago they were capable of winning 90 games in a season.

So why were the Padres so good in 2010?

Starting at first base for the Padres was Adrian Gonzalez. He had a great season which included 31 home runs, 101 RBIs, and a .298 batting average. Gonzalez was the only guy in the lineup with more than 15 home runs or 60 RBIs. Additionally, only four players on the team even had 100 hits as a lot of the playing time was split. Gonzalez along with David Eckstein, Chase Headley, and Jerry Hairston were the four players on the team to reach triple digits in hits.

By SD Dirk on Flickr [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By SD Dirk on Flickr [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Since it’s immediately clear, the success of the team was probably with the pitching staff.

Three of the team’s starting pitchers won 14 games that season: Clayton Richard, Jon Garland, and Mat Latos. They also had pretty ERAs at 3.75, 3.47, and 2.92 respectively. However this still doesn’t explain the team’s success.

To realize why the Padres were able to win 90 games you need to look at the bullpen. Closer Heath Bell had 47 saves and a 1.93 ERA. But before getting to him each night, the Padres had an entire bullpen filled with guys having great seasons.

Luke Gregerson appeared in 80 games that year and had a 3.22 ERA. Edward Mujica appeared in 59 games and had only a slightly worse ERA at 3.62.

Also included in the bullpen were Mike Adams and Joe Thatcher. Adams had a 1.76 ERA and Thatcher, the team’s left-handed specialist, had a 1.29 ERA in 65 appearances.

Others like Tim Stauffer, Ryan Webb, and Ernesto Frieri spent time pitching in relief and all had ERAs below 3.00. Remarkably, this great bullpen seems to be the only shining piece of an otherwise average baseball team.

By Djh57 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Djh57 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
A great bullpen surely helps a team, but in the case of the 2010 Padres it seems to have made them a contender.

San Diego Padres Re-Sign Josh Johnson with a Deal Full of Motivation

There was a time not too long ago when Josh Johnson was one of the most dangerous pitchers in baseball. Injuries, however, caught up to him and suddenly fans of the Miami Marlins began getting flashbacks of Josh Beckett.

Johnson left Florida before the 2013 season as part of the big trade between the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. Along with Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, and several others, Johnson headed to the Blue Jays for a very disappointing season as a team and even worse as an individual. Johnson was 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in his one season with the Blue Jays before becoming a free agent.

By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The new place Johnson called home for the 2014 season was in San Diego with the Padres. Once again it was the injury bug that bit him as he failed to make a single appearance. Holding no grudge against him, the Padres decided to re-sign Johnson on a one-year deal worth $1 million.

Perhaps Johnson feels like he owes the Padres. Based on his track record, he could have possibly gotten more money elsewhere. This was still no guarantee and likely his decision was the best one he could make for himself.

The deal the Padres signed Johnson to is worth more than the clean-looking $1 million. Johnson will receive a bonus at several check points this season including $500,000 when he reaches five starts and $1 million more when he starts 10 games. This deal makes me believe the Padres are very hesitant about Johnson’s future and rightfully so. Only three of Johnson’s nine seasons on a big league roster have ended with him pitching in 30 games or more, meaning, he gets injured often. He has also only surpassed 200 innings once, doing so in 2009.

In the position the Padres are in, spending money and making every trade possible to get better, Johnson’s contract looks perfect.

It’s not even about him getting injured either. A poor performance could knock him out of the rotation thus leading to the team not having to pay him for his relief duties. Incentive-laden deals like this make sense and are the perfect way to motivate a guy like Johnson on the mend to perform at the top of his game.

Projected Lineup for the 2015 San Diego Padres as of 12/19/2014

San Diego Padres 2015 Lineup

One of the biggest weeks in recent history for the San Diego Padres took place these last 7 days. Rather than trade away their starting pitchers they kept the rotation intact and decided it was best to add position players to fix their weaknesses rather than subtract from their strengths.

Big acquisitions included trades that got them Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton to fill up the outfield. They also got 2014 All-Star catcher Derek Norris from the Oakland Athletics in a much lighter yet valuable move.

The projected lineup for the 2015 Padres is suddenly looking a lot better than we thought it would. Although Rotowire doesn’t seem to think too highly of the offense statistically, I see them having better numbers than predicted above.

