A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Last Look at the Padres 2014 Season

I planned on doing this post in 2014, but looking at the past Padres season was too depressing to me.  Seriously.  I know it says that they won 77 games (better than ten other teams), but this had to be one of the worst Padres seasons in recent history.  It already started off rough when Jerry Coleman passed away in January, and looked even bleaker when Tony Gwynn died in June.  Couple those events with an offense that was historically bad, and a lot of Padre fans were down in the dumps.

Man, writing that has made me depressed again.  I think I'll try to make this quick.

The reason I'm writing this post is to justify what I do all season long on the side of the blog.  I think I copied this from Night Owl's blog, but what I do is basically award a "Man of the Match" (to borrow a soccer football phrase) to a Padres player after each game, as long as they won.  I keep track of it all season, if nothing else to help me analyze a little bit of each game even if I don't watch it (I still watch more than 75% of them, despite a two hour time difference).

So, without further adieu, here are the results:*

Disclaimer: I know that on a bad team like the Padres were last year, you might say that it was just bad luck, the player played good in some games, they just happened to lose those games.  Fair point.  I would think that over a stretch of 182 games, though, that things would even out.  I also might poke fun at some of the one-two game winners, but in reality, there were others that didn't even get that far, so I guess one is better than zero.


ONE GAME WINNERS:
Abraham Almonte
Yonder Alonso
Xavier Nady
Carlos Quentin
Huston Street

Huston Street gets a pass for only having one, since he is a closer and it's tough to really stand out, especially in a game that you're already winning.  That the Padres fielded a team that even had Xavier Nady and Abraham Almonte on the field tells you a lot about the team in 2014.  Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso were huge disappointments.  Quentin couldn't stay healthy long enough to make an impact, and Alonso was flat out horrible.  He was injured for a bit of that (wrist) and as of right now, it seems like he's still going to be the Padres first baseman going into 2015.  Not sure I follow that logic, but AJ Preller is a mastermind, so we'll see what happens.

TWO GAME WINNERS:
Everth Cabrera
Robbie Erlin
Yasmani Grandal
Chase Headley
Cory Spangenberg
Will Venable

None of the three players pictured above is with the team any more.  After multiple off the field issues (domestic disputes, PED use, and finally a DUI charge), Everth Cabrera was cut from the team this offseason.  Yasmani Grandal, also no stranger to PED use, was traded to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp, and Chase Headley was dealt at the trade deadline to the Yankees for Yangervis Solarte.  I keep reading that Grandal is a future All-Star, a great defender who has yet to reach his hitting potential, but color me skeptical.  The pitchers preferred to throw to Grandal's platoon partner, Rene Rivera, who had a career year with the bat, so he was sparely used, and sometimes even put at first base.  We'll see how he does in LA, but there is a small contingent of fans and "experts" who think that the Padres were fools to deal Grandal.  Matt Kemp seems pretty good to me.

I could go on about Will Venable's 2014 season, but I made a resolution not to speak negatively about Venable - it was getting that out of hand.  Instead, I'll focus on Cory Spangenberg, who was  late season call up but didn't seem to have the hitting deficiencies that we were told about.  Not a lot of power, doesn't draw walks, but can make good contact and has speed.  Will probably be a utility player this year, but I'm excited to watch how he is developed.

THREE GAME WINNERS:
Jedd Gyorko
Jesse Hahn
Yangervis Solarte

Jedd Gyorko only hit .210 last year, with 10 homers and 51 RBI.  Not what you'd expect from a guy with an "All-Star Rookie" cup on his card.  Here's hoping it was just a sophomore slump.  He was injured after all.

Yangervis Solarte and Jesse Hahn were welcome breaths of fresh air for the team.  Hahn was great as a rookie starter, and was really fun to watch.  Seeing him strike out Matt Kemp who was so frustrated that he broke his bat over his knee was awesome.  He was dealt to the A's for catcher Derek Norris, so I'm sad to see him go, but will keep tabs on his career.  Solarte was only with the team for the second half of the season, coming over from New York in the Chase Headley trade.  He did just about as well as Headley did the rest of the season, so the same production for a fraction of the price?  Padres made out alright there.

FIVE GAME WINNERS
Alexi Amarista
Odrisamer Despaigne
Tommy Medica
Rene Rivera
Eric Stults

Getting closer to the top of the top, and we're still seeing names like Tommy Medica, Rene Rivera, and Eric Stults.  Yep.  Don't get me wrong, I love all of these players.  Really.  But all of them would be bit players on a contending team.  Stults had some flat out horrible starts, but did well in others.  I'm sad to see Rivera go, seemed like a good clubhouse guy and had a great year for the Padres, but he was dealt in the Wil Myers trade.  I'm excited about that.  The other three guys should be on the team next year, so they'll be some of my favorite "old Padres".  Yep, Odrisamer Despaigne and Tommy Medica are now "old Padres", having spent a combined 137 games on the field.

SIX GAME WINNERS:
Tyson Ross
Seth Smith

All jokes aside, the next four were really the cornerstones of the Padres team last year, all solid players. It's very telling, however, that three of those four are starting pitchers.  It was definitely a strength of the team.  I love that Tyson Ross got an All-Star card, even though he didn't get to actually play in the All-Star game.  Seth Smith had a great first half, but totally faded towards the end.  He was recently traded for a bullpen piece from the Mariners.  I really like how the bullpen is shaping up for the upcoming season.

SEVEN GAME WINNERS:
Andrew Cashner
Ian Kennedy

No surprises here.  I was as un-biased as I could be, but of the 19 games that Andrew Cashner started (going 5-7), the Padres won nine, so his ratio of 7/9 is pretty high.  He was that good this season.  When he was healthy… When he was healthy… When he was healthy…

Ian Kennedy had another solid season for the Padres, who they kinda picked up as a reclamation project.  Pitching in Petco will do that to a pitcher who's down on his luck, but Kennedy's home/away splits were almost equal.  He's not flashy and grabs my attention least from any of the Padres starters, but he did well enough to win 13 games on a bad Padres team.  That's saying something.

Well, alright, that's out of my system.  In a few days, I'll delete the sidebar and wait until the season starts to fire it up again.  Here's hoping that I'll get to write Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Derek Norris, and Justin Upton's name a lot in 2015.  With some space for Cashner and Ross.  And Amarista and (newly acquired from the Dodgers) Tim Federowicz.  Gotta spread it around.

2 comments:

  1. Xavier Nady played for the Padres last year? I completely missed that. Outside of the Chicago teams, I'm probably most looking forward to seeing how the Padres do in 2015.

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  2. Will be interesting to follow the new Padres outfield this year. Has to be exciting following a tough season.

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