The San Diego Padres aren’t going to win the National League West in 2013. That harsh reality shouldn’t mean a whole lot to most Padre fans, seeing as the team is in a great position to be great for the 2014 season and beyond. Since San Diego is still a year away, the 50-game suspension Yasmani Grandal has to serve won’t mean all that much. However, he is still the most important player to watch for on the 2013 San Diego Padres.
Grandal was flat out awesome in 2012. In 226 plate appearances, Grandal had a stellar .297/.394/.469/ slash line, which helped him reach a 2.6 fWAR. If you spread out that performance for a full season, Grandal would have been a top five catcher in baseball. Missing that type of production will definitely hurt the Padres through May. But I’m really curious to see how Grandal plays when he comes off his suspension for a couple of reasons.
The first reason has nothing to do with using PEDs; it has to do with the ever so popular so sophomore slump. Recently, there have been a lot of players who have had really, really good rookie years, only to fade away in their sophomore season. If Grandal struggles when he returns in June, many pundits will point to the PEDs as the reason why, even if it could just be that pesky sophomore slump.
The other reason why I’m curious about Grandal’s 2013 campaign, obviously, is how he rebounds from this whole ordeal. This is a player – along with Chase Headley - that can lead the Padres to a division championship. If he turns into a .230/.300/.350 catcher overnight, it will be a huge blow to the Padres going forward. But if I had to put money on Grandal’s success in 2013 and beyond, I would bet on him being closer to Buster Posey than JP Arencibia.