7) Jake Cronenworth - 1B
Several Padres players took major steps back in 2023 and Jake Cronenworth was no exception, slashing .229/.312/.378 with 10 home runs and 48 RBI. He went from being an all-star in back-to-back seasons in 2021 and 2022 to a below-average hitter in 2023 thanks to his 92 OPS+.
Cronenworth took over as the everyday first baseman but his 92 WRC+ ranked 22nd out of 24 qualified first basemen. It's rare to see a first baseman be a below-average hitter, and watching such a professional hitter to the extent that he did was frustrating.
The 29-year-old is an easy player to root for and an obvious bounce-back candidate in 2024. Having him hit in the lower third of the order without as much pressure could be helpful, as he won't be a player the Padres rely upon to hit at the all-star level he had done in the past. Any sort of production he can give is gravy.
If an injury were to occur, Cronenworth is another guy San Diego can move up and down their lineup with the type of hitter he is. He might hit seventh on Opening Day, but it wouldn't be surprising to see his name in all types of spots. He started a game in six different spots in 2023.