A while back, I put a poll up on the site. I ask Chicken Friars readers to vote on where they think the Padres will finish in 2012. I was originally going to just leave it up for a week or so, and I even used a snapshot of the poll from about two weeks ago in a post, but ultimately I decided to just leave the poll open until the start of the season. What’s interesting about the poll is the change over the last few weeks. Perhaps it’s the excitement for baseball’s return. Perhaps it’s the actual early news out of camp so far this spring. Perhaps it’s just that the optimistic fans took a while before deciding to vote. No matter the reasoning, the poll as of right now (and I know this could change easily in the next few minutes, hours, or days) the majority of fans think the Padres will finish first.
Now, I’m going to link back to the poll in this piece because I’m intrigued. I want more voters. There were over 7,000 unique visitors to the site last month, so I know there are more of you out there who can and should vote. These are the types of results I would have expected after the 2010 season, not after the 91-loss season of 2011. However, the poll as of now is a testament to the moves Josh Byrnes has made this offseason. The fans seem to approve.
Keith Law’s ranking of the Padres farm system surely had something to do with the surge in voting, and the 1st place finish choice jumping into the lead, but beyond that, the make-up of the team is clearly encouraging. Carlos Quentin is a true power-hitter. Jesus Guzman can hit for average. Will Venable and Cameron Maybin will possibly steal over 80 bases combined. Chase Headley has become one of the better third basemen in all of the National League. Nick Hundley has friends behind the plate in John Baker and Yasmani Grandal. And the addition of Yonder Alonso seems to be gaining a lot of support in the Padres community.
This is an important year for the Padres, one in which I expect some great improvement. I picked them to finish third in the division, but I will not be surprised to see the team take a run at the crown. With all this in mind, let’s keep the voting going. I’ll pull the poll on Opening Day. Where do you think the Padres will finish the 2012 season?