That’s right, the Padres can’t come up with runners in scoring position, in high-leverage instances, or other clutch situations (yes, I did just repeat that for full emphasis).
Why is it that when the game is late and close, the Padres hit .199/.296/.353 but when they’re winning by four runs or more they’re crushing .295/.345/.525? Perhaps they’re swinging freely with a lead — if that’s the case, then they just need to relax!
If it feels like the team can’t pull through when it matters most, that’s because it’s statistically true. Their high-leverage averages are poor, sporting a .219 BA and .267 BAbip in the situation.
Oh, and remember all those home runs they hit? Most of them are solo shots relative to multi-run homers when compared to the top teams in the league.
Let’s look at another breakdown using the top five teams in runs scored once more. We’ll use a ratio between the number of solo home runs hit vs. the number of home runs hit with men on base.
A ratio of 1 means that a team hits multi-run homers at the same rate as single shots, so a sub-1 ratio would indicate they actually hit more multi-homers then solo shots — that’s a clear and obvious advantage compared to the other way around. Therefore, the lower the ratio the better.
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- Red Sox: 105 solo home runs, 64 multi-run home runs = 1.64
- Yankess: 100, 80 = 1.25
- Twins: 122, 88 = 1.39
- Dodgers: 106, 79 = 1.34
- Braves: 98, 73 =1.34
- Padres: 101, 64 = 1.58
Aside from the Red Sox, who just score runs in every which way, all of the top teams have a much lower solo home run: multi-run homer ratio than the Padres.
Home runs is really the only offensive category in which the Padres rank well (11th), so the fact that they have such a poor run differential and can’t produce offensively is because a lot of those come as solo shots.
Undoubtedly, this is partially because the team has such a poor OBP. Those other five teams rank in the top six of the league in OBP — more men on base plus a lot of home runs equals more multi-run homers.
Not to mention that the Friars also have 72 home runs in low- and medium-leverage situations versus 21 homers in high-leverage situations.
At this point, it should be clear that the San Diego Padres offense has problems that go beyond just a few numbers. There are a lot of things they need to work on and all of them are intertwined in the formula of offensive production.
It’s hard, and perhaps unfair, to compare the Padres to the MLB’s best; but if anything this should show where they need to improve in order to get where they want to be.
If the team intends to follow the “2020 is our year” narrative, then they must address issues like plate discipline and even the culture as it pertains to base hits vs. home runs. There are 54 games left in the season to work on these problems, and doing so would provide the chance to end on a high note — perhaps even at .500 — and have some confidence going into next season.
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