Ignoring those projected stats and the poor batting averages that come with them, the glaring need for the Padres appears to be at first base. I’m not a big Yonder Alonso fan and have always had difficulty accepting a team as a contender when their first baseman is weak. Unless they are an American League team with a powerful designated hitter I don’t like the thought of a first baseman lacking power. It would be easier to accept if Alonso could hit .300 like a James Loney or Doug Mientkiewicz. From what we have seen, this isn’t in his repertoire.

The lack of stolen bases is also a bit troubling considering this team will likely not be anywhere near the top in home run power. A much improved lineup, there is still more to be done to really think of the 2015 Padres as championship-caliber.

A New Look Outfield and Attitude for the San Diego Padres

When the offseason began we figured all the San Diego Padres would do was trade away some of their starting pitchers. Guys like Andrew Cashner were rumored to be dealt to a team that he could actually give him some run support and improve his record.

Less than two months after the end of the 2014 postseason and the Padres are showing us all how wrong our assumptions were about the direction of this franchise.

Not only have the Padres failed to trade away any of their talented pitchers, they have been adding bats to make those pitchers’ performances worth a lot more.

First on the agenda for the Padres was picking up Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Trouble came in the form of an arthritic hip, but the Padres were apparently willing to look the other way and help their rivals up north solve the issue of a crowded outfield. Kemp may not be the player he once was, however, with what the Padres had last year even his worst is an improvement.

A much lighter move, yet possibly far greater in the long-term, was adding Wil Myers. Already traded once in his young career, Myers will go from the sunny city of Tampa Bay to the equally as beautiful San Diego. He’ll be playing his home games outdoors though, and since he’s not a member of the New Orleans Saints it shouldn’t hurt his game.

Finally today the biggest shoe of all dropped when the “re-tooling” Atlanta Braves sent outfielder Justin Upton to the Padres. Upton has 30 home run potential and as a former first overall pick who is only 27-years-old, he may not have reached his full potential.

By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Based on the performance in the last two seasons in particular, it’s strange to see the Padres with an offense like this. Myers may not have done much to impress us, especially considering how poorly he played in 2014, but it’s still too early to write him off. All three of these moves have helped turned around the direction of the team.

More than getting a new outfield, the Padres have also created a new attitude. Their willingness to address problems immediately shows this is not a team to take lightly. Even in a division going into a year where the Dodgers look like they could run away with an easy pennant, the Padres are out there and motivated to get better.

Suddenly, with the pitching they have and this improved offense, the Padres are a team able to contend. They won’t be doing any rolling over in 2015.

Of course, as history tells us, just because you bring in some new players there is no guarantee it will all work out. This could end up as a total disaster. Thankfully, Kemp is the only player they could potentially end up stuck with if this turns into an epic fail.

How Does Wil Myers to the San Diego Padres Impact His Fantasy Baseball Value?

Having Wil Myers on your fantasy baseball team in 2014 probably made you sour on him quite a bit. Before his injury with constant questionable returns, Myers had a very bad year.

By the time the season ended, he had only a .222 batting average in 87 games. His 6 home runs made us question how worthwhile he was keeping. In addition, his unbelievably high 90 strikeouts in what amounted to just over half a season was a huge grievance in leagues where strikeouts provided negative points.

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Wil  Myers") [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as “Wil Myers”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Beginning in 2015, Myers will be a member of the San Diego Padres. This is great news for the Padres, good news for Myers since he may have needed a change of scenery, and terrible news for fantasy owners with Myers on the roster–maybe.

PetCo Park is not hitter-friendly and we can certainly expect home run numbers for anyone there to be lower than they should be. However, the term “hitter-friendly” has far more to do with home runs than actual batting average. Since Myers is not someone likely to in any ballpark have a huge home run surge, his overall value should not be hurt much.

Myers’ overall value is still waning as it could go up exponentially if Matt Kemp does end up with the Padres. More help in the lineup means more quality pitches for Myers to see. Without someone like Kemp on the current Padres’ roster, Myers is relied on a lot more than he would be with an already established star batting ahead of him. At this point in his career, Myers has yet to prove he is worthy of batting right in the middle. On a good team with a solid 3-5, Myers could be a very credible six-hole hitter.

Right now for Myers to be at his most successful it will depend on how well others do around him.

In terms of fantasy baseball, there doesn’t seem to be that big of a difference since the trade. Many people still believe in him and as the owner of a made-up baseball team, you should trust these experts who hopefully dedicate a lot more to their real teams than you do the one with the insulting nickname about your opponent.

Also consider Myers will get to play a nice chunk of games at Coors Field where he will hopefully, like everyone else, reap the rewards of Denver’s thin air.