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2019 MLB Team Preview: San Diego Padres

A look at the San Diego Padres with a fantasy baseball slant.

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
A fantasy baseball stud, Myers provides a power/speed combo at the corner positions.
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Basic Stats:

Final Record: 66-96
RS/G: 3.81 (28th)
RA/G: 4.73 (21st)
SB: 95 (9th)
ERA: 4.41 (21st)
Saves: 36 (24th)
Strikeouts: 1,399 (14th)

RS/G - Runs Scored Per Game
RA/G - Runs Allowed Per Game

The San Diego Padres have slowly been building an impressive collection of prospects and young major league players. The team is not currently expected to contend in 2019, however, recent rumors do have the Padres adding talent to their roster. We’ll all need to wait and see if any trades or free agent signings occur. If so, this post will be updated in the coming days and months ahead. For now, we’ll focus on the talent already rostered by the Padres.

The Superstar: Wil Myers

It’s not often that a team’s Superstar selection has also been connected in trade rumors, at least when the parent team is looking to continue building their roster. That is however the situation we find with Wil Myers, who was rumored earlier this offseason to be connected in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. From the Padres standpoint it somewhat makes sense, as the signing of Eric Hosmer last winter pushed Myers off of first base. Unfortunately for Myers, moving back to third base and the outfield led to a reemergence of his prior injury issues. When on the field, Myers is a top-tier fantasy baseball asset. Despite only receiving 343 plate appearances in 2018, Myers contributed 11 home runs and 13 stolen bases. This production came after Myers tallied 30 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2017. A corner infielder/outfielder with near five-category contributions is hard to find in our fantasy game. Make sure to price in some missed time as a hedge, but otherwise Myers is a strong target for your 2019 fantasy baseball team.

The Sleeper: Matt Strahm

Strahm missed the first month of the 2018 Major League Baseball season recovering from knee surgery. Upon his return, Strahm pitched from the bullpen, however, he did start a handful of games. Strahm’s skills have long been of interest to me and his 61 1/3 innings pitched in 2018 did nothing to dissuade my interest. Strahm’s 2.05 ERA was certainly helped by a suppressed BABIP (.226), however, don’t let that fact blind you from the rest of his skill growth. After all, a 3.36 | 3.84 FIP | xFIP and a 0.98 WHIP are impressive regardless of BABIP and final ERA figures. Strahm’s first pitch strike rate rose to an impressive 66.5% last year. Getting ahead of hitters allowed Strahm to display the best control of his young career, 3.08 BB/9 | 8.6 BB%. It remains to be seen if Strahm’s improved ability was a function of growth or a move to the bullpen—which often allows pitchers to perform at a higher level. Either way, Strahm’s 12.6% swinging strike rate and 19.6% K-BB% have my attention. It’s been reported that Strahm is preparing to compete for a rotation spot in 2019. Whether he lands in the rotation or towards the back end of the bullpen, Strahm is a gamble worth taking later in your draft or auction.

The Guy to Avoid: Eric Hosmer

It’s true, Hosmer’s price is going to be in the tank this fantasy baseball season and yet, I still find myself yelling from the mountain tops to stay away. Hosmer’s yo-yo performance ways have been a consistent source of frustration for fantasy baseball managers and I don’t know if it’ll get much better in the coming season(s). Hosmer continues to post decent home run totals despite a huge ground ball rate. The percent of balls hit on the ground in 2018 hit a career high 60.4%. Hosmer’s hard contact percentage of 34.5% is right around league average, yet he’s been able to continually post higher than expected HR/FB rates given said hard contact ability. Last season Hosmer’s strikeout rate jumped from 15.5% in 2017 to 21.0%. Hosmer had a similar strikeout rate in 2016 (19.8%), a season in which he hit .266, but also posted his career high in home runs (25). Steamer currently has Hosmer projected for a 22 home run season (651 plate appearances), with six stolen bases and a .265/.339/.433 triple slash. If Hosmer were to miss any time due to injury, the projection above could seriously crater, yet another reason I am avoiding Hosmer in 2019 fantasy baseball drafts.

The Prospect to Watch: Fernando Tatis Jr.

Picking just a single prospect from the stacked Padres system is tough. Tatis Jr owns the type of skills that can push a fantasy team from contender to winner. In 2018, Tatis Jr hit .286/.355/.507 across 394 Double-A plate appearances. A broken thumb and subsequent surgery ended Tatis Jr’s season in July, but not before he had 16 home runs and 16 stolen bases for the San Antonio Missions. The question remains when exactly we’ll see Tatis Jr in the big leagues, however, owners in keeper and dynasty leagues should sell out in an attempt to acquire the young shortstop if contemplating a rebuild.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Other young players of note for the Padres include:

  • Francisco Mejia (C)
  • Luis Urias (2b)
  • Franmil Reyes (OF)
  • Chris Paddack (SP)
Our 2019 MLB Preview series will run from late-November throughout the off-season. We will cover each team in reverse order of the 2018 Major League Baseball Standings. Because of the number of teams and time required to produce these posts, we’re needing to start early; before all roster moves have been made. Because we strive to provide informative and useful fantasy baseball content, we will be updating these preview posts throughout the off-season as rosters continue to take their final shape.

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