The San Diego Padres have without a doubt been the most disappointing team in all of baseball. At 24-29, the team stands in fourth place in the NL West, 7.5 games back of the first place Dodgers, and continues to play uninspiring baseball.
This was supposed to be the year of the Padres. After knocking off two powerhouses in the postseason and coming up just three wins shy of the NL Pennant, San Diego seemed set in 2023. They signed Xander Bogaerts, got Fernando Tatis Jr. back, made improvements to the back of the rotation, and had Juan Soto and Josh Hader for the entire season.
There's obviously plenty of time for the Padres to turn this around, but the clock is ticking. We're 53 games into the season already. There're a couple of players who have helped the Padres stay somewhat relevant, and a whole bunch of players who have failed to meet expectations. Two of these players really stand out.
Padres reliever Steven Wilson has exceeded expectations
With all of the injuries to relievers the Padres have sustained, mainly the injury to Robert Suarez, the team needed an arm to step up and help form a bridge to closer Josh Hader. Wilson has played a very key role in that.
The right-hander had a good year for San Diego last season, but has been even better in 2023. His 2.96 ERA through 23 appearances is very solid, but he's been even better than that ERA might show.
Wilson has allowed eight earned runs in 24.1 innings of work. Those runs have come in just three of his 23 appearances, and seven of the eight came in two of them. In other words, Wilson has 20 scoreless appearances. He's had two awful outings, one meh outing, and the rest scoreless. Three of those runs came in his Mexico City outing, do those runs even count?
With the Padres offense still struggling to produce much of anything, Wilson has had small leads to protect and try and hand over to Hader. He has nine holds and just one blown save.
The Padres bullpen has been the saving grace for this team. Their 3.27 ERA ranks sixth in the majors. Hader obviously plays a huge role in that, but Wilson has been their second best reliever.