Daily Fantasy Baseball
March 13, 2014 posted by Collin Hager

2014 Fantasy Baseball Top Five Questions: San Diego Padres

2014 Fantasy Baseball Top Five Questions: San Diego Padres
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Ah, San Diego. Drink it in, always goes down smooth. Beyond it being sunny virtually every day, they actually play some baseball out there. The Padres have not always had much fantasy relevance recently, but that is soon to change. With young pitching and some talented position players, the Padres are no longer the one-hit wonder they have been. Is it possible to find some value here? What about the pitching? We take a closer look here to get those answers 5. Will Andrew Cashner be as good as the fish tacos at the park? Let’s be real – nothing beats fish tacos in San Diego. Period. That said, the Padres need him to be because the rest of the rotation will be stitched together even with the addition of Josh Johnson. Cashner can throw and his fastball velocity gives him an immediate strikeout pitch. This will be just his second full season as a starter and it will be important to see how he holds up. For fantasy owners, Cashner needs to improve his strikeout right, as fanning under seven hitters per nine innings will not excite the masses. Still, he pitches in a friendly park, has the right stuff, and has shown consistency in his FIP marks in moving from starter to reliever (3.55 in 2012 to 3.35 in 2013). Is he a 20-win pitcher? Not yet, but he will win you 15 with strong strikeout marks. 4. The rest of the rotation doesn’t seem to get the fantasy juices flowing. Is there value here? Well it may not be value, but it is worth watching. If Johnson stays healthy, he has upside for owners. The name to watch is Tyson Ross. Ross is getting plenty of ink and if you only look at the surface numbers it will not seem to make sense. He did not take over as a starter until after the All-Star Break last season. During that stretch, he started 13 games and threw 80 innings. Ross struck out 85 hitters while allowing only 26 runs, which was good for a 2.92 ERA. When you add in that he was walking about 2.5 hitters per nine innings, you can see plenty of upside to Ross and the reasons why his name is being thrown about in deeper leagues. 3. Which Chase Headley is the real deal – the one from 2012 or the one from 2013? Good question and one we should address right off the bat. Here we have a player that jumped from low double-digit power to 31 home runs in a tough ballpark in 2012 only to drop back down to that level in 2013. Every number was worse in a statistically significant way and more owners were burned here than we can count. Know what that means? There is value to be had in 2013. As the 10th third baseman coming off the board, he is still a starter in almost every format. The fact is, there should be some moderate correction for most of his stats. His strikeout rate was the highest it has been in his career at almost 24 percent when he has been closer to 21 to 22 percent in the past. Add in a BABIP 20 points lower than 2012 and almost 50 points lower than 2011 and you should see his average move up from .250 to closer to the .270 range. The biggest drop was his HR/FB ratio fell to half of what it was in 2012. An uptick there gives him closer to 20 home runs (flyball percentage was constant). Is he as good as 2012? No. But will he be as bad as 2013? Not at all. Headley will prove to have a lot of value in 2014. 2. The outfield there still has a few question marks. What types of year are we going to see from Carlos Quentin and Will Venable? Quentin is an interesting case. He has only played in 168 games over the last two years but has put up 29 home runs and 90 RBI in that stretch. He can still hit. In fact, I personally think some of the projections are being unfair to him. If Quentin is as healthy as he claims to be, he is a player that will hit 25 home runs and drive in 90 while hitting .265-.270. All those are numbers he has done in the past. With Venable, expectations should be slightly more tempered. He hit almost 20 percent of his flyballs for home runs last year while he had been below ten percent in each of the last two years. That is the biggest variable to change, but it will impact his RBI totals. Coming off the board as the number 57 outfielder makes him a borderline starter in five outfielder mixed leagues. That feels about right. 1. Did you really think you would get through this without talking about Jedd Gyorko? After he hit 30 home runs combined in Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, Gyorko managed 23 home runs in San Diego last season. His power should help carry owners and make him worth owning at either second or third base. The concern here would be the lack of speed, especially if you are planning to put him in the middle infield. The strikeout numbers are also a concern. If Gyorko can correct the strikeouts to his minor league ratio (about five to seven points lower than 2013’s mark of 23 percent), the correction in batting average should put him in the .265 range. With a BABIP closer to .300 (he was at .344 in Triple-A), it is possible that he could be a top-10 player at second base even without the steals. Keep in mind though that he has stolen fewer than five bases in a season at every level except Single-A.

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