With opening day two weeks away, the San Diego Padres still have a few question marks they need to address before going into the 2013 season.
First on that list is who will fill out the number-three through five spots in the rotation.
Though he led the team in strikeouts this spring, Freddy Garcia had a horrendous spring and does not deserve to break camp with the team. Eric Stultz, another potential candidate for the number-four or five spot, didn't pitch well either in three spring starts, and though he isn't an overpowering pitcher, he didn't record a single strikeout this spring.
So what will the pitching staff look like going into 2013? My guess would be:
1. Clayton Richard (1-1, 6.59 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 13.2 IP, three GS this spring)
2. Edinson Volquez (1-0, 13.50 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 4 IP, three GS)
3. Jason Marquis (0-0, 2.25 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 12 IP, four GS)
4. Tyson Ross (3-2, 2.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 16.1 IP, three GS)
5. Sean O'Sullivan (1-0, 1.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 11 IP, three GS)
And though I know many of you will disagree with me on O'Sullivan taking the number-five spot in the rotation, he did have a great spring and has more regular-season starting experience than Anthony Bass and Andrew Cashner. However, if Ross or O'Sullivan struggle in the beginning of the season, don't be surprised to see both Bass and Cashner taking their positions much sooner than later.
Next on the list of position battles this spring is right field. I think we all know that it's inevitable that Will Venable will start the season in right. He seems to be manager Bud Black's go-to underachiever. However, if he plays the way he performed this spring during the regular season, I sure hope that the front office puts Jesus Guzman, Kyle Blanks or triple-A minor-leaguer Daniel Robertson in his place.
Just take a look at the spring numbers:
- Will Venable: .216/.250/.459, two home runs, five RBI, six runs scored
- Chris Denorfia: .368/.455/.421, three RBI, four runs scored
- Jesus Guzman: .298/.327/.596, three home runs, 10 RBI, five runs scored
- Kyle Blanks: .370/.466/.630, two home runs, 12 RBI, 14 runs scored
- Daniel Robertson: .400/.400/.800, one triple, one RBI, two runs scored
I know that Denorfia is next in line to take over at right, but who would you rather have starting?
If you were to ask me, give Guzman an opportunity to play full-time. Sure he may not have the slickest glove and doesn't run the way Venable does, but when he hits, the ball flies, and I would love to see what kind of production his bat can yield if he were given the chance to play consistently.
Finally, let's take a look at the infield. If you were to ask me a week ago, I would have told you that Chase Headley would start the season at third, Everth Cabrera at short and most likely Jedd Gyorko debuting at second. Now with Headley out for likely the first month of the season, the dynamics of the Padres infield will surely go in a different direction come opening day.
It's pretty clear that Everth Cabrera will be our starting shortstop and leadoff hitter to start the season. But will Jedd Gyorko start the season now at third base, leaving second to Logan Forsythe?
And though James Darnell is having a terrible spring, I still see him as a strong candidate to start at third if manager Bud Black decides that Gyorko should be the team's second baseman.
Alexi Amarista has some experience at third in the minors, but in all reality, he's much better suited in the middle infield and has never had enough playing time there to fit in. Jeudy Valdez also has experience at the hot corner and even started there today for the Padres, but his spring numbers have been just as bad as Darnell's.
Let's look at some numbers from infielders competing for jobs this season:
- Everth Cabrera: .333/.440/.405, one RBI, eight runs scored, three stolen bases
- Jedd Gyorko: .298/.327/.596, three home runs, 10 RBI, five runs scored
- Logan Forsythe: .250/.286/.450, two triples, four RBI, two runs scored
- James Darnell: .182/.250/.182, no RBI, one run scored
- Alexi Amarista: .333/.353/.479, nine RBI, 11 runs scored
- Jeudy Valdez: .194/.286/.452, one home run, six RBI, four runs scored, two stolen bases
- Jonathan Galvez: .405/.436/.595, one home run, one triple, seven RBI, 11 runs scored
So what should the Padres do with Headley out?
I would personally start Gyorko at third, Forsythe at second and Cabrera at short with Amarista and Darnell playing backup. To me, this makes the most sense, but I also have a strong feeling that Padres fans will see a lot of platooning and experimenting going on until Headley returns to the lineup.
Mr. Hellbound, care to elaborate on this one for me? What are your thoughts on this tricky little situation?