Ready to place your bets? Do you think the San Diego Padres will win 78 games in 2019?
Let the betting begin! On Tuesday evening, Caesar’s Palace released their first preseason win totals for Major League Baseball, putting the San Diego Padres at 77 1/2 wins for the 2019 season. This is slightly better than San Diego’s projected win total via Fangraphs, which sits at a National League West-low 76 wins, tied with the San Francisco Giants.
Both projection totals are fairly shocking, considering where the Padres ended the 2018 season and what they have done to help correct an anemic offense and struggling starting pitching staff, as the team prepares to head off to Arizona for spring training in just over a month.
San Diego finished 2018 with a 66-96 record, 25.5 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. Only the Miami Marlins (63 wins) finished with a worse record in the National League. The Friars’ ranked at or near the bottom of the NL in every major offensive statistic with a .235 batting average (13th), .279 on-base percentage (last), .380 slugging percentage (13th), and a .677 OPS (13th).
Gone from the offense are Christian Villanueva, Cory Spangenberg, Freddy Galvis, and Carlos Asuaje, all of whom played significant time on the diamond for the Padres. Unfortunately, the only additions (as of January 9th) to the lineup have included infielders Ian Kinsler and Greg Garcia. Kinsler is 36 and coming off a season in which he posted career-lows in on-base percentage (.301), slugging percentage (.380), and wRC+ (87). Garcia is a local guy to cheer for, but is a career-bench piece who’s claim to fame has been his ability to get on base, something he hasn’t done as well lately.
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As for the pitching staff, do I need to get into it? Clayton Richard was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a minor league outfielder and the only starting pitcher added to the major league roster has been Garrett Richards, who won’t be healthy until 2020. The addition of Richards, a healthy Dinelson Lamet, Chris Paddack, Logan Allen, and other high-level pitching prospects bodes well for a 2020 rotation, but what about 2019? Joey Lucchesi showed us he belongs in a major league rotation and Eric Lauer made significant strides at the end of his rookie season, but do you feel comfortable with them leading the rotation?
Some of the biggest names in free agency remain on the market (not that San Diego will likely sign any of them) and there’s still a real possibility that AJ Preller pulls off a trade before the season starts, so there is still plenty of time to make this roster better, but for now, the 2019 season brings a lot of questions with it.
Is the potential to go over 77 1/2 wins there with this roster? Top prospects Luis Urias and Francisco Mejia will be up all year long, while Fernando Tatis Jr.likely joins the roster later in the season. All three can bring a lot to this offense if things go right early on. Veterans Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges showed progression at the plate, especially over the course of the second half of the season, so yeah, there is potential to improve in the win column if these progressions continue, Wil Myers stays healthy, and Eric Hosmer rebounds. But again, much of that depends on the starting rotation.
So, are you taking the under or over here? Do I want to see the Padres suffer through another losing season, absolutely not. Am I betting on a 78 win season when my money is on the line, highly doubtful.
What are you throwing your money down on? Are you confident enough to take the over?