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2010 San Diego Padres Preview

Chris Young, RHP
Jon Garland, RHP
Kevin Correia, RHP
Mat Latos, RHP
Clayton Richard, LHP

Closers and Setup
Heath Bell, RHP
Luke Gregerson, RHP

Starting Lineup
Everth Cabrera, SS
David Eckstein, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Chase Headley, 3B
Will Venable, RF
Scott Hairston, CF
Kyle Blanks, LF
Nick Hundley, C

Player in Decline
Chris Young has been helped out by luck in his career, as we can see by looking at his FIP rates. His control slipped in ‘09, along with his strikeout rate. His home ballpark certainly helps his fly-ball tendencies, but he’s a huge risk on the road.

Player on the Rise
Kyle Blanks has to potential to provide some massive power numbers for fantasy managers. Add in the fact that he could be eligible at two positions (first base and the outfield) and you have a promising, young fantasy prospect.

Top 5 Fantasy Players
Adrian Gonzalez – Elite
Heath Bell – Elite
Chase Headley – Average
Chris Young – Average
Mat Latos – Average

Top 10 Prospects
1. Simon Castro, RHP
2. Logan Forsythe, 3B
3. James Darnell, 3B
4. Jaff Decker, OF
5. Donavan Tate, OF
6. Everett Williams, OF
7. Wynn Pelzer, RHP
8. Edinson Rincon, 3B
9. Cory Luebke, LHP
10. Aaron Poreda, LHP

Overall team outlook: The Padres played The Price is Right on the Titanic by throwing anything worth more than a few hundred thousand over the rails. New ownership and management are now in charge, and the club still figures to be relatively low in the payroll rankings, but the organization has some exciting young pieces through trades of Jake Peavy and Kevin Kouzmanoff.

The Starting Rotation: If nothing else, the Padres organization has a rotation that fits its park increasingly well. Chris Young is built like a pole who allows more than 50% fly balls and has issues preventing base stealers. Nevertheless, expect his ERA to improve on a 5.21 figure and consider him a contender to lead the Padres in victories. Correia is a guy who always had issues with the long ball while pitching with the Giants, which is a symptom for disaster. He had a nice run with the Padres last year, but expect his ERA to creep over 4.00.

The rest of the rotation will feature youngsters. Mat Latos looked impressive in his Major League debut and probably has the best stuff on staff, which means the potential for strikeouts, while Clayton Richard is a tallish ground-balling lefty. The fifth spot is going to be decided via a battle royal between a bunch of pitchers with marginal differences. Sean Gallagher, Wade LeBlanc, Aaron Poreda, and Cesar Carrillo figure to be the combatants. Poreda probably holds the highest value in most leagues.

The Bullpen: Heath Bell is surprisingly back, as the Padres chose against attempting to cash in his 42 saves. Most games held within Petco are going to be low-scoring in nature and prone to high-leverage appearances from Bell, which means the save opportunities will come regardless of the quality of team. Mike Adams and Luke Gregerson represent two pretty good set-up men who figure to get a few save opportunities as well.

The Starting Lineup: Everth Cabrera jumped straight from the low minors and displayed an affinity for getting on and then stealing bases. He figures to continue leading off, collecting steals, and touching home once Adrian Gonzalez delivers. It’s unlikely that Gonzalez will pound 40 homers again, as the lineup around him doesn’t provide much incentive to actually pitch to him, but then again, this lineup is an improvement over what the Pads ran out last year, and Gonzalez walked nearly 120 times (22 times intentionally) and still smoked 40 over the fence. Gonzalez is one of two legitimate long-ball and run-producing threats, alongside the unproven Kyle Blanks. Scott Hairston also has some power and absolutely demolishes left-handed pitching. David Eckstein doesn’t do much in the way of things that are valued in fantasy leagues, but Chase Headley could represent a decent choice, if only for his occasional power. Nick Hundley isn’t worth anyone’s time.

The Bench: Scott’s brother, Jerry, figures to be the Padres’ super-utility player, taking reps in the infield and spacious outfield alike; he’s a pinch-running threat as well. Tony Gwynn Jr. will be the back-up center fielder. Meanwhile, catcher Dusty Ryan holds next to no value, and Oscar Salazar likely won’t see enough playing time to be worth a look.