If you’re anything like me, by this time of year you already have several fantasy baseball preview magazines. I am constantly checking websites that offer fantasy previews to try to plan my draft as far in advance as possible. As a Padres fan, I can’t help but check out the projections that everyone has for our guys. Although I always try my best not to draft any Padres, so as not to jinx anyone, there are a few guys that make it worth taking a chance. Here are my top 8 Padres (4 Hitters, 4 Pitchers) I will probably be targeting in my fantasy drafts this coming season. I’ll apologize in advance if I draft them and jinx them for the entire season.
1. Chase Headley (3B) – I am fully expecting a rebound season from Chase. The motivation of playing on a one year contract can really make a difference in a guy’s numbers. We all know that Headley was dealing with injuries all season, which is another reason to believe that we can expect major improvement over 2013′s numbers. Not counting last season, since 2008 Headley’s BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) was .334. Last season his BABIP was .319. His luck should rebound this season and a batting average of .275 is completely possible. Hopefully his September average of .305 with 5 HR’s and 14 RBI was a show of what’s in store in 2014!
2014 Projection: .278/.368/.482, 28 HR, 86 RBI
2. Everth Cabrera (SS) – We all know about Everth’s 2013 season. Without any suspensions or injuries, there is no reason that we can’t expect a huge season from Cabrera. In fantasy baseball, speed is usually at a premium. Everth’s got speed. Let’s hope that he is there for 160 or so games using his speed to help both the Padres and our fantasy teams.
2014 Projections: .284/.372/.412, 4 HR, 38 RBI – 58 SB, 88 R
3. Jedd Gyorko (2B) – Jedd put up great numbers during his rookie season. I have lost a few of my leagues in the last few years based on my low team batting average. I tend to put a premium on power and steals and not be overly concerned with average. This season I still plan on targeting power but mostly at positions where power should be at a premium and not necessarily average. Second Base would clearly be one of these positions. I would have no fear adding Gyorko’s power to my team, as long as I have a few Yonder Alonso‘s to try to even out my team’s average. I also, think that it won’t take too much to raise his average about 20 points this season. With a .287 BABIP last season, I have faith that Gyorko’s average will rise enough to make fantasy owners happy.
2014 Projections: .262/.330/.474, 27 HR, 68 RBI
4. Carlos Quentin (LF) – As long as we’re pretending that everyone is going to stay healthy all season, let’s pretend Quentin will as well. If he could play more than 85 games this season, he could be a great addition to a fantasy team. I am also hoping to get him at a huge discount based on his past. Some guys who have no idea who Quentin is will look at his 13 HR’s last season and think that he has a lack of power. If Quentin stays healthy, he will be a gigantic boost to the Padres and Los Blanca Tigres (my perennial second place finishing fantasy team).
2014 Projections: .265/.360/.488, 23 HR, 62 RBI
1. Ian Kennedy (SP) – There is plenty of reason to believe that Kennedy will put up outstanding numbers this season. Ian is a fly ball pitcher. His HR/9 numbers have been increasing steadily year by year. Of course, he hasn’t been playing in Petco during that time. His BB/9 numbers have been increasing steadily as well and hit an all-time high at 3.62 last season. If Kennedy is able to regain some control, his HR/9 and BB/9 will drop. He still strikes out about 8 batters per 9 innings. This will no doubt help the Padres, and my team. Plus, Kennedy should be available for less than usual because of his down year.
2014 Projections: 13-8, 174 K, 3.86 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
2. Andrew Cashner (SP) – Cashner is still working on a one year deal with the Padres. The team and Cashner are only off about $175,000. The problem is, and where the disagreement probably lies, is that Cashner has only pitched over 100 innings once (2013). Cashner’s numbers have been all over the spectrum throughout his time in the minors and majors. In his first complete season as a full time starter, he pitched 175 innings with a 3.09 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 128 K’s and a 10-9 record. Cashner isn’t going to get a ton of K’s to help your team but, his low ERA and WHIP will help immensely. I also think that his strikeout numbers could improve this season based on his 7.3 K/9 in the second half of 2013. This could be an added bonus for his owners, and the Padres.
2014 Projections: 15-7, 153 K, 3.27 ERA, 1.19 WHIP
3. Tyson Ross (SP) – Ross is being touted as a sleeper by many fantasy baseball publications this season. Let’s hope he was “sleeping” last season when he struck out 119 in 125 innings while holding batters to a .225 average. Ross’s velocity increased as the season went on and made it look a lot like Josh Byrnes might have gotten one over on the great Billy Beane. Drafting Ross could help you get one over on your fellow fantasy owners this season.
2014 Projections: 12-9, 162 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
4. Huston Street (RP) – To be honest, I am slightly wary of drafting Street as one of my Closer’s. If Street blows a couple of saves in a row, I think that we could see Benoit move into the Closer role. If the Padres fall out of contention before the trade deadline, Street could be traded to make room for Benoit who is signed for two years. That being said, if Street is healthy, he is still a mid-tier Closer who is worth taking a shot on. Although Street’s season numbers were not entirely impressive, his second half ERA of 1.03 and sub-1.00 WHIP are encouraging. He could be a low cost Closer for your fantasy team. But, you may want to handcuff him with Benoit, just like the Padres did.
2014 Projections: 34 SV, 55 K, 2.86 ERA, 1.12 WHIP
Do you agree with our 2014 projections? Are you targeting any Padres to draft for your fantasy team?