Much of what could have gone wrong for the San Diego Padres in the 2023 season did go wrong, as the team that many predicted would win the World Series failed to even make the playoffs.
The Padres were coming off an NLCS appearance in 2022 and added key players including Xander Bogaerts in free agency, but the team never quite clicked until it was too late.
Following the nightmare that was 2023, it's only fair for the Friar Faithful to dream about their 2024 lineup. While it's always fun to dream, it's important to be somewhat realistic as well. As much as we'd love for Shohei Ohtani to come to town, chances are that just won't be happening the way things are right now.
1) Fernando Tatis Jr. - RF
It was hard to picture exactly what the Padres were going to get out of Fernando Tatis Jr. after he missed the entire 2022 season due to injury and his PED suspension. Additionally, he was going to have to get accustomed to a new position, right field, after the team inked Xander Bogaerts to a long deal.
Tatis did as well as anyone could've possibly hoped defensively in right field as he put up a whopping 29 DRS and 11 outs above average while also contributing 12 outfield assists. There's a very good chance Tatis walks home with a Gold Glove.
While he excelled in the field, Tatis didn't look quite like his superstar self. He was good, but not quite his usual superstar self. He slashed .257/.322/.449 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI. His 113 OPS+ certainly wasn't bad, but it was far below his career mark of 143. Hopefully after going through a full season he'll be able to bounce back.
Tatis leading off should be an easy decision for whoever the new Padres skipper is. His numbers from the top spot in the order are a whole lot better than they are anywhere else. His .885 OPS in the 45 games he led off were over 150 points better than his .731 OPS from the number two spot in his 81 games there.