Back in March, fans of the San Diego Padres anticipated a decent season for a change. The Padres hadn’t had a winning record since 2010, but the acquisition of free agent slugger, Manny Machado, and the promotions of some very promising blue chippers from the farm system prompted team execs and fans to hope for at least a .500 season. The Padres actually were 45-45 at the All-Star break, but afterward descended into a familiar losing spiral, winning only 25 of their final 72 games and posting a season-ending 70-92 record. Only one other MLB team lost more games after the break. What happened? Let’s take a look at how the Padres performed in 2019, position by position. Within the parentheses are the player’s pre-ASG BA followed by their post-ASG BA.
1B – Eric Hosmer (.287/.237) was one of the team’s spark plugs prior to the break, but faded afterwards. His 90 strikeouts post-ASG was #6 in all of MLB. Padres fans are still waiting for Hosmer to justify his 2018 free agency acquisition.
2B – Veteran, Ian Kinsler (.217/.217), was brought aboard to anchor the young infield, but he was a total bust. Advertised blue-chipper, Luis Urias (.083/.241) was called up when Kinsler went down with a season-ending injury, but the rookie struggled with major league pitching until September.
SS – Fernando Tatis, Jr. (.327/.302) looked like the NL Rookie of the Year when he wasn’t injured, but he played only 84 games. “El Niño” needs to guard against pushing himself beyond his physical limits.
3B – Free agent slugger, Manny Machado (.266/.242), signed with the Padres for $30 million per year for ten years. He didn’t live up to the hype to put it mildly. Manny batted .221 in August and .193 in September.
LF – Wil Meyers (.217/.271) was atrocious before the break, but had a bit of a revival afterwards. The 2015 free agent acquisition has been a major disappointment overall.
CF – Manny Margot (.242/.225) plays decent defense, but can’t hit.
RF – Hunter Renfroe (.252/.161) looked like a future All-Star with 27 HRs before the break, but went into an offensive tailspin afterwards.
C – Austin Hedges (.185/.161) is strictly a defensive player. Francisco Mejia (.211/.305) was the Padres’ only bright spot in the second half of the season.
Outfielder, Franmil “franimal” Reyes (.253/.273), had an impressive 27 dingers before the break, but couldn’t catch a cold. The Padres traded him to the Reds on July 31st. Role players, Greg Garcia (.264/.226), Ty France (.235/.233), and Josh Naylor (.215/.269) underwhelmed.
The Padres’ team BA pre-ASG of .242 placed them at #24 in MLB. Not good. Their post-ASG team BA of .233 placed them at #28. Atrocious.
P – Chris Paddack (2.84/4.01 ERA) had a notable rookie season and Dinelson Lamet (5.40/3.97) was decent in the second half. Joey Lucchesi (3.94/4.52), Eric Lauer (4.04/5.09) and Cal Quantrill (4.83/5.37) disappointed. Closer Kirby Yates led the majors with 30 saves before the break, but the Padres didn’t give him many opportunities post-ASG and he ended up with 41 saves.
The loss of Tatis, Jr. mid-August was a big blow, but doesn’t explain how the Padres collectively went into a nosedive. GM, A.J. Preller, threw skipper Andy Green under the bus by firing him on September 21 with only 8 games left in the season, but I think Padres ownership needs to take a long, hard look at Preller after this disaster of a season.