The USA Today staff made their predictions for the season, with one writer tabbing the Padres going to the NLCS and Tatis winning NL MVP.
Predictions mean little when it comes to the actual results on the field, especially in a 60-game sprint. Theoretically, the Nationals wouldn’t have come close to making the playoffs last year. Regardless, it’s still fun to see some of the national writers recognizing the up and coming Padres.
Scott Boeck of the USA Today picked the Mets and Padres to grab the two National League Wild Card spots. He has the usual suspects in the Braves, Brewers, and Dodgers winning their respective divisions, but the interesting part here is that he has the Braves and Padres headed to the NLCS.
I certainly don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility, but the Padres offense will have to take a giant leap forward from last season. In 2019, the Friars led the National League in strikeouts and had one of the worst batting averages, as a team.
Hopefully, Manny Machado being a year removed from a new contract and team, leads to him having a better year. The former Oriole hit just .242 in the second half, including .221 and .193 in August and September, respectively. Fernando Tatis Jr. struggled to remain healthy in his rookie year but still posted gaudy numbers for playing in just 84 games.
Over a full season or a 60-game slate, in this case, his numbers project out well, which is likely why Boeck tabbed Tatis to win the National League MVP Award. The former White Sox farmhand is going to win an NL MVP, possibly two or three, Awards during his career, but for that to happen in 2020, would be a huge boost to the Padres postseason hopes.
It will be interesting to see what the final records look like, as there could be several teams with a 32-28 record, so literally, every game is going to matter. The goal is just to make the playoffs where anything can happen. It all counts starting Friday. Ready?