Baseball America recently published its standings for the 2020 season, and they have the San Diego Padres finishing third in the NL West Division
Heading into the season, I’ve seen several media publications project their standings, and to no one’s surprise, they have the Los Angeles Dodgers winning the NL West. However, many of them have flip-flopped the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks for second place in the standings. Baseball America is in the category of favoring the latter as they project the Friars to finish third in the division.
The Diamondbacks are coming off an 85-77 season, in which they finished sixth in the National League in runs scored (813) and seventh in team ERA (4.25). For comparison’s sake, the Padres finished 13th and 12th in those categories, respectively.
Looking ahead to 2020, the Diamondbacks made a couple of solid moves in the offseason in both the signing of Madison Bumgarner (or should I say Mason Saunders?) and trading for Starling Marte. The Diamondbacks already had an MVP candidate in Ketel Marte, and perhaps their strategy is to stockpile as many Marte’s as possible.
Joking aside, Bumgarner easily slides to the front of the rotation, with Robbie Ray now serving as a formidable number two. It would appear that Mike Leake, Luke Weaver, and Zac Gallen fill out the rotation, which on paper, looks like a strength.
But are they really that much better than the Padres?
A strong argument can be made that they are relatively equal, and the 15-game gap from last year should be ignored, given the injuries the Padres sustained in the second half. Let’s look at the positions for each team:
- Catcher: Carson Kelly – Francisco Mejia (Advantage D-Backs)
- First Base: Christian Walker – Eric Hosmer (Slight advantage Padres)
- Second Base: Ketel Marte – Brian Dozier/Jurickson Profar (Advantage D-Backs)
- Shortstop: Fernando Tatis Jr. – Nick Ahmed (Advantage Padres)
- Third Base: Eduardo Escobar – Manny Machado (Slight advantage Padres)
- Left Field: David Peralta – Tommy Pham (Advantage Padres)
- Center Field: Starling Marte – Trent Grisham (Advantage D-Backs)
- Right Field: Kole Calhoun – Wil Myers (Slight advantage D-Backs)
- Rotation: Advantage Diamondbacks
- Bullpen: Advantage Padres
Obviously, the comparisons are subjective, but it was somewhat difficult in several cases, which is likely where we’re going to see the most significant difference between the two teams this season. I think Myers has the potential to be better than Calhoun, but there are definite advantages in favor of the Diamondbacks at both second base and catcher.
That is unless Mejia or Austin Hedges magically turn it around this year. Anyways, some food for thought. And of note, Baseball America has the Dodgers winning the World Series in their piece.