Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ultimate baseball league: San Diego Padres

The all-time Padres look a little like the present-day team: deep pitching, with a group hitters headlined by two big stars.

Hall of Famers Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield fill the all-important 2 and 3 holes in the lineup, with Adrian González as a cleanup hitter. The left side of the infield leaves much to be desired. That is what happens with a team that let Ozzie Smith and Ozzie Guillen get away in the 1980s.

  1. 2B Mark Loretta, 2004 (6.8). Who knew an egghead school in frozen Chicago produced a major league all-star? Loretta made the bigs out of Northwestern.

  2. RF Tony Gwynn (pictured),* 1987 (8.1). On-based .398 or higher seven times on his way to being a first-ballot Hall of Famer; this was his best season far away, with a slash line of .370/.447/.511 and 32 net steals to go along with a Gold Glove in right field.

  3. LF Dave Winfield, 1979 (8.4). The first 3,000-hit player to enter Cooperstown as a Padre; had a little something to do with the Blue Jays winning the 1992 World Series.

  4. 1B Adrian González,* 2009 (7.0). About to find out right-centrefield in Fenway Park is an awful long way from home plate. Should improve the lot of a below-average infield.

  5. DH Greg Vaughn, 1998 (6.6). Set the team record for homers in a season (50 in 1998). His son is now a Mets prospect who was coached at San Diego State for none other than Tony Gwynn.

  6. C Gene Tenace, 1979 (6.3). Obligatory Whammy! reference goes here; he was so much more than a knowing reference in Anchorman. Tenace was Gene, Gene The On-Base Machine (.388 career, .403 in 1979) throughout the '70s. He would get some starts at first base vs. left-handed pitchers, opening a lineup spot for Benito Santiago.

  7. CF George Hendrick, 1977 (5.5). This was before he started the trend of wearing pants that came almost down to one's ankles. Hit .311/.381/.492 in '77, which was a big deal in those days.

  8. 3B Chase Headley,# 2010 (3.7). Plenty of time to move up the pecking order, if he ever figures out how to produce in Petco.

    Staffing the hot corner for the Padres lends new meaning to the notion of "fraught." Knowing what we know and/or strongly suspect, one cannot include the late Ken Caminiti. Even adding Phil Nevin, whose only three good seasons came from 1999-2001, would be a stretch.

  9. SS Khalil Greene, 2007 (3.6). Truth hurts. The most productive shortstop in San Diego's history is someone who is widely considered a washout. Social anxiety disorder hurt Greene's career.
  • LHS Dave Roberts, 1971 (8.5). One of the all-time hard-luck seasons; Roberts posted a 2.10 earned-run average in '71 (second to someone named Tom Seaver) and was charged with a 14-17 record, since the Padres scored two runs or less in 20 of his starts.

  • LHS Randy Jones, 1975 (7.7). Advanced scouting has probably made junkballers of Jones' ilk obsolete. His fastball could not break glass, but the left-hander had Pete Rose's number so badly that the hit king used to bat lefty against him.

  • LHS Bruce Hurst, 1989 (6.6). His name is an anagram for B Ruth Curse, which is fitting for someone who was initially voted the 1986 World Series MVP before Boston blew it against the New York Mets. His first season with San Diego (2.69 ERA) was the best of his career, but a 15-11 record led to him not even getting a single Cy Young vote.

  • RHS Ed Whitson, 1990 (6.5). Pitched way better on the West Coast than he ever did on the East Coast. Should be remembered for helping the Padres come back from two games down to win their first pennant, not for brawling with Billy Martin in a hotel.

  • RHS Jake Peavy, 2007 (6.2). It would be nothing shy of astonishing if he ends up in the Chicago White Sox rotation soonly rather than never.

  • RHS Mat Latos, 2010 (3.3). He's just an excitable boy. Latos, only 23 coming into this season, has a chance to move up the ladder in future seasons. Made sense to include him here.
  • UT Randy Ready, 1987 (5.7). Better to take a little bit of liberty (Ready batted only 423 times in '87, just making the cutoff) than include someone whose accomplishments are suspect. Ready can fill in at two infield spots.

  • OF-1B Carmelo Martínez, 1984 (4.6). Probably one of the few players here represented by his rookie season; he never developed as San Diego descended into mediocrity in the second half of the Reagan Decade.

  • UT Alan Wiggins,# 1983 (4.1). He was a tragic figure, whose fall reminds of how callous and careless society was a generation ago. Hit leadoff in 1984 when Gwynn, batting second, won his first batting title.

  • C Benito Santiago, 1987 (2.9). His reputation probably exceeded his actual ability, thanks to all those clips of him throwing from his knees to pick runners off at second base. The dearth of good catchers during his early career probably helped, too.

  • OF Dave Roberts,* 2006 (2.8). Present-day Padres coach was a sparkplug in '06, on-basing .360 with 37 net stolen bases.
  • CL Trevor Hoffman, 1996 (4.0). As Dirk Hayhurst put it, he brought glory to "the everyman's off-speed pitch," the changeup. Also made a great entrance.

  • RHR Greg W. Harris, 1989 (3.7). Was a fine middle reliever around the turn of the 1990s (2.30 ERA in 117 innings in '89), but got converted to starting and then ended up in the pitchers' graveyard in Denver.

  • RHR Heath Bell, 2007 (3.5). From the days when he was Hoffman's heir apparent. Can come out for the eighth inning throwing some serious gas.

  • RHR Akinori Otsuka, 2004 (3.0). Japanese right-hander with a deceptive delivery. North American career basically ended after the Texas Rangers replaced him as their closer with Eric Gagne, which could really make a dude bitter.

  • RHR Scott Linebrink, 2005 (2.4). Mr. Consistency across the Aughts for the San Diegans.
(* left-handed hitter; # switch-hitter)


Mary said...

American League Baseball or an American league is one of two leagues that made up Major league baseball in United States. American league developed from the western league which was based in Great lake states. American league is widely known as junior circuits.

Evony Tips said...

Tony Gwynn and Dave Winfield are two Padres that deserve to be remembers. Legends in baseball.