Me, Elsewhere: San Diego Padres, Scoring Machine

My latest at Baseball Prospectus ($) examines the topsy-turvy NL West, where the formerly front-running San Francisco Giants have played poorly (.405 Pythagorean winning percentage) since the All-Star break and the formerly cellar-dwelling Padres have done the opposite (.600 Pythag). Heck, the Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks are the only two teams in the division with positive run differentials on the season.

Several Padres hitters who contributed little in the season’s first half have come on strong of late. Chief among these are Nick Hundley (.516/.545/1.097 in 33 PA since the All-Star break), Jesus Guzman (.363/.410/.566 in 122 PA), Will Venable (.308/.379/.549 in 103 PA), Kyle Blanks (.272/.346/.511 in 104 PA), and Orlando Hudson (.304/.377/.452 in 130 PA).

The Padres have been aided by a few recent blowout wins, most notably in Pittsburgh earlier in August and at home against the Florida Marlins this past weekend. Still, the team leads the entire National League in runs scored since the break, which gives fans cause for hope.

The Padres finished 2009 strong, and they followed that with a surprisingly successful 2010 campaign. There is no guarantee that a similar showing toward the end of this season will lead to such positive results in 2012; then again, there is no guarantee that it won’t…

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8 Responses »

  1. @ Geoff

    It’s been reported that Guzman is playing in a fall league. Do you know what position he will be playing? What does your 2012 roster look like?

    Infield: Headley, Bartlett, Hudson, Rizzo, Guzman, Forsthye, free agent
    Outfield: Maybin, Blanks, Venable, Cunningham, Darnell, Guzman?

    I dream of Headley, Blanks, Rizzo and Guzman bats in the lineup.

    I haven’t given up on this season. We’re only 10 back and still have 18 games against the Dbacks and Giants. Keep the faith!

    Great posts on Trevor too. This paragraph was great, great stuff:

    “I am honored and privileged to have experienced the phenomenon firsthand. If I had children of my own, it is the sort of thing I would tell them about as an example of what is good in the world, to give them hope for a little while until they discover for themselves that such moments of connectedness are fleeting.”

    Thanks

  2. I’m excited for next year too but I’m also not done with 2011. This thing isn’t over. The DBacks are in free fall. The Giants aren’t that good (and have injury issues). Starting tonight the Padres have 8 more games against SF and 10 more games against Arizona.

    I think 83 wins might take this division. The Padres just need to go 24-9 the rest of the way.

    I say we win this thing.

  3. I’m with Ryan. Not sure if the Padres will enter as the third horse in the race, but neither Arizona or SF look like they are going to get it together and dominate. The West could be won with 85-86 wins. Padres are in a very deep hole to get there (26-7 the rest of the way to get to 85). One could argue that they are just going through slumps, but as Geoff pointed out, their run differential does not suggest they have been good, just pretty lucky*.

    It does make me wonder what would have happened had we kept Adrian and Adams. I estimate Adrian worth about 5 wins (1/2 prior year VORP – VORP of Hawpe, Cantu and Rizzo) and 3 wins for Adams (not blowing up in 8th inning in NY x2 and Cinci x1). I would argue that Adrian’s impact could be well above 5 wins given how many close games we lost in the first half. So an even more aggressive view is to say with Adrian we get the marginal 39 runs (his 22 “minus” the negative 17 of the trio of suckage) and we play to our Pythagorean projection (70-59). Toss in (sorry for the pun) Adams 3 wins, and you get to 73-56, the team to beat in the West. Alas, not to be, but those “rebuilding” trades so rarely work as intended, it does remind us that we dismantled a 90 win team.

    This is not to bag on Hoyer. His value now trades/signings, Maybin, Bartlett, Hudson, Guzman have been great. It is the impact of swapping current value for future value which may have knocked us from another good shot at the playoffs.

  4. My * on the “lucky” agove is that BP’s “third order” wins suggests that SF is actually better than their differential suggests and SD is much worse.

  5. The Giants’ pitching will keep them up there in the race.
    A few blowouts doesn’t make the offense great (it’s better of late), see last game, 3 runs in the 1st inning and done, or Bell wouldn’t have to blow the game.

    We’ll see how we do vs. Los Gigantes. Go Padres! Just keep winning series.

    hmmmm:
    Headley = chopped liver:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/the-rise-and-fall-of-third-basemen/

  6. @ Didi re: Headley

    No love at all, indeed. Road OPS = #1 @ 874. A bit of bias in that his road numbers never have Petco in them, but still. I am suspicious of these metrics’ adjustment for Petco.

    I got into an email exchange with BP a few years ago when Pujols and Adrian’s road OPS’s were similar but Pujols’ VORP was like 2.2x Adrian’s. The big difference was home, where Pujols hit better (as happens in aggregate) but Adrian was lower by 200 points or so. They said, basically, “there is no way a park affects a hitter that much, Adrian is just not hitting well at home.”

    I guess Chase with this 189 point gap gets nervous at home as well. Chokers. Same with Giles and Klesko. Must be something about standing to the right of the plate in San Diego gets you all jittery.

  7. I am very pleased with the young core that is being put together. Headley, Maybin, and Blanks should be fun to build around. I am a little concerned about going entirely young next year, as I think 1-2 key aquisitions could make this a serious playoff run team. I guess I am in the minority on thinking RF should get an upgrade. Venable is just not consistant enough. He flashes upside and then will go an a torrid K streak. Hundley is also a bit inconsistant, but I can accept an inconsistant catching bat since great catching bats are much more rare than RF that can hit.

    Regardless of how Hoyer chooses to round out and tweak next years team, there is plenty of reason for optimism with plenty more prospects improving down on the farm.

  8. Just checking on the status of the Apocalypse …

    sports.yahoo.com/mlb/boxscore?gid=310823120

    Sean Burroughs hits a HR … so seems like it’s gotta be near???