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2020 Fantasy Baseball: San Diego Padres Team Preview

Enjoy this preview of the 2020 San Diego Padres brought to you by the folks over at FullTime Fantasy. Subscribe there for the full article with every need-to-know player!

San Diego Padres

The Padres extended their streak to 13 years with no playoff appearances. They’ve had a losing record over the past nine seasons. In the team’s 51-year history, San Diego has five postseason appearances with two trips to the World Series (1984 and 1998).

Their weakness continues to be offense. The Padres finished 27th in runs (682), 20th in home runs (219), and 28th in RBI (652). Even with a poor ranking in scoring, San Diego did score 65 more runs than 2018 (617). The last time that they scored over 700 runs came in 2007 (741). Their team ERA (4.60 – 18th) remains below expected value for their ballpark. The Padres' pitchers did convert 47 saves.

In the offseason, San Diego acquired three bats via trades – OF Tommy Pham, OF Trent Grisham, and 2B Jurickson Profar. They gave up OF Manuel Margot, OF Hunter Renfroe, and SS Luis Urias on the offensive side. In part of the package for Grisham, the Padres flipped SP Eric Lauer for SP Zach Davies. San Diego signed OF Juan Lagares, RP Drew Pomeranz, and RP Pierce Johnson to improve their depth. RP Emilio Pagan arrived via a second deal with the Rays.

San Diego is pushing forward, with their best hope for a World Series run coming from their two top pitching prospects – Chris Paddock and MacKenzie Gore. Their pitching staff in 2020 has upside and serviceable arms while expecting to be much improved in ERA and wins. Kirby Yates emerged as being a top closer after developing his split-finger fastball in 2017.

Their offense doesn’t have the firepower to be a top ten scoring team, but the Padres should move closer to league average with great seasons from SS Fernando Tatis and 3B Manny Machado. The base of the starting lineup has a chance to much improved while needing a rebound from OF Wil Myers and growth in the bat of Francisco Mejia.

This season San Diego hopes to push over the .500 mark with a brighter future coming over the next three to five years.

Starting Lineup

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1. SS Fernando Tatis

In his rookie season, Tatis made the jump from AA to the majors with astounding success. His stats projected over 550 at-bats would come to 100 runs, 37 home runs, 90 RBI, and 27 steals. The Padres were cautious with him after two injuries (hamstring in May and a season-ending back issue in mid-August). Tatis had a major league-high contact batting average (.473), which offset his massive strikeout rate (29.6). His walk rate (8.1) was about league average. He destroyed left-handed pitching (.419 with five home runs and 12 RBI over 62 at-bats). 

Before the All-Star break, Tatis hit .327 with 46 runs, 14 HRs, 33 RBI, and 13 SBs over 208 at-bats. In July and August, he had 50 strikeouts over 167 plate appearances (about the same strikeout rate – 29.9). His hard-hit rate (44.1) ranked 67th in baseball. Despite the growth in power, Tatis finished with a low fly-ball rate (30.9), but his HR/FB rate (31.9) came in well above his best year in the minors (2018 – 18.8). Over his four seasons in the minors, he hit .280 with 202 runs, 42 home runs, 143 RBI, and 64 steals over 1,059 at-bats. His walk rate (10.2) in the minors had top-of-the-order upside, but he does need to clean up some of his strikes outs (25.5 percent). 

Developing into a top-five fantasy player based on his floor of 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases. Tatis will have a regression for sure in his batting average in his second season, but he does hit the ball hard with the talent to shave off more strikeouts. Tatis has an ADP of 17 in the early draft season.

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2. OF Tommy Pham

Pham played the best ball of his career from 2017 to 2019 from age 29 to 31. In 2019, he set a career-high in at-bats (567) and hits (155) while failing to improve on any other key stat. His CTBA (.349) was a four-year low with regression in his AVH (1.645). He did a great job improving his strikeout rate (18.8 – 23.4 in his career) while maintaining a high walk rate (12.4). Pham played the best before the All-Star break (.281 with 42 runs, 13 HRs, 38 RBI, and eight SBs over 324 at-bats) while never having an impact month on the year. Late in the year, he battled a right elbow injury and right-hand issue that cost him some playing time in August and September. 

His bat looked much more potent against lefties in batting average (.340), but he only hit three home runs with 12 RBI over 159 at-bats. Pham finished 55th in hard-hit rate (44.8). His power upside is limited by his ground ball swing (53.4 and 50.8 in his career). He did post a high HR/FB rate (19.1) for the third straight year (2018 – 21.0 and 2017 – 26.7). Improving player with a 20/20 skill set. 

Pham needs to make a step forward with runners on base (RBI rate – 13) while adding more loft to produce more home runs. His ADP (73) looks fair based on his slot in the batting order. In 2019, he ranked 44th in SIscore (2.83).

