As we open the door to analyzing the competitive NL West we must first look at what teams do not have.
I have never heard of a team being wildly successful with as few weapons as the San Diego Padres. Unfortunately, for the city named after “a whale’s vagina” I will be power ranking their ball-club at 5th‚ in the West. I’m hard pressed to believe that the Friars will exceed 70 wins this season, which would be a seven-game victory improvement from last year’s amateur hour.
Jake Peavy is God in San Diego. Without him, the organization might as well take a year-long vacation. He will be 27-years old on Opening Day and is arguably a top-three MLB pitcher. He should be primed for another 200+ strikeout season and double digit wins. But who does he have to support him in the rotation? Exactly. Chris Young fills in as the #2 guy. He’s ok if he can stay healthy, which isn’t a sure thing. Finishing off the depth chart: Cha Seung Beak, a Korean from Seattle with a 5.10 ERA, Kevin Correia, who is barely more than a middle relief guy, and potential rookies Wade LeBlanc or Ivan Nova. Yucky.
Even assuming that Jake Peavy blows away an MLB record and marks 30 wins this season (joke), there isn’t any offense to give run support to the lackluster bats on the team. Adrian Gonzalez has emerged as a legitimate first-class first basemen and will be the center of their offense. The developing and supportive Chase Headley and Kevin Kouzmanoff will bolster the team by sharing third base, with Headley in left as well. The rest of the offense is extremely blasƒ©, however, with David Eckstein (2B), Craig Stansburry (SS), Nicholas Hindley (C) and Bryan Giles, Scott Hairston and Jody Geirut (who might be something) in the outfield.
Heath Bell is now the closer with Hoffman gone, and this simply supports my theory that San Diego will not surpass 70 wins this year.
What San Diego has going for them is the absence of a monster competitor in their division. I can’t see them falling victim to the Dodgers or the Rockies an embarrassing amount of times, but know they will not be able to climb to 3rd in the division either.
Check back soon as I will power rank the rest of the NL West.