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MLB San Diego Padres

Opening Day 2014: San Diego Padres Season Outlook

Opening Day 2014: San Diego Padres Season Outlook

San Diego Padres Friar
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres enter the 2014 season with a very young and quietly talented squad. In 2013 they found themselves two games over .500 and a game out of first place in mid-June -- only to finish third in the division and 10 games under .500 after suspensions and the injury bug caught up with them.
Fielding a similar roster in 2014, health will again play a key role in the team’s success. Let's now dig a little deeper into the 2014 Padres.

Padres: Top Hitters

Padres Chase Headley
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY

Padres: Top Hitters

Padres Chase Headley
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY

The Padres finished in the bottom half of the league in runs, batting average, on-base and slugging percentage in 2013. Kind of easy to do that when your best hitters Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, Everth Cabrera, Yonder Alonso and Jedd Gyorko miss a combined 249 games. No current Padres player has ever had a season quite like Headley's 2012 campaign. If he can return to that form and the rest of these guys can somehow stay healthy -- watch out!!

Padres: Top Pitchers

Padres Ian Kennedy
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Padres: Top Pitchers

Ian Kennedy
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres will open this season with a much different looking rotation than that of opening day last season. Andrew Cashner, who at this point looks like the Padres' best pitcher, wasn't even in the rotation on opening day in 2013. The same can be said for Ian Kennedy, Josh Johnson and Tyson Ross who should be big contributors in 2014. Look for the staff to be the strength of this team as all five starters have potential to shut a team down.

Padres: Top Newcomers

Padres Joaquin Benoit
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Padres: Top Newcomers

Padres Joaquin Benoit
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

In typical Padres fashion, the organization wasn't overly active in free agency this offseason. The team did, however, make some seemingly small moves that should pay huge dividends -- most notably SP Josh Johnson, OF Seth Smith, RP Tony Sipp, RP Alex Torres and RP Joaquin Benoit. Benoit has pitched six scoreless innings this spring while striking out 11, which means the closer role will be in good hands should Huston Street happen to miss time.

Padres: Top Rookies/Prospects

Padres Tommy Medica
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Padres: Top Rookies/Prospects

Padres Tommy Medica
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres have gained somewhat of a reputation for having a quality farm system over the years, and while not has highly praised as in recent years, the Padres have some nice talent waiting in the wings. Players like C Austin Hedges, OF Alex Dickerson, 2B Cory Spangenberg and P Donn Roach come to mind with infielder Tommy Medica leading the pack. Medica's .396/.420/.646 spring slash-line may have earned himself a spot on the 25-man roster.

Padres: Final Record/Divisional Standing Prediction

Padres Mound Visit
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Padres: Final Record/Divisional Standing Prediction

Padres Mound
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres won 76 games in 2013, and while that looks bad on the surface, given everything this team dealt with from youth and inexperience to injuries and suspensions, 76 wins is quite impressive. The rotation looks better, the bullpen looks better and the young players gained a valuable year of experience in 2013. If healthy and suspension free I see no reason why this team can't finish .500 and finish second in the NL West in 2014.