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3. 3B Manny Machado

The move to San Diego led to 83 fewer RBI chances in 2019 while also seeing a step downward in his CTBA (.327). The change in the strength of the overall shortstop pool (he has move value at short) led to Machado ranking 12th in SIscore (0.16) at the position while being a top three drafted in 2019. His walk rate (9.8) came in strong for the second straight season, but he did finish with a career-high in his strikeout rate (19.4). 

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Machado played well against lefties (.315 with 13 HRs and 27 RBI over 127 at-bats). After the All-Star break, his bat lost value (.242 with 30 runs, 12 HRs ad 27 RBI over 256 at-bats). Machado had the 72nd highest hard-hit rate (43.7) while continuing to have a balanced swing with some growth in his HR/FB rate (16.8). 

His ADP (61) puts him in a more attractive area. Buy this veteran bat based on his ability to play a full season and his floor of a .270/30/90/5 skill set. I expect more RBI chances in 2020 and a rebound in batting average.

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4. 1B Eric Hosmer

The 2020 profile of Hosmer is all over the board. His best asset is his ability to stay healthy, helping his value in counting stats. With that said, his runs (72) have been short for the past two years while also losing his value in steals (0). Even with a rebound in his CTBA (.360), his batting average (.265) lost an asset feel due to a career-high in his strikeout rate (24.0). His change to a free-swinging style led to no growth power and a career-low walk rate (6.0). Hosmer looked lost vs. left-handed pitching (.231 with one HR and 16 RBI over 156 at-bats). 

A big part of his production came from April 20th to June 30th (.339 with 41 runs, 12 home runs, and 51 RBI). Over the final three months, he scored 24 runs with risk in batting average (.225 over 298 at-bats), but Hosmer still delivered value in home runs (9) and RBI (39). His best two stats in 2019 were his RBI rate (21) and his hard-hit rate (46.0 – 40th). The second stat doesn't line up with his home runs total (22) without seeing his massive ground ball rate (56.0 – 60.4 in 2018 and 54.4 in his career). Hosmer owns a high HR/FB rate (20.8) over the previous four years (21.4, 22.5, and 19.4), but he consistently hit under 25 percent fly-balls. 

The lineup in front of him will create RBI chances, and there is always the chance he figures out how to add more loft to his swing. No one will fight you for Hosmer in 2020 based on his ADP (225). More steady than explosive while losing value in two categories (BA and SBs).

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5. OF Wil Myers

After two strong seasons (.251 with 179 runs, 58 HRs, 168 RBI, and 48 SBs over 1,166 at-bats), Myers battled an oblique injury and a left foot issue in 2018, leading to 79 missed games and two trips in the IL. In April, June, August, and September, he only had four combined HRs with 16 RBI. His natural progression should have led to a rebound last year, but Myers struggled to make contact (strikeout rate – 34.3). 

In 2016 ad 2017, his strikeout rate (25.7) was much lower while still having risk. He did maintain his walk rate (10.4) in 2019. In April and May, Myers hit .231 with 27 runs, ten home runs, 21 RBI, and six steals over 173 at-bats, but his 72 strikes led a part-time role for the remainder of the year. He did play better in September (.312 with three HRs, 12 RBI, and four SBs over 77 at-bats). His CTBA (.390) was a career-high with a pullback in his AVH (1.750) from his top season (1.906 in 2017). In 2017, Myers ranked 52nd in SIscore (3.03). 

This year he’ll be drafted as the 171st hitter with an ADP of 281. Playing time is a concern, along with his direction. I’ll say this; a fantasy owner won’t find many 20/20 type players at this level of the draft. Keep an open mind while making sure to cover his batting average risk.

To view the full starting lineup, bench & top prospects, which also includes player analysis for Jurickson Profar, Francisco Mejia, Trent Grisham, Austin Hedges, Josh Naylor, Ty France, Breyvic Valera, Franchy Cordero, Greg Garcia and Juan Lagares, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 San Diego Padres Team Outlook

Pitching Staff

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SP1 Chris Paddack

In his first season in the majors, the Padres pushed Paddack to 140.2 innings, which was a jump of 50.2 innings from 2018. Both his walk rate (2.0) and strikeout rate (9.8) started in excellent areas while throwing a tremendous amount of first-pitch strikes (71). Paddock only black mark came from home runs allowed (23 – 1.5 per nine). He allowed two runs or fewer in 16 of his 26 starts. 

His biggest failures came in two starts in late May and early June (nine runs and 15 baserunners over 9.1 innings with ten Ks) and over his first four starts in August (10.06 ERA, 1.824 WHIP, .351 BAA, and six home runs over 17 innings). Paddack had almost the same success against righties (.198) and lefties (.211). His AFB (94.2) was above the league average. Batters struggled to hit his changeup (.187 BAA) and four-seam fastball (.204 BBA) while needing more on his curveball (.267 BAA). Over three seasons in the minors, he went 13-6 with a 1.82 ERA and 230 Ks over 177.2 innings. His walk rate (1.0) is incredibly low while offering impact value in strikeouts (11.7 per nine). Looking like a WHIP edge based on his command. 

