San Diego Padres: Grading the first third of the season

san diego padresWell, 62 games are in the books, and the San Diego Padres are exactly who we assumed they would be; a sub-par baseball team with a pretty good pitching staff, but an anemic offense. Despite being ranked last in every offensive stat category, except slugging percentage which is ranked 29th…, the Padres have managed to find ways to win ball games, and currently sit with a 28-34 record, and are in the running for the second or third spot in the NL West, which is very surprising.

Offense: D-

The stats and rankings speak for themselves. The Padres have only totaled 195 runs through 62 games, which averages out at 3.1 runs per game, which is pretty pathetic, and have only managed to score more than three runs in 28 of the 62 games. This may be due in part to a team which struggles at the plate, with an overall team batting average of .220, and with only two players batting (barely) over .300, in Seth Smith and Cameron Maybin (.302 and .300). The only thing that keeps this grade from being an F, is the fact that the Padres are only six games under a .500 record, are still in a pretty good position in the NL West, and the team and players such as Yonder Alonso are playing much better as of late. Alonso is hitting .300/.364/.543 since May 9th. If players such as Jedd Gyorko and Chase Headley start to bump up their game like Alonso has, the Padres could still have a chance to turn things around, as their next 11 games are against opponents with currently .500 or worse records.

Pitching/Defense: B+

The saving grace of the Padres this season has been the impressive performances from the mound. The Padres rank 5th overall in team ERA at 3.38, which puts them fourth in the NL. The pitching staff has been keeping the team close in a number of games, and if the Padres could manage to score some more runs and win these close ball games, the records of the pitchers as well as the entire team would  be much, much better. The Padres are lead by their three aces, first Andrew Cashner, who is posting a 2.13 ERA, followed by Tyson Ross with an ERA of  3.22 and 77 strikeouts, and Ian Kennedy, who leads the team with 88 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.39. However, their records combined stands at 13-16, Ross with the best record of the three at 6-5. The Padres pitching has been backed nicely by a relatively mistake-free infield, and an athletic outfield. If the Padres picks it up offensively, they will become a much more solid ball club, as their pitching ranks among the highest in all the MLB.

Individual Player Grades:

Seth Smith, B+

Smith has been a standout on this team since his first game in a Padres uniform this season. He leads the team with a batting average of .302, and is second on the team with 21 RBI’s. He has been rock solid in the outfield, and continues to come through with big time hits when the team needs it. His six home runs also leads the team.

Andrew Cashner, A-

As we expected heading into the season, Cashner was the ace in the Padres bullpen. Cashner is fourth in the NL with an ERA of 2.13, and despite a little injury trouble, was able to come back from the DL and tossed six shutout innings while only giving up two hits. While he may only have two wins on the season, Cashner continues to impress with a sharp array of pitches, and keeps the Padres in contention to come away with a win any time he’s on the mound.

Jedd Gyorko, D-

A lot more was expected from Gyorko coming into this season, after a decent rookie campaign last season, hitting .249/.301/.444. This season has been a struggle for Gyorko is hitting a measly .169 this season, and continues to battle with injuries, the most recent, a foot injury sustained in the series versus the Nationals, landed him on the 15-day DL. Gyorko still has some time to heal up and turn his game around, but up to this point, has struggled to produce and help this team, who is in desperate need for someone like Gyorko to step up, if the Padres are going to compete down the stretch in a fairly wide open (minus the MLB leading Giants) NL West.