Yes, the title is correct. Being from San Diego myself I am very excited and confident that this team will be good for 10+ years…if we keep our main pieces, of course. In the 2013 season I didn’t think we would be as good as we are; I just thought we would be a team that would play spoiler for a couple other teams trying to make a playoff push. But, we have shocked the sports world by being 3.5 games out of first place and third place in our division. Let’s take a look at why, I believe, 2015 will be our year.
1. Cory Luebke
2. Andrew Cashner
3. Casey Kelly
4. Robbie Erlin
5. Joe Weiland
If this is the staff of the future, the San Diego Padres will have 3 Aces on their team: Luebke, Cashner and Kelly. Cashner this year has looked like a top of the rotation pitcher posting a 5-3 record with a 3.31 ERA with a 1.17 WHIP. Cashner is getting better and better after every start and Padres fans are now seeing why we traded Anthony Rizzo for him.
Luebke last year posted a 3-1 record with an astonishing 2.61 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in only 5 starts before he went down with an elbow injury. His throwing process this year has been stopped twice, however, and it is way behind schedule making it uncertain that he will be 100% ready for opening day 2014. Having him back will be huge for the Padres because he has shown great progress early in his career when healthy.
Joe Weiland and Casey Kelly are also out this year with injury. Kelly went 2-0 with an ERA of 1.74 and a WHIP of 1.35 in only 2 starts in 2012 and Weiland went 0-4 with an ERA of 4.55 and a WHIP of 1.27. Kelly’s walk-to-strikeout ratio is ridiculous at 1 walk to every 9 k’s. He will have to cut down on hits though as he has given up 26 hits in only 20 2/3 innings pitched.
Robbie Erlin I am excited for most out of this group. He has been a spot starter this year posting a 1-0 record with an ERA of 3.60 and a WHIP of 1.07. He has been a surprise so far this year because he has been great considering he only has a handful of starts under his belt.
If these guys live up to their potential it will be hard for any team to beat them. What will Byrnes do when Max Fried is ready for the big leagues as well?
Projected Starting Lineup:
Everth Cabrera SS
Rymer Liriano RF
Chase Headley 3B
Kyle Blanks LF
Jedd Gyorko 2B
Yonder Alonso 1B
Yasmani Grandal C
Cameron Maybin CF
First thing you will probably notice is Chase Headley is still in the lineup. I do think we will re-sign him, even though he has had a horrendous start to the season, although he has turned it on as of late. Last year he posted an average of .286 with 115 RBIs and 31 home runs winning a batting title, gold glove and getting 5th place in MVP voting. Although I can see them going a different direction by letting him go and moving Gyorko over to his natural position and moving up top prospect Cory Spangenberg to play 2nd base. By losing Headley though, puts them in a situation where you don’t have that power in the middle of the order. We will have to wait and find out until after the season is over to see what happens to him.
The catching position to me is one of the strong suits for the Padres right now (right behind the Starting Pitching). With a young and upcoming Yasmani Grandal, Padres are solid on the offensive end and he is improving defensively and will become one of the best in the game. But in the minors right now they have a guy named Austin Hedges, who is ranked the #64 prospect according to MLB.com and is #4 for all prospect catchers. He is currently hitting .277 in the minors and scouts are drooling over his arm and pop time. He has been compared to Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals and at times has been said to be a better defensive catcher than Yadier. Padres will have to move one of them for the future but should see some valuable pieces in return. But, it will be hard to see one of these two players go.
So what do you guys think? I’m not certain the Padres will make the playoffs this year, but I am certain that we will make a run next year and make the World Series the following year. As for my prediction on the record I believe this is an 85-90 game winning squad and a potential #1 seed in the playoffs. We could also be seeing future All-Stars from a couple different players such as: Everth Cabrera, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Jedd Gyorko, Chase Headley, Andrew Cashner and Cory Luebke.
So tell me your opinions on this team in the comments below.