The San Diego Padres fanbase had high expectations last season, and who could blame them? With Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Blake Snell, Josh Hader, and Fernando Tatis Jr., the Friars were picked by many to win the National League.
But alas, it was not to be. Early-season struggles sank the Padres' World Series aspirations, and San Diego fell short of the MLB Postseason altogether. Since the end of the 2023 campaign, the Padres have traded Soto and have watched numerous free agents flee America's Finest City to find big paydays elsewhere.
But the Padres still have legitimate opportunity to compete in the NL West despite the Los Angeles Dodgers' free agent spending spree and the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks' wide-open window of contention. While fans always have high expectations for their team, these three Padres players will undoubtedly fall short of the lofty goals set upon them by the San Diego fanbase.
3. Randy Vásquez
Randy Vásquez was one of the many players who came to San Diego earlier this offseason in exchange for Juan Soto and Trent Grisham. Vásquez, who was an international free agent signee of the New York Yankees back in 2018, made his major league debut last season.
Vasquez put up very good numbers in 2023. In 11 games, including five starts, Vasquez went 2-2 and posted a very respectable 2.87 ERA. Vasquez also started 17 games in the minors last season and struck out nearly 27 percent of the batters he faced.
Unfortunately, if you dig a little deeper into the stat sheet, you'll see that Vásquez posted 4.98 FIP during his 11 major league appearances last year. That 2.11 difference between his ERA and FIP suggest that Vásquez was more lucky than good.
Most projections see Vásquez as part of the San Diego starting rotation heading into next season. With the departures of Blake Snell, Nick Martinez, Seth Lugo, and Michael Wacha, the Padres will have no choice but to rely heavily on Vásquez, and other young pitchers, at the beginning of next season.
Technically, Vásquez is still considered a rookie. And while baseball fans have seen first-year pitchers have success in recent years, the Friars faithful will need to be patient with Vásquez. The absence of some of the Padres' top starters from 2023 is going to leave a void in the rotation, and the San Diego fanbase will need to be cautious not to thrust outlandish expectations onto a rookie hurler.