MLB Offseason 2012: San Diego Padres Fielding Breakdown
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I'll bet that most Padres fans didn't realize how crazy this offseason would become, but the Padres are making big news already. The rumor mill has Jed Hoyer joining his old boss in Chicago. If that happens, look for Josh Byrnes to get the promotion. Byrnes is primarily responsible for building the club that beat the Padres and the rest of the NL West this year. So, the Padres will be in good hands regardless.
Padres fans have made their voices heard and they were disappointed in Hoyer's decisions this season. Some, in past comments on my analysis series, said they saw a fall off in pitching this season. I always say that a fall off in pitching is usually preceded by a fall off in fielding. The Padres were still very good in 2011, but they were out of their mind in 2010. That was one of the many reasons for their surprising finish that season.
DER: .704 (4th)
RA: 611 (4th)
FLD%: .985 (8th)
Baseball Reference: +3 runs (17th)
Fangraphs: +25.0 runs (7th)
Fielding Bible: +36 runs (5th)
Baseball Prospectus: -5.9 runs (22nd)
Composite Runs: +14.5 runs
When all the dust settles you are likely looking at a top ten fielding team, so to call them a disappointment is a bit of an overstatement. The truth of the matter is that they were amazing in 2010. Hoyer's individual moves all made sense, but they seemed to backfire on him. He brought in Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson to solidify the middle infield. Both turned in disappointing seasons with the bat and the glove.
Cameron Maybin did pan out in center field, but they struggled to find permanent guys around him in right and left. Probably more disappointing was the revolving door they had at first. Brad Hawpe quickly gave way to a group of youngsters that struggled collectively. Anthony Rizzo is seen as the first baseman of the future, but Juan Guzman was the lone bright spot at the position.
Jed Hoyer took a leap of faith when he acquired Cameron Maybin from the Marlins. Center field is littered with good athletes that are overrated. Maybin could have been one of those, but it looks like he's putting it together. By the end of the season, he was hitting for power and wreaking havoc on the base paths. He also was one of the better defensive center fielders.
Orlando Hudson was featured in the first Fielding Bible as an example of a young fielder that wasn't getting his due. Now, he's come full circle. His career is near its end and he has the reputation of being a slick fielder. The baseball world is usually two or three years behind on these things.
There are few free agents in San Diego, so what you see is what you get. Fortunately, they can hope for improvement with stability at first base and bounce back years from Hudson and Bartlett.
They should be better, but it is hard to improve on fourth in Runs Allowed. They need to score more runs to be competitive.
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