Grading Each Player

We have our answer: the Padres are going to perform below my expectations this year. I predicted an 80-82 finish. The only way a team like this could do better would have been to have all of the intangibles go in their direction. With a few exceptions, that has not happened. 

So then, who’s to blame? Conversely, what has gone well this year? To find out, let’s take a look at their players:

 

Starting Pitchers

Edinson Volquez

Grade: F 

The stats speak for themselves: 5.80 ERA, 1.62 WHIP. Not bringing him back next year will be a case of addition by subtraction.

 

Clayton Richard

Grade: F

He was merely decent to begin with. But in ’13, he was terrible. Goodbye.

 

Eric Stults

Grade: B

I have to admit, I keep waiting for his to implode, but he just keeps on going. Before the Padres picked him up last year, he was a journeyman pitcher who had recently been released…from Japan.

 

Andrew Cashner

Grade: B

At the start of the season, fans were wondering if the Padres front office had given up on young slugger Anthony Rizzo too quickly. They wondered if the Cubs had hoodwinked them when they  acquired Rizzo for Andrew Cashner. Could this be another Nolan Ryan-for-Jim Fregosi-type trade? Nope. While Cashner has not been an All-Star, he has been a solid, dependable starting pitcher this year. One shudders to think where the Padres would have been without him in ’13.

 

Jason Marquis

Grade: C-

For a while there, it looked like Jason Marquis might be having a career year (in spite of his WHIP hovering around 1.40). But then, he started to pitch like, well, Jason Marquis, and then he got hurt.

 

Tyson Ross

Grade: B

The Padres acquired him for 4-A pitcher Andrew Werner last offseason. While Ross has had to battle injuries, he has pitched well: in 27 games (8 starts), he has a 2.62 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and hitters are batting .218 against him in 79 innings. Granted, it’s still a small sample size, but if things continue this way, Ross-for-Werner, not Cashner-for-Rizzo, could wind up being the steal of the decade!

 

Ian Kennedy

Grade: Incomplete

The former 21-game winner has only made two starts, though he has looked good. If he can pitch anywhere near as well as he pitched in 2011, Kennedy could anchor the Padres’ rotation for years to come.

 

Robbie Erlin, Burch Smith, and Sean O’Sullivan

Grade: Incomplete

None have a large enough sample size to give a good evaluation. Erlin has slipped in scout’s eyes, Smith is still very young, and O’Sullivan looks like a journeyman.

 

Bullpen 

Huston Street

Grade: B

Though he has only one blown save, Street has faltered in non-save opportunities.

 

Luke Gregerson

Grade: C-

In 11 post-All Star appearances, Gregerson has a 6.48 ERA. It looks like he has been overworked, and that has affected his performance.

 

Dale Thayer

Grade: B+

On the whole, Thayer has proven himself to be a dependable middle reliever.

 

Nick Vincent

Grade: B+

While he has not pitched as much as Gregerson and Thayer, Vincent has looked very good. Should either of them depart, look for Vincent to slide right in.

 

Tim Stauffer

Grade: B

Trying to prove that he can still pitch after several injury-plagued seasons, Stauffer has done a serviceable job as a long reliever. 

 

Brad Brach, Colt Hynes, Tommy Layne, Miles Mikolas, and Anthony Bass

Grade: Incomplete

Except for Bass and Brach (who were poor), none of these pitched long enough to merit a grade. 

The Starting Lineup

 

Yonder Alonso

Grade: B

At .293, he is the team’s top hitter. Still, you expect more from your first baseman (just 41 RBI). It does not seem he has hit his ceiling yet; there is potential for better production in the future.

 

Jedd Gyorko

Grade: B-

Aside from a slow first week, losing a month to injury, and a recent slump, Gyorko has been a good performer (12 doubles, 10 homers, with decent defense). He will be even better next season.