In 2020, Paddack has an ADP of 54. His next step is 30-plus starts with a floor of 180 innings. Fantasy owners should expect over 200 strikeouts with a sub 3.00 ERA and between 13 and 15 wins. Let’s call him 80 percent of an ace. His ability to throw strikes will allow him to pitch deeper in games, thus creating more value of stats. San Diego won’t push him too hard this year.

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SP2 Dinelson Lamet

In 2018, Lamet blew out his right elbow in March, leading to TJ surgery in April. He has a 3.21 ERA over 322.1 innings in the minors with 369 strikeouts. His walk rate (3.7) was a problem in the minors while posting the same value in his return to the majors in 2019. Over 14 starts last year (4.07 ERA and 105 Ks over 73 innings), Lamet battled home runs (1.5 per nine) with an elite strikeout rate (12.7). He never allowed over four runs in any game. 

His success ended with three double-digit strikeout games (10, 14, and 10). Lamet pitched well against right-handed batters (.208 BAA) while improving vs. lefties (.242). His AFB (96.0 had plus velocity, but batters hitting smashed his four-seamer (.340 BAA) and sinker (.319 BAA). His slider (.116 BAA) was electric, leading to 77 of his 104 strikeouts over 129 at-bats. He barely throws a changeup (under 1.5 percent of the time in 2019). Fantasy owners will gravitate toward his success in strikeouts on draft day, but the command of his fastball is going to get him in trouble when pitching from behind in the count. 

Live arm with upside, but his WHIP will trail his ERA until he threw more strikes and develops a reliable third pitch. With 160 innings pitched, I expect a sub 3.50 ERA with 175-plus strikeouts. His ADP (132) seems reasonable based on his potential upside.

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SP3 Joey Lucchesi

In his second season in the majors, Lucchesi didn’t take a further step forward. His walk rate (3.1) remained a slight negative with a pullback in his strikeout rate (8.7). He did lower his WHIP (1.222) while being tougher to hit (.233 BAA). Lucchesi still gives up too many home runs (1.3 per nine). After struggling in three of his last four starts in April (17 runs, 35 baserunners, and four home runs over 20.2 innings), he posted a 3.55 ERA and 109 strikeouts over 119 innings despite walking 42 batters.

Lucchesi struggled over in his next two starts (11 runs and 17 baserunners over 7.2 innings), pushing his ERA over 4.00. His issue with home runs came against right-handed batters (.236 with 19 HRs over 479 at-bats). He has a short fastball (90.8 MPH) while gaining his edge with a plus changeup (.178 BAA). Lucchesi pounds a decent sinker (.253 BAA), but he struggles with his four-seamer (.292 BAA). Over 41 games in the minors over three seasons, he went 11-10 with a 2.25 ERA and 212 strikeouts over 187.2 innings with excellent command (strikeout rate – 10.2 and walk rate – 1.9).

In 2020, I would expect him to throw more strikes with a push for 180 innings while flying under the radar in fantasy drafts (ADP – 231). An outside chance at 200 strikeouts with a 3.50 ERA and 1.150 WHIP.

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CL/RP Kirby Yates

Yates proved to be the real deal at closer in 2019 after part-time success in the 9th inning in 2018 (12 saves). He led the National League in saves (41) in a season when saves were tough to come by. Yates rode his elite, developing split-finger fastball (.174 BAA and 52 Ks over 52 at-bats) to an exceptional season In ERA (1.19) and a big step forward in his command (walk rate – 1.9 and strikeout rate – 15.0). 

He had success against both right-handed (.173) and left-handed (.197) batters. His highest ERA in any month came in August (0-3 with a 2.31 ERA and 20 Ks over 11.2 innings). Yates has a league-average fastball (93.7) while losing about a mile per hour from 2018 (94.6). Batters hit .216 vs. his four-seamer. 

His success makes him the second closer off the board in 2020 with an ADP of 74. His only negative was his number of games pitched (60), which should rise with more Padres wins. Enjoy the ride type arm.

To view the full pitching staff, which also includes player analysis for Garrett Richards, Zach Davies, Mackenzie Gore, Luis Patino, Emilio Pagan and Andres Munoz, subscribe now to FullTime Fantasy.

Use coupon code EDGE25 to receive 25% off your monthly season-long subscription. Shawn Childs is a 5-time high-stakes fantasy baseball national champ. Gain a cash-winning edge with FullTime Fantasy.

READ MORE: 2020 San Diego Padres Team Outlook