San Diego Padres Upgrade Offense for 2015
After a miserable year in which the San Diego Padres batted .226, posted a .292 on-base percentage and scored 535 runs, first-year Padres general manager A.J. Preller decided to change the franchise’s culture, with the offense as his main priority.
Preller went on an off-season feeding frenzy, and added outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, along with catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
Kemp gives the Padres, a team which hit a total of 109 homers in 2014 (28 in MLB), a formidable middle-of-the-order stick, while Myers’ ability to smack the ball to all fields provides the Frias with some extra base pop.
Upton, who slugged 29 home runs and drove in 102 RBI last season with the Dodgers, is a legitimate right-handed, pull-hitting power threat. The hope is that he yanks balls down the line, and over the left field wall, which is only 334 feet away from home plate.
As for Norris, he hit .311 against lefties, and tallied a .270, 10 dingers and 55 RBI overall line with the Oakland A’s last year.
Middlebrooks, besieged by injuries last season, will get a chance to compete for the third base starting spot.
Returning second baseman Jedd Gyorko is a big factor in San Diego’s road to success. He enjoyed a promising rookie campaign in 2013 in which he hit .249 with 23 long balls and 63 RBI.
However, plantar fasciitis in his left foot hampered Gyorko’s production, and cost him almost two months on the disabled list.
After he returned in July, Gyorko slashed .260/.347/.398 the rest of the way with five home runs and 12 doubles in 196 at-bats. If he can remain healthy, and build on his rookie season, the Padres will have a potential lethal lineup to go along with a solid pitching staff.
Nevertheless, San Diego hasn’t made the playoffs in eight years, so Padre fans might be a little skeptical at this point, though optimistic.
For now, they’ll have to take a wait-and-see approach, and hope Preller makes a few more moves to sure up the club.
Who knows, San Diego might give its fans plenty of reasons to cheer in 2015? Let’s hope for Preller’s sake it does.