 

Chase Headley

Grade: D

What happened??? That is what fans want to know, especially after his awesome ’12 season. Not so much this year: 8 homers, .236 BA and 36 RBI says it all. Silver lining: at least they didn’t sign him to a long-term extension (see Maybin, Cameron).

 

Everth Cabrera

Grade: A/F

The first grade is for his performance when he played–which was frankly better than anyone expected. The second grade is for getting suspended, and hurting the team with his absence. To his credit, he seemed to have genuine remorse.

 

Carlos Quentin

Grade: C

I would love to give him a higher grade because when he’s in the lineup, he is a genuine offensive threat. The only problem is keeping him in the lineup. Once again, his bad knees are limiting his playing time.

Cameron Maybin

Grade: F

Granted, injuries have not helped him. But unless he turns it around next year, his signing a four-year extension after the 2011 season could go down as one of the team’s worst deals ever.

 

Will Venable

Grade: C

For the fifth year in a row, Will Venable has proven that he is not an everyday ballplayer. Aside from his career high 15 home runs, no surprises here. 

 

Nick Hundley

Grade: C-

The good news: he’s not as bad as he was last year (.157/.219/.245). The bad news: this year, it’s 

.231/.291/.386. He’s a nice guy and his teammates like him, but he just doesn’t hit enough to be a major league team’s number one catcher.

 

Yasmani Grandal

Grade: F

A little unfair? Perhaps, given his unfortunate season-ending injury in July. But the reason the Padres’ season was over before it started was that Grandal tested positive for PEDs. Then when he returned, he batted .216 with one homer (albeit with a .352 OBP). But after just one month back, he was lost again. 

 

The Bench

Chris Denorfia

Grade: B

Don’t get me wrong: Denorfia is a great role player, and he kills left-handed pitching (.291/.363/.539). But when your team has a role player getting over 300 AB’s, that’s a sign that you’re in trouble.

 

Alexi Amarista

Grade: C+

See my comments on Denorfia regarding role players getting too many At-bats. But in Amarista’s case, it’s worse: he has a .295 OBP.

 

Kyle Blanks

Grade: C

Don’t be fooled. Yes, he got hot for a month or so. But that’s partly because he hits far better against lefties (.299/.378/.494, 5 HR in 87 AB) than righties (.227/.278/.379, 3 HR in 132 AB). Plus, he gets hurt a lot. A lot.

 

Jesus Guzman

Grade: D-

In 2011, Guzman hit well against everybody. In 2012, he hit well only against LHP’s. In 2013, he hasn’t hit well against anybody.

 

Logan Forsythe

Grade: F

My opening comment is the same as with Headley: What happened??? Last year, Forsythe hit a solid .273/.343/.390, and he seemed to figure prominently in the Padres ’13 plans. But first, another injury kept him out until June–for the second year in a row. Then when he came back, he hit well for about two weeks. Since then, he’s been hitting .129 in July-August.  

 

Mark Kotsay

Grade: F

Kotsay has come to the end of a very good career. While not a Hall-of-Famer by any stretch, he was solid, and a good clubhouse guy.

Analysis

What killed the Padres 2013 season? Four things: 

  1. Suspensions. Heading into 2013, two of their hottest potential stars were Grandal and Cabrera. Sadly, this season has been book-ended with their suspensions.
  2. Injuries. The front office knew that Quentin was injury-prone. But they could not have seen that they would lose Maybin, Marquis, and Richard for more than half the season, Forsythe and Blanks for two months, and Alonso and Gyorko for one month each, among others. When you lose that many players, it’s going to hurt the team’s W-L record. Period.
  3. No Depth. You can’t hope to win consistently when you’re giving so much playing time to bench players like Denorfia and Amarista. It just won’t happen.
  4. Starting Pitching. Coming into the season, their top two pitchers were Volquez and Richard. That says it all. Thankfully, next year will be better: they will have Kennedy, Cashner, Luebke, Stults, and a slew of minor league talent to choose from. 
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