The 2012 Padres According to Strat-O-Matic or, For Baseball Nerds Only

If you’re like me, you’re a big Strat-O-Matic baseball fan. Every year, one of the rites of spring is when the cards from the previous season come out, and seeing the worth that is attributed to each player. 

Basically, all of a players skills are weighed to determine their dollar value. For hitters, this would include batting average, power, base-stealing ability, running speed, and defense. For pitchers, this is measured mainly by ERA and WHIPs, and other categories as well. A hitter or pitcher’s value can also lessen if they have lost significant time to injury.

All told, a really good player could be worth over $10 million, and no player can be worth less than $500,000. 

To give a random sample, here is how some of MLB’s other players were valued, based upon their 2012 performances:

  • Mike Trout, the Angels extraordinary rookie, was highest valued at $12.55 million.
  • Joe Mauer, who is perhaps baseball’s best catcher, came in at $7.79 million
  • Neil Walker, everyone’s idea of a decent second baseman, was valued at $3.73 million.
  • Former Padre Jake Peavy, who finished with 219 innings, 194 k’s, a 3.37 ERA and 1.10 WHIP, was valued at $5.73 million.
  • Anthony Rizzo, the former Padre who hit 15 homers and had a .285/.342./.473 line, came in at $4.89 million.

I know, I know, those last two especially hurt. 

 (For a free plug, and so that you can check out the rules for yourself a little more closely, here’s their website: www.strat-o-matic.com.)

So, how did your 2012 Padres come out looking?

Well, the 2012 cards were just released today, so now we can evaluate. This should be telling, considering that the same team is basically intact from last year.

The Bad

Let’s start with the bad news: of the 30 Padres who have ’12 Strat-O cards, eight were worth minimum wage. Ouch! Based upon that alone, one could easily conclude that the 2012 season was a disaster. But should one dig a little deeper, they would see a different story. 

Three of the minimum-wagers are pitchers who are no longer on the team: Andrew Werner, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jeff Suppan. Good riddance. 

The fourth, Jason Marquis, had his horrendous numbers from Minnesota (8.47 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, .370 BAA) lumped in with his respectable-though-not-great San Diego/Petco numbers (4.04, 1.30, .258). Given that the fences are coming in, and that his ’12 Padre numbers were slightly better than his career average, we can probably expect a typical Marquis season: 4.60 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, .273 BAA). In other words, a typical #5 starter, worth maybe $1 million.

On the hitting side, the four $500k players were Andy Parrino and Jason Bartlett (both gone), and all catchers not named Yasmani Grandal (Hundley and Baker, whom we’re stuck with for the first 50 games). 

 Orlando Hudson, who started last year in San Diego but finished with the White Sox, also came in at $500k. 

This means that for the first third of the season, the Padres had three minimum-wagers in the starting lineup (Hudson, Bartlett, and Hundley), and two more on the bench (Baker and Parrino). And for a time, three-fifths of their rotation consisted of Werner, Ohlendorf, and Suppan. 

All of this would explain their disastrous 19-40 beginning.

Additionally, the two starters who lasted all season, Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez, were worth $1.12 and $1.98 million, respectively. The highest-valued starter was Eric Stults, at $3.15 million (based upon 99 innings pitched), which is fairly average for SP’s. Freddy Garcia, whom the Padres invited to spring training, was valued at $590k.

By way of comparison, Chad Billingsley, whom most would acknowledge was so-so for the Dodgers last year (10-9, 3.55 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), was worth $2.35 million.

It’s very telling that acquiring Mr. Billingsley would be considered an upgrade.

The Good

Starting in June, the front office began to make changes. Gone were Hudson, Bartlett, Parrino, and (for the most part) Hundley. In their places came Logan Forsythe at second (a respectable 2.58 million), Everth Cabrera at short (1.66), and Grandal behind the plate (5.62, sixth highest among catchers).

The highest ranked Padre was Chase Headley at 10.07 million. No surprise there. Grandal was second, at 5.62, which explains why his positive PED test is so devastating to the Padres’ chances this season. Third was Huston Street at 5.38, making him one of the top closers in baseball.

The right field platoon of Venable (4.08) and Denorfia (3.91) look good on paper, although my readers know my true opinion on the half that plays against RHP’s (see “Right Field Needs a Face-Lift. Now!”).

The Rest

The rest of the team was fairly average: 

  • Yonder Alonso clocked in at 1.89. We can chalk this up for his poor defense, and 2012 being a rookie season where he progressed as he got more experience.
  • Alexi Amarista at 1.56 can be attributed to his versatility and solid ‘D’ at second base, not his poor .284 OBP.
  • Carlos Quentin was worth 3.03, due to his missing half the season and his shoddy defense.
  • Cameron Maybin was worth 2.84, being ranked this high only because of his stellar defense (aren’t you glad he plays next to Quentin?).

Evaluation

While it’s true that Strat-O-Matic’s numbers don’t tell the whole story, they do tell a lot. So I’ll make it very simple: The Padres need to get better!

In all seriousness, let us first take into account that most of the players will rise in value having gotten more experience (Alonso and Forsythe especially) and injury-free (Quentin). Having said that, this team desperately needs to hold on to Chase Headley, and build around him if it is to have a chance. 

Granted, Headley’s numbers may come down. But let’s suppose that he still hits about .280/.360/.460 (20-25 home runs) with solid defense, he’s still worth $7-8 million in Strat-O-land. 

And the pitching? 

Oh. My. Goodness (please re-read “The Bad”). 

Simply stated, the Padres need help in this department. Getting Leubke back in July or so will help, but there’s no telling how he will bounce back from rotator cuff surgery. 

 

Perhaps manager Bud Black and GM Josh Byrnes should buy owners Ron Fowler, the O’Malleys and the Seidlers each a set of Strat-O-Matic’s 2012 season, and have play it about 500 times to see how bad it really is…and what was that about the fences coming in?

Can we please make a trade? Even for Chad Billingsley?

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