San Diego Padres: Spring Beginning Exactly as Expected

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Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg (15) before a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2017; Tempe, AZ, USA; San Diego Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg (15) before a spring training game against the Los Angeles Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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The San Diego Padres are off to a slow start this spring, but there are some positives. The bottom line is, there have been few surprises thus far.

Entering Wednesday’s split squad Cactus League action, the San Diego Padres are 1-3, which is not a shock to anyone. But a more relevant conclusion to take away from these first four games is the way the starters have performed, which is also not a surprise.

As expected, the Padres have strengths and weaknesses coming into 2017. Both have been on display so far in exhibition play, and could not be any more clear.

San Diego’s most glaring need is pitching. In four games, the club has surrendered 36 runs. Granted, much of the damage done has come as a result of inexperienced pitching, and pitchers who won’t be on the Opening Day roster.

But even Jhoulys Chacin got off to a rough start on Tuesday, and Paul Clemens blew up in the first inning of the Cactus League opener. These pitchers are in the mix to be starters, and are at the very least key contributors to the club this season.

These struggles are concerning, no doubt, but aren’t the least bit surprising to fans. Everyone understands that the pitching is the weakest spot on the roster. Early difficulty really means nothing, but could easily foreshadow what is to come this season.

Likewise, the emergence of young promising players is exciting but not shocking. Austin Hedges is absolutely tearing it up, exploding out of the gate with six hits. Hunter Renfroe is also making a visible impact, and other position players such as Jabari Blash and Cory Spangenberg are contributing.

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Wil Myers is being Wil Myers, proving once again how reliable he is, even during the spring. Myers has played solidly throughout workouts and games, driving in his first run of the spring against the Angels. The first baseman is quite possibly the only starter on the roster who fans feel completely confident about entering the season. No real surprises there either.

The two veterans invited to spring training late have been pretty irrelevant so far, which is no surprise. Still waiting to get a prolonged opportunity of any kind, Erick Aybar and Collin Cowgill remain unexplored questions for San Diego.

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Since the Padres are expected to eventually turn their fortunes around, the fact that everything is going as expected thus far is no necessarily a bad thing. It nay not be enjoyable for fans to watch the team’s pitching at this point. These are the types of growing pains which are inevitable in the rebuilding process. But the Padres are moving in the right direction as an organization, evident even based on the little we have seen thus far this spring.

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