May 29, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher James Shields (33) pitches against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The defense. While the catchers have been quite good, the other players in the field have not. Wil Myers has a -1.0 defensive WAR in just 35 games this season. The Padres 20th ranked defensive efficiency (the rate at which balls in play are turned into outs) would probably be worse had Myers not gone on the DL. Still, 20th in baseball is bad. The team’s total zone total fielding runs above average is -16. Basically, the Friars’ defense has given up 16 runs more than would have been given up with a league average defense.
James Shields. Through the first couple months, he was giving up far too many home runs. Far too many. Like 11 in May alone. Since, he has simply given up too many runs. His 4.16 FIP (what a pitcher’s ERA would be when factoring out defense) indicates that Shields has actually benefitted from the Padres’ defense. His 4.01 ERA is a run per nine too high to not call the signing a bust thus far. While his strike out rate is higher than ever (10.1/nine innings) so too are his walks (3.1/nine). Frankly, he is one of the biggest disappointments thus far.
Andrew Cashner. His 4.10 ERA hides the fact that Cashner has given up 19 unearned runs. His FIP is 3.86 indicating that even his ERA is higher because of the poor defense playing behind him. But his 5.66 runs per nine is unacceptably high for the velocity, movement, and control Cashner possesses. And if his ERA was 3.86, then it would still be too high.