Matt Kemp Predicted to Lead Padres in BA, Home Runs in 2016


With the start of Spring Training comes the start of prediction season, with the beauty being that most of the time you never have any actual accountability onto what those predictions come out in the end. Daniel Bard of 120 sports takes his shot at predicting the Padres 2016 leaders in batting average, home runs, and pitcher with the most strikeouts.

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To start things off, he goes with the Padres batting average champion. He goes right away to Matt Kemp:

“..the guy who led the team with 158 hits, the guy taht resurrected his career with the San Diego Padres in 2015…the guy knows how to hit. Once he gests out of that swinging for power all the time, I think he’ll show what kind of hitter he is. If he stays on the field, he’ll be the Padres batting average champ.”

Last season Matt Kemps hitting for the cycle was one of the top highlights of the season for the Padres, though I think the emergence of Yangervis Solarte coming in second for total hits on the season was pretty significant as well. Depending on your cut-off of qualifying at-bats, Solarte actually led the Padres in batting average though in 70 fewer at-bats than Kemp. For me, I think Cory Spangenberg has a great chance at leading the Padres in BA this season given his strong audition last year where he did hit .271 in 303 at-bats.

Next up is who the Padres leader will be in home runs. Graves goes again with Kemp, arguing he will benefit from the Padres missing Justin Upton in the lineup who edged out Kemp last year 26-23 in the home run department. Given the Padres lack of adding any quality power hitters, I think Kemp is a safe bet to lead the Padres again in home runs, though I would love to see Wil Myers develop more in the power department playing at first base.

Lastly, for strikeouts Bard goes for Tyson Ross to lead the team in strikeouts despite who many might pick in James Shields.

"“I know a lot of people are thinking Big Game James Shields will but when you look at the numbers I’m going Tyson Ross…he’s missing a lot of bats, only 9 home runs allowed.”"

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This was a neck-and-neck fight last season as Shields bested Ross by just 4 punch outs and threw 6 more innings than Ross on the season. I think Ross will break both 200 innings and 220 strikeouts in 2016 as long as he can stay healthy – which he shown now for 2 consecutive seasons he can stay healthy for the majority of the season.

Predictions are fun, but within a month or two of the season we will see how the real action will play out for the Padres.