Padres Editorial: Should the Padres be the Favorite in the NL West?

jeremyloeks
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If you have been reading 2015 division predictions many experts have picked either the San Francisco Giants or the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West. Even in the Friars on Base predictions six of our seven staff writers picked the Dodgers to win the division.

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However, with the recent injuries to Hunter Pence, Kenley Jansen and Hyun Jin Ryu, I wonder if the San Diego Padres shouldn’t be the favorite to win the NL West in 2015 now.

In order to figure out if my hunch was correct, I decided to determine which team would win the NL west by compiling WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in three different categories: Starting Rotation, Offense and Bullpen, to see if the injured players effect the standings at all.

Here is what I found (All WAR predictions courtesy of www.fangraphs.com):

Starting Rotation

Padres – 13.8 WAR

Dodgers – 13.4 WAR

Giants – 11.4 WAR

After adjusting the Dodgers’ rotation for the loss of Hyun Jin Ryu I was able to determine that the Padres do indeed have the best rotation in the NL west. Now before the comments are flooded with people saying Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Madison Bumgarner are better than anybody the Padres have to offer, I understand that. However, the Friars have the best rotation from top to bottom.

Offense

Dodgers – 28.0 WAR

Padres – 17.8 WAR

Giants – 17.1 WAR

Okay, so the Padres and Giants don’t have a chance in this category against the high powered Dodger bats. With the injury to Hunter Pence, the Pads bump up to second in the NL West ranking. I believe with the number of bounce back candidates that the Padres have in their roster now, with just a couple lucky breaks, they could compete with the Dodgers in this category as well. Either way, they will be better than the embarrassing group that took the field for the Friars in 2014.

Bullpen:

Padres – 2.8 WAR

Giants – 1.3 WAR

Dodgers – 0.8 WAR

This is where I believe the Padres will stand head and shoulders above the rest of the division in 2015. I believe it will be a rarity when the Padres lose a game when leading heading into the seventh inning. The combination Joaquin Benoit, Kevin Quackenbush and Brandon Maurer will help the Padres win a lot of close games this year.

Summary:

In conclusion, while the Padres can’t compete with the star power that the Giants and Dodgers have to offer, I believe the projected stats prove that the Padres have the best team from top to bottom in the NL West. While the experts will still look at the likes of Buster Posey, Yasiel Puig and Clayton Kershaw and see a winner, I look at the entire 25 man roster the Padres bring to the table this year and I’m placing my money on San Diego to win the division.

What do you guys think? Do the new WAR projections change your 2015 predictions?

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