By David Miller @DavidMillerRant on March 17, 2014
Few divisions look as deep and competitive as the National League West in MLB. The Los Angeles Dodgers almost got to the World Series last year, the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks are all improved. How can the San Diego Padres hope to compete with those guys? They plan to do it with the 25-man roster you are about to see. Keep in mind that Cameron Maybin will likely be out on Opening Day due to injury.
If Quentin can keep himself healthy and keep his hands off of opposing pitchers this season, he could have a chance to provide some much needed run support. The Padres are loaded with decent outfielders though which means none of them will likely get 162 starts this year.
Of the three you see at the top of this list Venable will probably have the most overall play time though it might not all come in center field when Maybin returns from his biceps injury. He is having a decent spring which could lead to another solid season.
Though Denorfia has been slow getting started this spring, he is a vital part of this team. When he is really on, he can be a very good situational hitter. His outfield skills are very impressive as well.
Headley has a calf injury that has kept him out of Spring Training action thus far but manager Bud Black and company are not worried. Headley will be ready to go on Opening Day both on defense and offense. The question is whether he will finally return to 2012 form or not.
The fact that much of the MLB world will think of the PED mess when Cabrera’s name comes up is a down-right shame. He is one half of one of the most exciting young tandems up middle in the game. Hopefully after a month or so nobody will talk about the past anymore.
Gyorko would of course be the other half of that middle infield tandem I was speaking so highly of. His rookie season wasn’t good enough for Rookie of the Year in the eyes of the voters but he provided plenty of evidence that he will be a solid all around force in MLB for years to come.
Any thoughts that Alonso could be hearing footsteps behind him as some talented young first basemen arrive on the scene are a little early. His spring suggests that he is able and ready to provide strong offensive pop and run production this year.
At least at the start of the season it appears that Hundley will remain the starting catcher. As Grandal gets to full strength with his knee; the two might end up splitting time a little differently. Only time and health will tell.
Medica is the owner of the footsteps that Alonso could be hearing behind him at first base with the enormous spring he has had. Alonso is solid at first but that does not mean that the coaching staff is through with Medica. He is being shown a lot of time in the outfield to develop more places he can play. Whether it is at first, in the outfield or even his old job at catcher, he will be in the line-up somewhere if he keeps hitting.
As long as Maybin is out fixing his biceps injury there will be an extra man on the bench for the Padres. Look for Jackson’s solid spring to win him a job to begin with. What exact mix will remain on the Padres’ bench when Maybin returns is undecided likely until he returns shortly after the start of the year.
Smith is an outfielder that the Padres got from the Athletics. He is certainly a good candidate to make the team out of Spring Training and could well get some starting time in the outfield mix when the season starts. If he just remains a bench bat he will still be worth quite a lot and more than likely will stick with the Padres.
Amarista is the Padres’ utility ace in the hole. He can play pretty much everywhere and do a solid job wherever he is placed. Because he is a solid bat as well he should stick if all goes well but nothing is guaranteed for sure.
Grandal has seen some playing time finally after his nasty knee injury in 2013. He will likely be ready at the beginning of the season but could see less play time than normal until Black thinks he is really ready for his full work load.
Though he has not had a good spring so far, Bud Black is very confident about Vincent providing a solid bullpen spot once the season starts. Vincent has only posted a 1.98 ERA in 77 appearances so I guess it seems pretty clear why Black is so confident.
Schuster has two things going for him when it comes to making the Opening Day roster. First of all he is a lefty with what has been a good spring so far. Secondly, he was a Rule 5 Draft player which means he gets offered back to the DBacks if he does not stay on the roster all season long.
The very strong Spring Training that Stauffer has had in 2014 should be enough to prove his worth as a solid and reliable arm out of the bullpen. Look for him to get the chance to play a nice role for the Padres this season.
Torres is one of the very nice additions to the bullpen from the offseason. His spring has been delayed but he should be more than ready to serve as the top lefty in the ‘pen once the season starts.
There are few things wrong with seeing Thayer as a strong member of this bullpen. He has been great this spring; he has closing experience and all around great stuff. Basically there is nothing not to like about him going into the season.
This was a very good addition from the offseason as well. Benoit has some experience in the biggest games from his time with the Detroit Tigers and should provide a very tough set-up option for Bud Black out of the ‘pen.
A very minor groin strain has kept Street out of much spring action thus far but no one is worried. It shouldn’t take him long to get up to speed and all members of the staff expect him to be fully ready to go when the bell sounds on the 2014 season.
In 2013 Stults provided a 3.98 ERA and double-digit wins to go along with throwing over 203 innings. He doesn’t even need to improve upon that to be a great member of the back side of the starting rotation.
Kennedy had a rough season in 2013 and it might combine with other downer numbers to make him look like less than he can be. You do not have to go back very far to see multiple seasons of 200+ innings pitched and even a 21-win season where he was every bit Cy Young Award material. He should be better this season in a more comfortable spot.
Though Ross is far from being a rookie this season, he still has been a little while arriving onto the full-time MLB scene. It appears that he is ready at last to really contribute in a very strong way to the Padres starting rotation however.
If you glance quickly at Johnson’s stat sheet you might scratch your head about the Padres’ choice to sign him to a free agent deal this offseason. Look again and cover up 2013’s stats and you’ll see things in an entirely new way. He is a quality arm to say the least and should have few reasons not to return to his solid form this season.
If there were doubters about Cashner’s ability to be the ace of this staff, he erased them at the end of last season. In the odd case that someone was absent from the end of 2013 when he was the best pitcher of September in the N.L., he has been nice enough to provide a nearly perfect spring so far. The Padres might have a few issues with the tough NL West teams but they certainly have the Ace and the roster to get them to where they want to be.
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