|San Diego Padres 2008 Preview||| Print ||
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on March 15, 2008
Moving to Southern California
Not Feeling Those Fish Tacos
The Skinny: They may need a little luck in terms of player development, but the San Diego Padres can compete in 2008. Offensively, guys like Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff must maintain their stroke from last season, while Brian Giles and Jim Edmonds need to fight off the old-age bug.
Pitching-wise, Mark Prior and Randy Wolf need to shake off previous injuries and take the ball for a combined 50 starts. If they can do that, then the team should be pretty good. After all, they feature one of the best bullpens in the major leagues.
Strengths: As mentioned above, the bullpen is a huge strength. Trevor Hoffman, despite his struggles down the stretch last season, should provide plenty of relief. Heath Bell came into his own last year, while Cla Meredith, Kevin Cameron, and Justin Hampson are all very capable middle relievers.
In the rotation, Jake Peavy and Chris Young should provide quality, ace-like innings. By the time Young tires, as he normally does in the second half of the season, Prior should be clicking on all cylinders. Wolf, Maddux, and minor leaguers like Cesar Carillo and Clay Hensley should provide depth.
Weaknesses: With a ballpark like PETCO Field, offense is always going to be troublesome. Gonzalez is the only great bat. Guys like Kouzmanoff, Giles, and Edmonds are only complementary players. If the Padres want to compete in 2008, they need two or more of those guys to provide capable, middle-of-the-order bats. As the offense goes, this team goes.
Keys to Success: It cannot be said often enough: The San Diego Padres need a ton of offense. Giles and Edmonds need to turn back the calendars to 2005, while the 2008 Kouzmanoff must look like the second-half Kouzmanoff from 2007.
Fifty starts combined from Prior and Wolf would also be beneficial. This will keep the Padres from dipping too deep into their depth charts. If healthy, those two guys are great as back-of-the-rotation pitchers. The Padres are going to have a tough time keeping up with the starting rotation depth of their competitors without Prior and Wolf at something resembling full strength.
Prediction: A 90 win season is not out of the question, but a lot would have to go right. Bet on something around 87-75.