6 Reasons San Diego Padres Fans Should Be Cautiously Optimistic
The San Diego Padres are off to a start that many suspected in the 2012 season. The Friars have a terrible winning percentage of just .347 and find themselves already 16 games back of the NL West-leading Dodgers, who are off to a scorching start.
While the Padres were not expected to be a team that makes a run at the playoffs this year, they are struggling worse then people thought they would. There are many reasons for this, such as the team seeming to have a new player landing himself on the disabled list every week and more and more young and inexperienced players being called up when not quite ready for the big leagues.
With May coming to a close the Padre faithful should actually be excited for the rest of the year. Don't get me wrong, the Pads are not going to finish anywhere close to the playoffs this year, but fans should remain optimistic about the remainder of the season.
*All stats are from May 28, 2012.
The Injuries Have to Stop
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The injury bug has plagued the Padres all season. They have lost two of their starting pitchers: Tim Stauffer, who has a sprained elbow and currently does not have a timetable to return, and Cory Luebke, who had reconstructive elbow surgery and is done for the remainder of the season.
On May 19, San Diego Union Tribune's, Bill Center reported that when Mark Kotsay found himself on the DL (for the second time), he was the 13th Padre to land on the DL already this year.
Padre fans should hope that this horrific plague of injuries will stop sometime soon. Hopefully Stauffer will return to the rotation soon, and with the addition of Carlos Quentin to the lineup the Padres should see an increase in their win column.
The Return of Carlos Quentin
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Padres GM Josh Byrnes brought in the New Year by trading for all star Carlos Quentin. Byrnes and the Padres hoped Quentin could fill the power void that was left by the Adrian Gonzalez trade.
Quentin's San Diego career started off on a bad foot—or should I say knee. Quentin tore his right meniscus during spring training and for the first time as a Friar suited up against the Cubs on May 28.
The power Quentin can provide should be the boost the Padres have been looking for the past year and half now. It is no secret Petco Park does not favor hitters, but Quentin has the power to drive the ball all over the place. According to ESPN, the Padres currently rank dead last in slugging percentage and second to last in runs scored.
If Quentin can remain healthy he should help the Padres score many more runs than they are capable of now. In his first game back with the team, he hit cleanup and had an RBI double in a 11-7 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Padre fans should look forward to more runs being scored with Quentin in the lineup.
The Farm System
According to ESPN's Keith Law, the San Diego Padres have the best farm system in all of baseball. This is most likely because the Padres are known for producing solid players only to trade them away because they cannot afford to pay a major contract.
According to Law, the Padres do not have a top-25 prospect but their total numbers of prospects that have the potential to be MLB players outnumbers any other team in baseball. Padre fans should be happy to know that if these players turn out to be as good as they are currently rated, the Padres could be a top team in baseball in just a short amount of time.
The Play of Yonder Alonso
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Many Padre fans were upset after they heard ace Mat Latos had been traded to the Cincinnati Reds. However, after the trades details about whom the Padres got back for Latos many people realized that the Padres got the better part of the deal.
The biggest player the Padres got back from the Reds was first baseman Yonder Alonso, who has spent three years behind one the best first baseman in the NL, Joey Votto. Last year Alonso appeared in 47 games, hit .330 and added in 15 RBIs. Padre fans hoped they would see similar numbers in the young stars first full season in the big leagues.
So far Alonso has been the best player in the Padres' lineup and will likely be the team's teams selection for this year's All-Star Game. In the first 50 games of this year Alonso has appeared in 47 games and is hitting a team-high .301 while adding 14 RBIs and one home run.
Alonso has been one of the few bright spots for the Padres this year and with the return of Carlos Quentin to the lineup Alonso should have some pressure taken off him, which will allow him to put up even better numbers. Padre fans should be very excited about the future of Yonder Alonso.
Team Might Be Sold During This Season
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The Padres are currently the only Major League Baseball team to be up for sale. Teams that are up for sale usually do not perform well. It is a huge distraction to everyone involved in the organization. The current owner of the team, John Moores, put the Padres up for sale in the beginning of April and, according to Bill Center, has hopes to finalize the sale within the next year (while it could happen within six months, according to Center).
It would be best for the Padres to wait for the perfect owner because the city and fans deserve an owner who is willing to spend money on the team. According to USA Today, the Padres rank dead last in team payroll with their total payroll at $55,244,700, which is approximately $143 million less than the New York Yankees.
Whoever the new owner will be does not need to turn the Padres into big spenders, but he/she must be willing to spend the appropriate amount of cash to turn this team into a contender.
The Team Is Improving
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Despite all the injuries that the team has gone through recently, the Padres actually won more games in the month of May than they did in April. The team started the year by winning just seven games in the month of April. With two games remaining in the month of May the team has won 10 games.
With the Padres having the chance to win five more games than they did in the previous month, that would be a great step in the right direction for the Friars. Slowly but surely it might be all coming together for manager Bud Black. With the team getting healthier and players like Cameron Maybin and Will Venable playing better than they did in April, the team should start to see an improvement in its monthly wins.