Padres Editorial: Are The Padres More Form Than Function?

jevans
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Lack of left-handed hitting. Questionable defense. Six outfielders. No lead-off hitter. There are many problems with the way the team is currently constituted. It doesn’t mean it can’t be figured out down the road. It’s February 16.

Joel Sherman of the NY Post compared the Padres to the NY Knicks. I’m a Knick fan. That ain’t a compliment.

"What has stood out about the Gregg Popovich Spurs is just how much sense they always make as a team.They accumulate talent that fits together. This allows them to deploy five-man groups that have spacing, rebounding, ball movement, shot-making ability, the capacity to get to the rim and the skill to match up on defense and protect the basket.They have not, for example, put Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire together and essentially told a coach, “We got you talent. It’s your job to make disjointed parts fit.”The Padres have had their Carmelo-Amar’e phase this offseason. New general manger A.J. Preller has increased the talent and fame of his roster – and the interest in his franchise. The Padres have gone from off-the-grid to the most fascinating club of this offseason."

There are ways the Padres can get around their problems.

At shortstop if Alexi Amarista neither catches nor hits, Clint Barmes can at least catch the ball. That’s a way to improve the infield defense for James Shields

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As far as outfield defense, I envision Matt Kemp being taken out quite a bit in close games for either Cameron Maybin or Will Venable. That would move Wil Myers to a corner spot. Pretty sure the Royals did that in their outfield during the playoffs.

Getting on base for guys like Justin Upton, Myers and Kemp? Derek Norris is a high OBP guy. How about hitting him second in front of the big bats?

Catcher defense is another thing Sherman brought up. Norris wasn’t great last year, but that doesn’t mean he can’t improve. There’s also Austin Hedges, who may be better than Rene Rivera or Yasmani Grandal who could come up and help there.

Sherman says in his article that Shields is a fly ball pitcher. Well, according to Fangraphs, Shields groundball rate was 45%, while his flyball rate was 34%. Pretty sure that means he’s a groundball pitcher. In fact, his flyball rate has NEVER BEEN HIGHER THAN HIS GROUNDBALL RATE IN HIS CAREER.

Are all the pieces in place for the Padres? No, but it’s also mid-February. Let’s give it a chance.

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