The Padres have looked very bad this season and especially recently. Yet, those of us who love baseball still love watching baseball. We just have to look a little harder at this Padres team to find players or aspects of the game to watch. Let me be your humble guide on why you shouldn’t completely giving up watching the Padres in 2016.
The Padres still have 109 games left this year, so you can’t just stop watching and wake up on Opening Day 2017 with a team ready to take on the NL West superpowers. No, baseball is a sprint, but watching these 5 players will help the Padres turn the tide in the future.
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- Wil Myers: The centerpiece of the trade that sent 2014 #1 Draft Pick Trea Turner to Washington (and would certainly be on this list if still a Padre) Myers had an injury plagued first season but is off to a very good start in 2016. He slowed down in May but is still healthy, playing a good defensive first base, and at 25 still has youth on his side.
- Yangervis Solarte: Solarte brings an energy that is infectious and has improved his hitting to the point that he might just end up with the Padres highest full time batting average for the second consecutive season. He is back from an early season injury and just slugged two home runs – one from each side of the plate – last weekend.
- Drew Pomeranz: Talk about a trade that pays immediate dividends. While Yonder Alonso continues his slide down the prospect scale, Pomeranz is on the other way up. The former top prospect traded for a really good Ubaldo Jimenez is pitching the best baseball of his career, and before his last start had the second lowest ERA in the National League. He needs one more win to match his career high, 14 strikeouts, and with 10 already only needs to make 12 more starts to match his career high. The concern here is his innings. He is already at 58 for the season with a career high of 96 2/3 thrown way back in 2012. The Padres might protect his innings in the second half to avoid a 2017 regression.
- Ryan Buchter and Fernando Rodney: Both of these guys are dominating out of the bullpen. Both can be considered surprises, as Fernando was cut by the Mariners last year with an ERA north of 7. He hasn’t allowed a run yet in 19 games with 10 saves and 17 K’s. Buchter has gotten into 25 games, allowed just 2 runs, and has struck out 33 in just under 24 innings. He is second on the team with 8 holds but if Maurer struggles would certainly move into the 8th inning role.
- Wait until September…The Padres have some top prospects that should get called up in September to get their Major League “cup of coffee” and start earning a starting spot for 2017. Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Alex Dickerson, Carlos Asuaje are all hitting well in the minor leagues so far this season. Jabari Blash is in AAA as official Padres property and hoping to get some balance in his swing and keep his power. Could make for some interesting late year tryouts.
If the Padres continue to play how they are – it will also be interesting to see who stays and goes with the team. Unfortunately for the Padres their top three movable targets (Matt Kemp, James Shields, Melvin Upton Jr. have three bad contracts. Derek Norris was seen as expendable at catcher but his dreadful hitting would make it hard for the Padres to trade him for much in return. Andrew Cashner is pitching well but as a free agent at the end of the year the Padres might also limit their own return if they trade him.