San Diego Padres’ Season Hinges On Healthy Hitters

Will Venable

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Despite what the San Diego Padres‘ 2013 record would suggest, the team was actually pretty good under the circumstances. The circumstances I speak of were a lot of inexperience throughout the roster and a lot of injuries suffered throughout the season, actually a whole lot of injuries. I mean, the Padres took the late great Jerry Coleman‘s “Oh Doctor” to a whole other level 2013. If you weren’t a Padres follower and happened to take a look at the MLB standings on June 17, 2013 and saw the Padres sitting two games over .500 and only one game back of the division lead, you probably wouldn’t believe the hurdles the team had to overcome to find themselves in that position.

The Padres’ 2013 projected starting lineup heading into the season would remain just that, projected, as at no point in the 2013 season was manager Bud Black able to write all of the players’ names from that projected lineup on the same lineup card. The Padres lost a combined 563 games from that projected starting lineup and while some of those missed games were via suspension, most were the result of injuries. Anytime you lose your projected starting first baseman Yonder Alonso for 65 games, your second baseman Jedd Gyorko for 37 games, your center fielder Cameron Maybin for 148 games, your shortstop Everth Cabrera for 67 games, your left fielder Carlos Quentin for 80 games, and your catcher Yasmani Grandal for 134 games, odds are you’re not going to be a very competitive ball club.

When you couple all of those missed games with the fact that the lineup was littered with players that lacked experience at the major league level, experience in both years and/or games played within those years, the fact that the Padres were able to play as well as they did while seemingly beating those non-competitive odds should speak volumes to you and anyone trying to project the success of the Padres in 2014. What those volumes speak to me is, if an inexperienced and injury riddled Padres team can play as well as they did for stretches in 2013, a healthy lineup with another year of experience under its belt could turn those stretches into sustainability and make some noise in 2014.

Unfortunately, the inexperience and massive amounts of missed games from the projected regulars eventually caught up with the team and ultimately ruined a promising Padres season in 2013, but I believe those same players, now healthy and used to the ups and downs and different situations thrown at them throughout an MLB season, could result in a much different outcome in 2014. The organization must be under that same belief, as they did little in regards to bringing in offensive players this off season, so with the same players from 2013 making up the batting order in 2014, the organization and its fans can do nothing but hope for a healthy Padres lineup this season.

Jason Cooper is a San Diego Padres writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @mrjcpr .

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