The San Diego Padres have one of the most star-studded rosters in MLB. They also own one of the worst records in the National League and the fourth-place slot in the NL West division. Why has this year’s team been such a letdown and what can they do to turn things around soon?
What’s Wrong With The San Diego Padres? Is There Hope?
Over the last few years, the Padres have been willing to trade young future stars for the present. As well as backing up the armored trucks to the stadium and handing out money and long-term contracts like never before. Ownership and General Manager AJ Preller have been bold and the results in 2023 have been lackluster, to say the least.
Silence Of The Bats
The Padres have a stacked lineup. Being able to run out a lineup with the likes of Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, Nelson Cruz, and Jake Cronenworth, the team should be producing runs at a very high clip. Slugging home runs, stringing hits together, and causing a headache for any pitchers/coaches that have to face them.
But the Padres have not done that at all (minus the Mexico City Series games). The Padres, through Memorial Day (Monday, May 29th), have only scored 214 runs, which ranks them second to last in the National League and 26th in all of MLB. As a team, they are averaging 4.04 runs per game.
San Diego’s other major offensive rankings in the NL are not very good. .221 AVG ranks 15th, .315 OBP ranks 14th, .385 SLG ranks 13th, 86 doubles ranks 11th, four triples ranks 12th, 473 strikeouts rank eighth. Numbers do not lie and these numbers show the team has not been producing.
The offense has been the major problem for the Padres. The team has spent a ton of resources to build an offense that can dethrone the Dodgers and Braves in the National League but that has yet to come to fruition.
Positional Let Downs
The Padres team has been offensively let down by their catchers, but also Trent Grisham and Matt Carpenter. Catcher has been a disaster to the point where they claimed Gary Sanchez recently to try to get some production. The catchers have produced a line of 26/167 for a .156 AVG, three HRs, and 14 RBI.
With such a black hole at catcher, the rest of the team needs to produce. But players like Grisham and Carpenter have not done so either. As both players have been sub-.200 AVG hitters. The Padres depth has been tested to help find production but has not been helping.
The likes of Rougned Odor and Nelson Cruz just are not cutting it. Leaving more responsibility and pressure on the rest of the lineup. Catcher, centerfield, and Designated Hitter have been lackluster and offensive upgrades at these positions via trades or call-ups could be the only answer. The franchise of late has not been afraid of going out and making big moves and something could be on the horizon with June all but here.
Why All Is Not Lost….Yet
So with the offense sputtering and the roster showing glaring needs, the thought would be that the sky is falling in San Diego but that shouldn’t be the case. The Padres have some reason for hope and why the team can make a quick turnaround in 2023.
National League Arms Race
Part of the resources and money the Padres spent was on their pitching staff, from starters to bullpen. Guys like Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Joe Musgrove, Seth Lugo, Michael Wacha, and Josh Hader. The team can match up with the best of them.
From 2023 to this point of the season, the Padres have had one of the best staff. With numbers such as, 3.98 ERA ranked second in NL, 419 hits ranked first, 219 runs ranked first, 58 HR Allowed ranked fifth, and 170 walks ranked sixth. The pitching has shown that they are strong and capable of carrying this team.
With the arms the Padres have stacked up over the last few years, the dividends this year are huge. So as bad as the offense has been, is as good as the pitching has been. So when…when the offense starts to pick up the pace, the team will be very dangerous most MLB fans and experts predicted.
Defense Wins Championships
The old saying that defense wins championships has always seemed to be pretty truthful. And for the 2023 Padres squad, they hope that’s the case. The team has put on a defensive clinic so far, twirling Web-Gems day in and day out.
The team ranks first in the NL in both Fielding Percentage with a .990% and errors with only 18 so far. Those numbers are fantastic. With the pitching staff numbers proving to be great it makes sense that the defense is also sparkling too.
The Padres have the names, aggressive nature, and talent to turn things around. The team is currently over the luxury tax mark already so the front office has shown its desire to win. The back of the baseball card saying and the law of averages will begin to take place for some of these players and the team will take off at that point.
But until that happens the panic, pressure, and “boobirds” will be there. With a 24-29 record and sitting towards the bottom of NL West, sitting eight games back of the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, as well as sitting three games back of a wild card spot. The time is now for the offense to kick into gear and start to cut down the deficit they left for themselves.
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