ESPN projects Padres to be top-three team in MLB during 2023 season

Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four
Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres may have upset the rival Los Angeles Dodgers and made it to the NLCS, but that doesn't mean that Bob Melvin and AJ Preller are done improving this team. The signing of Xander Bogaerts only reaffirmed this team's desire to compete for a championship in the next few seasons.

While the National League might be more top-heavy than the American League, teams like the Phillies and Dodgers are eyeing yet another postseason appearance at the expense of the much-hyped Padres. With the NL West once again serving as one of the toughest divisions in baseball, they have their work cut out for them.

Even with all of those factors working against them, the metrics seem to be very complementary of what Preller is building in southern California. Expect big things this season from a Padres team that has totally emptied their farm system in their quest to bring a championship to San Diego.

According to ESPN's Bradford Doolittle, the Padres are projected to win 100 games next season, which puts them second in both the National League and MLB as a whole. Only the mighty New York Mets, projected to win 103 games, rank above this star-laden group in San Diego.

ESPN has high hopes for the San Diego Padres.

While the rival Dodgers did add JD Martinez and retain Clayton Kershaw, the loss of the entire left side of their infield Trea Turner (Philadelphia) and Justin Turner (Boston) could easily make San Diego the favorites in the NL West. San Diego, meanwhile, upgraded in multiple spots.

Even beyond the Bogaerts signing, the Padres were able to sign Matt Carpenter to fill the holes left by the departed Josh Bell and Wil Myers. With Fernando Tatis Jr. coming back into the lineup, San Diego's group might be the best of its kind in the league.

The Bogaerts move might be what takes this team from good to great. Manny Machado and Juan Soto in the heart of the order is certainly a nightmarish tandem, but having a veteran with championship experience that hits .300 every year could help give this team the kick in the rear they need in October.

The Padres need to prove that winning with this core is sustainable, but it's still nice to see San Diego going into the season as title contenders after treading water for the last decade. There's a chance that a dominant new era of Padres baseball is upon us.

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