The highly anticipated 2013 MLB campaign is on the horizon.
The San Diego Padres failed to deliver this weekend, but that should come as no surprise. The San Francisco Giants stretched their division lead to a commanding 15 games over the fading Padres.
Retracing the roller-coaster season, there isn’t much to be disappointed about. Injuries proved to be the inescapable this year.
My early projections leading into the season didn't materalize. Then again, you cannot control the injury bug.
As the offseason approaches, things are only looking up for the Padres. In the coming seasons, we should see a new-look squad that is ready to turn winning into a habit.
There will be a few headlining contributors that will help pave the way toward success for 2013.
Now, let’s check them out.
Honorable mention: Casey Kelly, Austin Hedges, Brad Boxberger, Joe Wieland
Jedd Gyorko isn't a household name...yet. He has wreaked havoc in the farm system and moved up the depth chart. He will have a solid shot at competing for a starting role in 2013.
His skills aren't proportionate to the size of his body. Gyorko comes in at 5'10'' and 195 lbs. He has the stature and presence of a first baseman, but the soft hands of a natural infielder.
The hot corner has been his calling, but if the Padres are looking to extend Chase Headley's contract, Gyorko will need to relocate across the diamond.
With the Padres continuing to restructure the pieces of their depleted infield, they will need to find a way to fit Gyorko into the equation. He has put in the work this year at second base, and that may just be his answer.
His speed and lateral quickness may not be that of a prototypical second basemen, but his offense makes up for it.
Through 77 games, Gyorko's numbers are as follows: 18 home runs, 68 RBI and an impressive .339 batting average. If those numbers can translate directly to the big leagues, playing time will be inevitable.
Without question, speed is his Achilles' heel. If he can work on his footwork and agility, there is no telling what this guy can do. Gyorko is the real deal.
Yasmani Grandal is a machine. Since hopping on board June 1st, he has made his presence felt.
Fortunately, due to Nick Hundley's disastrous 2012 campaign, Grandal has jumped into the lead spotlight.
Hundley's atrocious offensive numbers fall in line with his alarming .157 batting average. Needless to say, he has been designated back to his collegiate stomping grounds in AAA-Tucson.
After going on a tear following his major league debut, Grandal was forced to hit the showers after just 26 games. A strained oblique sidelined him for two weeks, but now he is back.
Grandal will look to return to form and help the Padres finish around .500. Without a doubt, he is the future behind the dish for the San Diego Padres.
Get used to the name Rymer Liriano, because he is about to make the leap to the big show.
After putting together a solid season in Lake Elsinore, the 21-year-old phenom graduated to AA-San Antonio. His aggressive style of play helped lead to his early promotion.
Nobody in the Padres system is more highly touted than Liriano. He has an incredibly high ceiling.
With the Padres looking for answers across the board, I wouldn't be surprised if Liriano jumped into the equation in right field to spark a little fire and test the job security of the veterans.
He is a force to be reckoned with in all aspects of his game.
Since landing in San Antonio, he has yet to find his groove offensively, posting a .263 batting average through 44 games. In addition to his offense and stellar defense, Liriano is also a threat on the base pads.
The Padres don't have a threatening running attack. Cameron Maybin has set the tone with 21 stolen bags, which translates to about half of Mike Trout's 39. Combining both class A and AA ball, Liriano has 30 stolen bases.
It won't be too long before Liriano becomes a fixture on the roster. 2013 may be his year.