“If he’s a good hitter why doesn’t he hit well?”
one of my favorite lines moneyballand it applies a little san diego padres So far this season. They have more problems than just the lineup, but this seems to be the main problem. The Padres have won the Winter World Series the last few seasons, and yet they haven’t become an ungodly force on the field. So what is going on?
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Perhaps it’s important to remind ourselves that all the headlines and buzz and excitement the Padres have generated since Their whole “FUCK IT” phase, they haven’t been this good in any season. 500 in 2021, and they won 89 games last year before going 5-2 in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and then pretty much smoked in the NLCS. Arriving at the NLCS, a lot of people were convinced that they had arrived. But again, the playoffs were only seven games. He had the fifth-best cause in the NL. It hasn’t been the all-conquering rush running the National League, at least not yet.
Currently, they are a game under 12-13 and got thrown out last night by Justin Steele in Lake Michigan (no shame in that, as Steele is proving to be a secret ace for the Cubs). The Padres are 24th in MLB in runs scored, dead-last in batting average, 27th in on-base percentage and 25th in slugging. For a team that has caused some of its fellow owners to chicken out at their expense, you’d hope for little better.
How did they get here? For one, Manny Machado has been taking Fish to the plate rather than at bat so far this season. He’s got a 48 wRC+ with an OPS of .522. his walking rate That’s been cut in half since last year, and he’s seeing a lot more strikeouts than just him (68 percent swing rate). on pitches in the zone (as opposed to 77 last year). More worryingly, their contact type has completely gone awry. His hard-hit rate has dropped nearly 20 percentage points. their average exhaust velocity Three mph has sunk in a year where baseball is seeing the rise of most hitters. That’s not that bad, but its expected numbers based on noise level The contact he’s been making suggests he’s no worse off than he should be so far this season.
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Speaking of hitters whose power has taken a vacation in Narnia, Juan Soto has come down! Soto has a below-normal OBP at .355, but he’s hitting an interstate-based .188 and slugging .365. He still walks a lot, but his K-rate has almost doubled since then. 2022. Like Machado, he’s seeing a lot of pitches, and at times looks like he’s just expecting a walk. It kind of mirrors what happened last year after his trade from Nat. Unlike Machado, when Soto hits the ball he absolutely shreds it with a 55 percent hard-hit rate and above average exit velocity. of 92 MPH. That doesn’t mean it’s mostly on the ground though, as Soto is garnering a 57.8 ground-ball rate. It may hit a lot of gophers but that doesn’t mean there are a lot of extra-base hits, which the Padres would be more interested in getting.
Ahead of the lineup, Jake Cronkworth can’t stop swooning over everything. Ha-seong can’t stop chasing changes outside the Kim zone (45 percent chase rate). Kim and Trent Grisham aren’t really considered huge weapons on offense thanks to their gloves, but this gives the Padres some glove-only situations, along with the black hole the catcher spot has been offensively.
The Padres will be hoping that the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. will smooth some of this out, and he hasn’t been back in the lineup in over a week. He missed the entire season and is selling 2-for-1 on surgery along with his suspension, so it could take some time. If it wasn’t for Xander Bogarts and Matt Carpenter, the Padres could be scoring at a Beavis-like rate.
is more than Although the lineup. Blake Snell, Nick Martinez, and Yu Darvish form a conga line with their walks to first base. Dervish is able to dance around them, the other two not so much. Joe Musgrove is back but will have to get Snell and Darvish back in the strike zone.
If this is the part of the story where Ed Harris lights a cigarette and asks his friends, “What have we got on the ship that’s good?” Pad has four guys with ERAs under 3.00, but that hasn’t stopped him from having the 7th highest bullpen ERA in the majors. But with the return of Musgrove, the pen will benefit from Ryan Weathers and Martinez in the rotation, which should strengthen it.
Machado will ramp up. Tatis would probably do. but how much? Will Soto remember that he is allowed to hit the ball in the air? How good is Kronenworth really? Matt Carpenter Has Been Trash For A Few Years Except For One Month Binge in the Bronx last year, so is his hot start a turnaround, or just noise?
Luckily for the Padres, the rest of the division hasn’t turned away from them. The Dodgers also had lineup issues, and the Diamondbacks had wasted enough time on Madison Bumgarner to go nowhere just yet. The Padres are only a half game back in the NL West.
But winning the middling division, if it turns out NL West, wasn’t exactly what everyone had in mind for the outlay the Padres made. Unless you’re a direct rival, most fans don’t want to see them toss an 87-win season to point to more owners to prove that spending doesn’t mean winning and that Can keep the wallet even more closed. So let’s kick this pig, Padres, huh?
Follow Sam on Twitter @felsgate And he certainly isn’t laughing at the White Sox. Definitely not.