Wow, where to start. The Padres were a team that many picked to be major players in the 2008 race for the National League West. Unfortunately for them, between injuries and the lack of a power bat aside from Adrian Gonzalez, that dream went up in a puff of smoke. 2009 doesn’t look to be much different for them either, as a divorce among the principal owners is forcing a rebuilding phase now in order to facilitate a sale of the team.
#1 Overall San Diego Padres: Adrian Gonzalez (1B) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 Stats: .279 BA, 36 HR, 32 2B, 119 RBI, 103 RS
Another year of being the lone source of thump in the line-up resulted in another year of stellar power numbers for Gonzalez. At 26, he’s showing signs of consistently raising his game while entering his prime, although a rise in strikeouts leaves a little bit of concern to be cautious over. Still, you expect some heavy hitting out of your first baseman, and you’ll get that from Gonzalez to the tune of .280, 35 home runs, and 120 RBI. Grab him early and hope for a trade to contender.
#2 Overall San Diego Padres: Jake Peavy (SP) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 stats: 10 Wins and 11 Losses, 2.85 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 166 SO
A year after winning the Cy Young award, Peavy had a forgettable 2008. Although he was affective when on the mound, he battled through injuries and had to deal with inept support behind him, sapping his win total. The Padres were shopping him in the off season, but couldn’t find a taker, so they’ll likely put his name out there at the trade deadline, which would be the best thing to happen to you if you land him. If he stays in San Diego, expect 12 wins, a 2.50 ERA, and 200 strikeouts. If he gets out of there, expect 18 to 20 wins, 3.00 ERA, and 200 stikeouts.
#3 Overall San Diego Padres: Chris Young (SP) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 stats: 7 Wins and 6 Losses, 3.96 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 93 SO
Young is an enigma on the mound if there ever was one. He can be dominate when he’s on, but can struggle with control at times. At 6,’10”, he’s the ideal starter and throws a heavy ball, making him a great number two starter. However, like Peavy, expectations must be tempered because of the team hitting behind him. If he bounces back healthy, pencil him in for 10-12 wins, a 3.50 ERA, and 150 strikeouts in 2009.
#4 Overall San Diego Padres: Brian Giles (RF) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 Stats: .306 BA, 12 HR, 40 2B, 63 RBI, 2 SB, 81 RS
A lot of people will write off Giles as over the hill and washed up, and saying that his already depleted production is just continually sapped by his playing the abyss of Petco Park. Those same people though didn’t take much notice that he had a decent season in 2008, hitting over .300 for the first time in 4 seasons and stroking 40 doubles, which would probably mean more home runs in a smaller ballpark. Still, at 37 and with the weight of some legal issues hanging over him, he’s likely to revert back to .280, 10 home runs, and 75 RBI in 2009.
#5 Overall San Diego Padres: Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B) – Fantasy Baseball 2009
2008 Stats: .260 BA, 23 HR, 31 2B, 84 RBI, 71 RS
When San Diego acquired Kouzmanoff before the 2008 season, they did so in hopes of getting some protection in the line-up behind Adrian Gonzalez. By delivering 23 home runs, Kouzmanoff partially came through, but he was prone to striking out, failing to work counts, which resulted in a measly .299 on base percentage. At 28, he may see some growth in his stats, but his home field may also damp that. It may be better to expect a batting line similar to his 2008 season and take any increases as a boon.
MLB Standings, MLB.com
MLB Team Stats, Hitting, MLB.com
MLB Team Stats, Pitching, MLB.com
Adrian Gonzalez, Baseball-Reference.com
Jake Peavy, Baseball-Reference.com
Chris Young, Baseball-Refernce.com
Brian Giles, Baseball-Reference.com
Kevin Kouzmanoff, Baseball-Reference.com