Opening Day is upon us. We are all full of optimism… or some other, less flattering term. I’m on record as saying the Padres will lose 85-90 games in 2010, but I also recognize that young, inexperienced ballplayers tend to be a volatile bunch that have the capacity to surprise.
With that in mind, let’s play a little game of “best case, worst case.” What are the extreme possibilities for this team, and what will it take to get there?
In a perfect world, the Padres win 85 games and take a mediocre NL West. The number of things that would need to happen is almost beyond contemplation, but it’s spring and anything is still possible, so let’s indulge:
- Chris Young returns to 2006-2007 form (170 IP, 3.30 ERA)
- Kevin Correia duplicates his unprecedented 2009 success (200 IP, 3.90 ERA)
- Mat Latos turns into Jake Peavy (let’s say career version, 3.26 ERA)
- Mike Adams stays healthy
- Luke Gregerson duplicates his rookie success (75 IP, 3.20 ERA)
- Chase Headley turns into a Lyle Overbay/Kevin Millar type hitter (say, .280/.360/.450)
- Everth Cabrera follows the Rafael Furcal path (say, .280/.350/.400)
- Will Venable turns into Jody Gerut (v. 2003 or 2008; say, .280/.345/.490)
- The Giants and Rockies aren’t as good as I think they are
What is that, nine things that need to happen? Realistically, maybe two or three will come through (I’ll go with Gregerson and Headley), but it’s nice to dream.
How about the flip side? The Padres could lose 100 games, but it would take some effort:
- Chris Young maintains 2008-2009 levels of production (90 IP, 4.50 ERA)
- Kevin Correia reverts to pre-2009 form (110 IP, 4.60 ERA)
- Mat Latos and Clayton Richard aren’t ready for prime time
- Mike Adams gets hurt
- Everth Cabrera follows the Mike Caruso path and fizzles
- Kyle Blanks’ foot flares up on him again and he misses significant time
- The Dodgers and Diamondbacks turn out to be a lot better than I expect them to be
How much of this will come to pass? I worry most about Young and Correia; on the bright side, guys like Sean Gallagher, Tim Stauffer, and Wade LeBlanc are at the ready if needed, which is a far cry from Walter Silva, Shawn Hill, and Josh Geer. Sure, the Padres could reach triple digits in losses this year, but it doesn’t strike me as likely… no moreso than them taking the division, anyway.