Shiny New Outfield: San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres out ran 16, (sixteen!), different outfielders in 2014 and unless you’ve been living in the Krubera Cave in the Republic of Georgia, you’ve probably seen there were a few changes made in for 2015. Before the great Padre roster overhaul, their outfield appeared to be comprised of some combination of Will Venable, Abraham Almonte, Cameron Maybin, and Carlos Quentin until his back broke.

Now? Ahem. It’s Justin Upton, Wil Myers, and Matt Kemp. While pitchers might not enjoy the defense at the corners, this whole crew is most certainly a group you should be looking at for your fantasy roster.

In left is Upton who put together two very solid years in Atlanta, hitting 56 home runs and driving in over 170 runs over the course of his two years there. Now in San Diego, it’s possible his power may dip a tad given the size of his home park, but Upton is not only in his age 27 season, it’s also a contract year, and those two elements alone ought to pique the interest of fantasy owners. Steamer is pretty bearish on Upton, seeing a dip in his batting average to .254 with just 23 home runs, a handful of steals, and runs/RBI in the 70’s. That would represent his worst production since 2008. I lean more towards his career rate of .274/.354/.476 which ought to produce something more in the 25-26 home run range, and if he hits in the middle of a very nice lineup, the runs and RBI’s should follow. The NFBC ADP for Upton has him leaving the board around the third round, so it seems others tend to agree.

In right is Kemp, and his production at the plate is probably going to be all about the health of his body. When he’s going good, Kemp is one of the most productive outfielders in the game. When he’s hurt, he can be kind of ho-hum. 2014 saw a little bit of both, where his first half was solid, but when he got fully healthy, his second half was rather nuts, registering a .309/.365/.606 slash line with 17 homers, 17 doubles, and 54 RBI in just 64 games — good for a 170 wRC+. None of the prognosticators suggest he’ll play more than 138 games in 2015 but most of them still think he’ll approach 20 home runs and double digit steals. He’s getting snapped up around the fifth round, and it’s possible he could outproduce his left field counterpart if he can stay off the trainers table. Classic risk/reward with Kemp.

Wil Myers will likely patrol center for the Padres, and after a great rookie campaign, Myers fell flat in 2014 producing just a .222/.294/.320 slash line. To be sure, Myers has the pedigree of a plus-talent and was long considered one of the best hitting prospects in the game. Injuries were certainly part of the equation last season, and assuming good health in 2015, you would have to bet on a significant rebound. The projections are all over the place relative to batting average from as low as .246 to as high as .273 from those optimistic fans. But almost everyone agrees that he’ll sniff 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases with middling runs and RBI totals. If he can manage 160 games, those numbers climb, and that would make his 164 ADP a pretty significant steal.

There are likely to be injuries with this crew, however — so as far as depth charts go, Will Venable, Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, and Abraham Almonte could all see some playing time, but unless someone goes down with a significant injury, none of them will amass enough at bats to be worthy of a spot on your fantasy roster.

Should Quentin get dealt to an American League team, he could be somewhat intriguing as a designated hitter as the power is always there, but he hasn’t had more than 340 plate appearances since 2011. Venable was fantasy relevant for one of his seven seasons and then regressed into the old Will Venable. Maybin is probably close to being designated for assignment. Almonte is still a work in progress and likely headed for AAA.

Down on the farm, it’s hard to believe Preller didn’t have to give up Hunter Renfroe and Rymer Liriano in any of his blockbuster moves, but both are probably still at least a year away.





Michael was born in Massachusetts and grew up in the Seattle area but had nothing to do with the Heathcliff Slocumb trade although Boston fans are welcome to thank him. You can find him on twitter at @michaelcbarr.

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John M.
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John M.

Upton is not only in his age 27 season, it’s also a contract year, and those two elements alone ought to create a perfect storm for fantasy owners.

Is there any research showing that contract years have any significant effect on a player’s numbers?

dewon brazeltron
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CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND ME

OnSight
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OnSight

Can’t believe I’m seeing the contract year theory used in a fangraphs article.

TR
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TR

FG readers know that it’s silliness, but media and less knowledgeable people may well assign it more weight. That’s pretty relevant in fantasy.

pbmax
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pbmax

its not at the level of “he lost a bunch of weight/gained muscle” off season bs, but it’s a factor sure, one that “pique’s the interest” of this fantasy owner, in this case. Upton is a good value if he’s taken in the third.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth

Go back to grilling burgers, John. I know customers complain when you forget to put ketchup on their burgers – don’t take your aggression out at Fangraphs.